Bushrangers bound for US - Lauren Bordin

January 24, 2018

Zane Barzen is training in the United States with some of the best young footballers as part of the AFL Level Two Academy program.

The top-age squad comprises the most promising talents in the country, taken overseas for a 10-day high-performance training camp.

Shepparton United’s Barzen is a star in the making, having already taken the eyes of recruiters during his underage year with the Murray Bushrangers last season.

He is joined by fellow Bushies Hudson Garoni (Wodonga Bulldogs) and Mathew Walker (CDHBU) overseas, as part of the 32 members of the academy.

Three-time Brisbane premiership player Luke Power coaches the academy, the successor to Brenton Sanderson.

The group has just completed a week in Florida, before crossing the country to also train at the highly regarded University of California.

Having stopped to catch an ice hockey game as well as watching the LA Lakers take on the New York Knicks, the top teenage footballers are being kept busy.

But it is not all fun and games in the States, with AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan in tow, as well as a host of recruiters sent by AFL clubs to observe players.

Barzen impressed the cohort during a drill involving goal kicking with blindfolds, with his poise holding the Victoria Country representative in good stead.

Barzen kicked 19 goals in 13 games for the Bushies last season, with a steady stream coming during the year.

Many of the academy prospects trained at AFL clubs last month, with Barzen putting in the hard yards at Richmond.

Bushrangers products Jy Simpkin and Will Brodie headed to the United States at the start of 2016 as part of a highly regarded group before being picked in the top 20 at the national draft that year.

The Murray Bushrangers are yet to finalise their TAC Cup list for this season, as pre-season training resumed on Sunday, January 14.

Leon Higgins will again lead the group for the third year and Nathan Lovett-Murray has come on board as an assistant.

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