NOWRA'S Nic Maddinson is one of 29 players, announced on Thursday, to be awarded contracts with Cricket Victoria for the 2021-22 season.
The squad, including debutant James Seymour and new rookie Fergus O'Neill, features 16 players aged 23 or younger - with Patrick Rowe not offered a new deal.
Four players made their Sheffield Shield debut last season and six players got their first taste of State one-day cricket.
"It was a great opportunity last season to get a number of games into those players," Victorian coach Chris Rogers said.
"You expect some inconsistency with inexperienced players, but they held their own and this season will be another step forward for them."
Will Sutherland (21 years of age) and Mitch Perry (21) played every Shield match last season, while Todd Murphy (20), Jake Fraser-McGurk (19) and Zak Evans (21) also featured.
While in the one-day format Evans, Murphy, Brody Couch (21), Wil Parker (18) and Sam Elliott (21) played their first limited overs game for the state.
"We are on a journey where our State squad is moving through a planned transition period," Cricket Victoria's general manager of cricket Shaun Graf said.
"The experience our emerging group of players gained this past season will hopefully have them well prepared for the coming season.
"To be able to get more games into this young emerging group of talented players has been a huge benefit out of an extremely challenging season.
"'Buck' and his coaching group did an excellent job in managing the squad given the many hurdles that confronted cricket and sport in general over the past 12 months.
"We'll enter the 2021-22 season having some of the most exciting young cricketing talent in the country along with a number of more experienced players looking for early Australian selection opportunities, including Will Pucovski, Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Handscomb and James Pattinson, and that's an excellent position to be in."
The Victorian squad includes our three Australian contracted players - Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and James Pattinson.
James Seymour earned his call up to the Victorian squad after scoring 822 runs during the Premier Cricket season at an average of 91, before impressing with a knock of 60 in his Shield debut.
"It's a credit to him to get this opportunity at 29 years of age," Rogers said.
"He may have thought this chance was past him but he's forced his selection by scoring heavily in Premier Cricket.
"It shows there are still opportunities for mature players if they can consistently perform."
Players will begin returning to training from mid-June.
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