The State selectors have placed a heavy emphasis on flexibility in reducing the Queensland squad to meet Tasmania on Saturday to 27 players.

Monday 7 June 2010

The State selectors have placed a heavy emphasis on flexibility in reducing the Queensland squad to meet Tasmania on Saturday to 27 players.

Four have to be omitted by game day, with the team training twice this week before going into an overnight camp at Runaway Bay on Friday night.

Three NT Thunder players are in line to represent the QAFL competition in which they compete – the dashing Cameron Ilett, rugged ruckman Kenrick Tyrrell and Brisbane-born and raised Shaun Tapp.

The Brisbane Lions also have two players in contention this year after not having any representation last year.

Claye Beams, the in-form brother of Collingwood star Dayne, and ex-Morningside grand final player and current Lions administration officer Adam Spackman are in the mix, but outstanding ruckman Broc McCauley misses out with a groin problem.

Injuries ruled out a number of players including quality Southport wingman David James, outstanding Thunder skipper Jarred Ilett, Morningside young gun Ryan Holman and exciting NT utility Zephi Skinner.

Giant ruckman Trent Knobel, Grogan Medallist Nathan Kinch, and prolific Redland ballwinner Phil Carse ruled themselves out with injury concerns last week.

Regular State stalwart Kent Abey (Morningside) and last year’s leading goalkicker Darren Ewing (Thunder) were unlucky omissions as they vied for one deep forward spot with Southport’s Cleve Hughes.

Hughes has been the form goalkicker of the last month, averaging almost seven goals per game, and got the nod.

“We have picked a side on form as best we can,” said Queensland coach Jason Cotter. “We have also gone with a group of players who can all play in a variety of roles.

“We wanted to be more flexible with our make-up because we felt we lacked that flexibility last year.”

Only seven players remain from the team that lost to Tasmania by 49 points in Hobart last June – Danny Wise, Paul Shelton, Kurt Niklaus, Austin Lucy, Nathan Gilliland, James Charlesworth and Adam Mueller.

The squad features several borderline draft candidates from recent seasons who will be looking to impress, including Aspley’s Jamie Sheahan, 19, Beams, 18, Broadbeach co-captain Dayne Zorko, 21, Labrador’s Gold Coast hopeful Todd Grayson, 18, Morningside’s Damien Bonney, 22, Tapp, 21, and Redland’s Adam Mueller, 22.

Former Brisbane Lions Scott Clouston, 23, and Daniel Dzufer, 21, along with Redland teammate and 2009 nab QAFL Rising Star James Charlesworth, 21, will also be looking to play well on the big stage at Southport’s Fankhauser Reserve, as will ex-Carlton tyro Darren Pfeiffer, 22.

It could also be a great opportunity for impressive 22-year-old Southport forward Ben Merrett, son of Brisbane and Essendon great Roger, who has improved with every season in the QAFL and has shone for Queensland in Under 21 matches.

Such is the youth in the Queensland squad that the average age is just over 22 years.

Saturday’s clash at Fankhauser Reserve begins at 2pm, with Queensland Under 21 contesting the curtain-raiser against the Victorian Amateurs Under 21s from 11am. 

The 27-man Queensland squad is:
Jamie Sheahan

Brisbane Lions Reserves
Claye Beams
Adam Spackman

Dayne Zorko

Todd Featherstone
Todd Grayson

Damien Bonney
Mark Kimball
Austin Lucy
Aaron Rogers
Paul Shelton

Mt Gravatt
Nathan Gilliland

NT Thunder
Cameron Ilett
Shaun Tapp
Kenrick Tyrrell

James Charlesworth
Scott Clouston
Daniel Dzufer
Adam Mueller

Cleve Hughes
Cameron MacLaren
Ben Merrett
Kurt Niklaus
Matt Payne
Darren Pfeiffer
Dean Putt
Daniel Wise

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