Gippsland Power’s Electric Draft Night Performance

23 November 2023

A contingent of Gippsland Power staff, players, friends and family were on hand on Monday night at Marvel Stadium to hear first-hand the selection of the No.4 draft pick to North Melbourne, Zane Duursma. Widely tipped to be a Top 5 selection, Gippsland Power Regional Talent Lead, Scott McDougal was full of praise for Duursma, “it’s a great story about his development from the Corner Inlet Stingrays, the Foster Tigers and up into the local talent pathways programs including V/Line Cup and the Under 16s and Under 18s Power squads. In his final year Durrsma represented Gippsland Power, Vic Country and the Australian Academy showcasing his match winning abilities”.

“Zane is a ripping kid from a great family, his skills and ability to compete at the contest and lift in important moments across 2023 have been impressive”.

Perhaps a little unknown fact according to McDougal “All the family members have been involved in their mother Susies dance school”, which is evident in how well they move across the football field. To see the Duursma family play footy, it is easy to see the parallels as they glide across the field seemingly running across the top of the ground and making the game look easy at times.

The Gippsland Power’s fortunes continue to rise with Wil Dawson selected by North Melbourne Pick No. 22. Hailing from Leongatha and Mirboo North, McDougal recalls that Dawson “is a resilient kid who missed out on the Power list initially but was able to work his way into the program in the Under 16s as an over-age player. He took an opportunity to work his way into the 16s squad as an over-ager, with his high work rate and focus see him grow exponentially in his abilities. His hard work as a forward/ruck saw him make his way into a Vic Country jumper and becoming a tall defender at National level, playing a great game in the National Championship against the Allies”. “We look forward to seeing him at North Melbourne who have recruited him as a prospective key defender.”

Archer Reid, picked up at No.30 by the West Coast Eagles comes from Inverloch-Kongwak Football Club who is a 203cm key position forward/ruck. “He joined the Power program as a 16 year old, following in the footstep of both of his brothers Kyle and Zac, who were talented defenders, helped him hone his forward craft. During the COVID period the brothers got to spend time together working on their football which no doubt helped Archer. Reid will join up with fellow Gippsland Power alumni 2022 draftee Coby Burgiel and mid-season 2023 draftee Ryan Maric. He is an imposing forward, who with a few years of development, could step up and dominate games at the next level”.

Tew Jaith went at pick no. 37 to the Premiership winning Collingwood Magpies. “He is a great story, coming through the program at Morwell Tigers, first as a bottom ager, he put in a lot of work on his fitness. He was cutting laps of 400s pre-season right under the nose of the Power facility at Morwell Recreation Reserve.” McDougal commented that “he worked his way into the side during the season and after 2 standout games against Dandenong, he was able to showcase his ability to take intercept marks and provide drive and run off the back line. He has worked hard on his game all year and concentrated on the process of getting better each week, a great local story”.

Lachlan Smith was taken with Pick 47 by the Western Bulldogs who started playing at Bunyip as a youngster, then moving across to basketball during his early teen years. McDougal says “he was an Under 17s Vic Country basketball representative who was convinced by Dave Carpenter from the Warragul Gulls to return to football and give it another go. He came into the Power Program as a bottom-ager in 2022 and played football whilst continuing with his basketball journey. He made the decision to solely focus on basketball in 2023 and his development was impressive, selected as a ruck for Vic Country he had a particularly great game against WA. Despite being a big presence, he has great finesse for a big man.”

The Gippsland Power program is again up and running for the coming season with satellite pre-season sessions for both the boys and girls Under 16 and Under 18s programs commencing this week. Currently in the development phase leading into Christmas, there are over 150 boys and 100 girls participating in the high-performance program.

In the new year, squads will be selected and centralised to the Morwell facility with regional development coaches Rhett McLennan and Nathan Boyd leading the charge with the boys and girls programs for the 2024 season.

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