Williamstown CYMS had a long-term vision to be one of the key developers of young football talent in the Hobsons Bay area.
After rolling out plans and committing extra resources, the CYs spent years putting in the hard yards to ensure the blueprint was followed, even though it would be some time before the fruits of their labour began to show.
The CYs seem to have hit a development sweet spot this year.
They have three players – Nick Ebinger, Kallan Dawson and Ben Connolly – on Williamstown’s list in the Victorian Football League.
There are five CYs players – Josh Kellett, Declan Edwards, Archi Manton, Liam Conway and Tane Roordink – on the Western Jets list in the NAB League.
That is a lot of elite talent walking out the door for Williamstown CYMS, but that is exactly what the club wanted.
“The mentality can be that you don’t want to lose players, but if you’ve got players going to that space then you know your program is in the right place,” CYs senior coach Mathew Montebello said.
“Those three players that have gone on to Willy VFL were overlooked by the Jets and haven’t gone through the Jets system.
“They’ve come through our system.”
Williamstown CYMS’ stronger focus on player development has a two-fold effect.
Players in the CYs program become better footballers as a result of the tailored coaching and that should result in better performance, which could open up doors to elite competitions.
A growing elite youth base will also be a valuable source of talent for CYs seniors.
Montebello works closely with under-19 coach Con Terzoglou, who he describes as “extremely passionate” about player development.
Montebello is aware of the young talent Terzoglou is nurturing because the club’s focus dictates they work closely together and there is no divide between the two teams.
Montebello and Terzoglou’s working relationship is all about preparing the teenagers for senior football.
“Our program is set up so it’s connected, it’s one program,” Montebello said.
“Our program looks at blending under-19 players into our senior program, so very rarely does a player come up into senior football where they haven’t already played a couple of games of senior football, but we protect that space a fair bit.
“At the moment he’s got four kids that I could say straight away ‘he’s playing senior footy’, but that just weakens the under-19s program, so we try and make sure that program is strong first.
“We think it’s a pretty special connection that has led to those players being on the Jets list and on the VFL list.”
The most exciting talents to come out of Williamstown CYMS in recent times are Ebinger and Dawson.
Ebinger has been described as a “phenomenal talent” who is on the verge of regular senior football with Williamstown.
“He does things on the footy field that make you go ‘wow’,” Montebello said.
Dawson is still raw at VFL level, but no less talented. He has played three games for Williamstown this season.
“He’s a six-foot-four half back and runs like the wind,” Montebello said.
“A late bloomer, he’s going to get a lot of attention now.”
Williamstown CYMS is top of the ladder in the Victorian Amateur Football Association Premier C.