Fraser backing baby Blues

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Angus Schumacher is one of eight Northern Blues to play every game so far in 2018. (PHOTO CREDIT: Amy Paton)

The Northern Blues will continue to back their youth, as they’ve done more than anyone in the VFL.

That’s the message coming from senior coach Josh Fraser, who has been encouraged by the fight and character shown by his young squad of players.

After six rounds of the VFL, Northern has rotated 40 players throughout their VFL team: the most in the competition.

Of those 40, 19 have played their first senior games for the club already this year, while 25 are aged either 21 or under — another competition-high.

“We prepare and plan to win every game of VFL football: the situation at the moment is we’re exposing a lot of young players to the level,” Fraser told the Matchworks coach’s report.

“On the weekend, we saw that despite our slow start, we managed to win the second half in the end: the players showed their fight and grit in that aspect.

Against Williamstown, the Blues fielded 323 games of VFL experience: just 50 more than Seagulls veteran Ben Jolley alone.

With an average age of 21 on Saturday, Fraser said Northern would continue to battle away and test themselves against the best the VFL has to offer.

“Keeping in mind that we were playing a very experienced team at a home ground which they play very well, we were disappointed with the start of the game,” Fraser said.

“We need to be much better in first quarters, and more diligent in setting the game up.”

The likes of Sam Fisher and Ethan Penrith joined Carlton-listed trio Tom De Koning, Patrick Kerr and Angus Schumacher in playing every game so far this season.

With a lot to play out still in the VFL season, Fraser said the Blues were out to improve each week and build consistency throughout their games.

“We want them to keep believing that they’re good enough, and continue growing synergy and chemistry within the playing group,” Fraser said.

“They genuinely care for one another on and off the field, that connection is really strong.”

The Northern Blues’ next test comes this Saturday against Box Hill at Box Hill City Oval. It will be Tom Wilson’s 100th game.

Young Blues making their mark
Every game in 2018: Mason Blakey*, Tom De Koning*, Sam Fisher*, Jesse Glass-McCasker*, Patrick Kerr*, Ethan Penrith*, Angus Schumacher*, Tom Wilson

* Denotes player aged 21 or under