MANGOPLAH-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes is weighing up the prospect of anointing younger Flynn Collins as one of star forward Trent Castles' main offsiders after he starred late in Saturday's trial against Holbrook.
The teenager was solid in last weeks' trial against Ainslie, but his forward craft stood out late in the Holbrook clash, having around half a dozen shots at goal in the five-goal loss.
The Goannas are looking to add more scoring potency to their line-up following the departure of classy centre half forward George Kendall to SANFL club West Adelaide.
Hunter Lloyd had been earmarked as a major part of the solution but he is uncertain to return to play this year, which could provide more chances for Collins.
"A player who is giving us some thinking in terms of selection is Flynn Collins, who we got three games into this year," Goannas coach Jeremy Rowe said.
"He would have had six or seven shots at goal, he's hit the scoreboard in both our trials and he does give you some real zip in that forward line.
"His forward craft and leading lanes were quite exceptional on the weekend and beyond his age in the way he hit up at the ball carrier, went back towards goal and gave a third angle again if he wasn't used.
"We're looking for scoreboard pressure, everyone knows we have a brilliant full forward in Trent Castles but we've had George Kendall leave this year and we want someone to play 30 metres in front of goal to hit the scoreboard as well.
"Even if it's one or two goals a game, we feel Flynn is as likely as anyone to give us that scoreboard pressure."
Rowe doesn't expect him to be a key position player, but is confident the 16-year-old has the nous to take advantage of the extra space the opposition's focus on Castles provides.
"He's got an impressive leap on him and is a genuine overhead threat. The last one-and-a-half quarters on the weekend, he went to another level and played exciting footy.
"There's a lot of develop with Flynny to come and we're looking forward to working with him on that, but he's definitely put himself in the mix for round one.
"He's a completely different player (to Kendall) and not a key position player at this stage, if you look at his goal sense and forward craft he's promising."
The Goannas had 20 players unavailable for the Holbrook trial, after 13 were absent against Ainslie, which means their core group hasn't had much chance to play together before their last practice game against CSU this Thursday.
Rowe confirmed Jack Collins will return to the club, joining brothers Harry and Matt Collins who have barely played the past couple of years due to COVID protocols.
"There are some positives to that (having players unavailable for trials) because the spotlight comes onto some who sit in the background, and you feel as though you'd like to give them more opportunities," Rowe said.
"We've had the chance to do that, but you're also looking for continuity and implementing things with a group similar to what we will be playing.
"We haven't achieved that over the first couple of trials, but certainly we've shown brilliant fight and and real resilience and we were up for the contest. As a foundation behaviour I'm really happy with that.
"I look back on our trials and I judge them as positives in many ways, but in the same breath we just haven't been able to get that core group together yet to get a gauge of where we're standing at this stage.
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