Weekend preview: State pride on the line
STATE pride is on the line this weekend, but for one West Australian representative, the stakes are even higher. AFL Mid-Season Draft fancy Jack Buller will not only don the Black Duck against South Australia in the annual State Game, but also trial for his spot in the big leagues.
The 199cm Claremont forward last represented WA at Under 18 level in 2019, the year he was first overlooked for the draft as many of his state teammates were picked up. Now, the 22-year-old looks primed for selection in the mid-season intake after an impressive start to the WAFL season.
The two state league representative sides will lock horns at Adelaide Oval today, starting 3:10pm local time, to get their hands on the Haydn Bunton Cup. South Australia currently holds a three-match winning streak in the fixture.
2023 STATE GAME SQUADS
Central District: Jez McLennan
Glenelg: Matthew Allen, Darcy Bailey, Lachie Hosie, Liam McBean, Max Proud, Brett Turner
North Adelaide: Cameron Craig, Mitch Harvey, Harrison Magor, Keenan Ramsey, Frank Szekely
Norwood: Harry Boyd
South Adelaide: Eamon Wilkinson
Sturt: Will Coomblas, Martin Frederick, Josh Hone, Tom Lewis, Connor McFadyen, Casey Voss
West Adelaide: Josh Ryan
Woodville-West Torrens: Connor Ballenden, Mitch Hardie, James Rowe, Joe Sinor
Claremont: Oliver Eastland, Teia Miles, Jack Buller
East Fremantle: Matthew Jupp, Milan Murdock, Cam Eardley, Jonathon Marsh
East Perth: Angus Schumacher, Angus Scott, Mitch Crowden, Hamish Brayshaw
Peel Thunder: Ben Hancock
Perth: Michael Sinclair
South Fremantle: Toby McQuilkin, Tom Blechynden, Chad Pearson
Subiaco: Stefan Giro, Ben Sokol
Swan Districts: Jesse Turner
West Perth: Luke Meadows, Mitch Dobson, Noah Pegoraro, Zac Guadagnin
There will be no SANFL or WAFL football played across each grade this week, although, some of the Croweater’s best young talent will be in action for tonight’s Under 18 vs. Under 20 clash at Thebarton Oval.
Ahead of this year’s Under 18 National Championships, the more junior side will essentially undergo their second trial against an Under 20 outfit featuring recently removed state stars of the same category – including skipper Adam D’Aloia and his deputy, Kobe Ryan.
After their successful trial against a combined Giants/Swans Academy squad last week, the Under 18s have regained four National Academy members for this clash – captain Will Patton, leadership group members Ashton Moir and Kane McAuliffe, and forward Jack Delean.
Meanwhile, Western Australia’s Under 18 side will soon undergo trials against a pair of WAFL Reserves outfits ahead of their own campaign. The Allies squad is yet to be announced, while the Vic Country and Metro candidates have just completed their own set of rehearsals.
Speaking of Victorian and Allied prospects, the Coates Talent League returns for Round 7 tonight. A bumper seven-game round makes for an emphatic resumption after more than a month off, with three northern academies – Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Sydney – set to play their final matches.
Unfortunately, top pick fancy Harley Reid will not turn out for Bendigo after sustaining a head knock in last week’s National Academy victory over Carlton VFL. Western Jets Logan Morris is another injury omission after hurting his knee with Werribee on VFL debut.
From a mid-season draft angle, Gippsland’s Ryan Maric has not been named, but Eastern Ranges ruck Clay Tucker will take the field against the Lions Academy tomorrow. Oakleigh tall Will Elliott is also in line to play against Dandenong in tonight’s round-opener.
Around the league, a bunch of Tasmania’s talent will reconvene after gaining senior experience in the TSL. Many squads will have a much different look to them after the first block of games, too, with the school and representative seasons beginning to take precedence.
STAY TUNED – INCOMING CONTENT:
– Jack Buller Player Focus
– SA U18 vs. U20 Scouting Notes
– Talent League Scouting Notes, POTW & TOTW
… and much more!