After months of training, planning, selection meetings and study form, the Queensland vs. Western Australian Amateur Football League (WAAFL) clash is tonight.
All signs point to this one being a humdinger. Both sides have some serious talent at their disposal, both want to represent the jumper with pride, and both want nothing more than the win, its why they have bought into this whole process.
Everywhere you look there are stars that could tear the game apart.
Queensland have the experience of Morningside star Matt Logan, the run of Bill Hicks from Labrador, the match winning ability of the Western Magpies’ Luke Scott.
While the WAAFL, who are fielding an Under 23 side, have the strength of Jayden D’Vauz in the midfield who will be a rock over the ball, the versatility of Mitchell McKenzie who can play at both ends, and dead-eye-dick Ben Taylor up forward, who rarely misses.
The dew will set in late (after all, we are in winter now), which could impact of the aesthetics of the game.
It’s something Queensland coach, John Blair, has kept in the back of his mind at the selection table. He thinks it will be as much about getting it forward as it is winning the footy.
“We have tried to pick a side to play night football, with possible greasy conditions. That definitely comes into account,” Blair said.
WAAFL coach Clint Tester, will be sticking to their guns. With such a young side, they will look to move the ball as swiftly as possible.
“It’s going to be about winning our own footy, but really looking to spread the opposition and try to use our strength, which will hopefully be our speed and fitness,” Tester said.
“Our backline is reasonably strong, we have some cool heads back there, so will look to launch our attack from there.”
One of the biggest challenges representative squads face is getting everyone on the same wavelength in a short amount of time. Blair believes the Queensland team is on the same page.
“They appear as though they are enjoying each others company. Most of these guys have competed against each other for a couple of years before they make these sides, generally speaking. They get to know each other a bit anyway,” Blair said.
Tester shares the same thoughts.
“That was obviously something I was interested to see how it would pan out, but I think I’ve been lucky with the cattle that I have. A few of them have played together for a while in rep sides, which pulls guys together,” he said.
The commerardary has been good in a limited amount of time, so I’m really looking forward to getting them on a plane.”
While there can only be one winner, both coaches are confident they will be in the game if they play the footy they want to play.
“To be honest I don’t have much of an idea what to expect. The group that we have got I’m quite pleased with. Not having coached the team before, or seen how the other states play, it’s a bit of an unknown quantity to me,” Tester said.
“We are really confident that if we play well, we will be a good show, it’s just a matter of whether out best is better than Queensland’s best.”
And Blair, who knows how to win these games, summed up the mood of the Queensland camp in one sentence.
“I’ve never gone into a game yet that I don’t believe we can win,” he said.
Bounce down is at 7:00pm.
If you can’t make it to Yeronga tonight, tune into www.aflq-new.fspdev.com from 7pm for a live stream of the game
FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE
Leyshon Park, Cansdale St, Yeronga.
Friday, June 3.
5:15pm North Queensland vs. South Queensland Masters Exhibition Match
7:00pm Queensland vs. Western Australian Amateur Football League (WAAFL)
2016 QUEENSLAND TEAM
Please CLICK HERE to view the full team
By Andrew Wiles