Cairns junior Rex Liddy on Saturday night will become the 11th Queenslander to debut in the AFL this year

Friday, 10 June, 2011

Cairns junior Rex Liddy on Saturday night will become the 11th Queenslander to debut in the AFL this year.

Liddy, pictured at training, will get his first taste of football at the elite level after winning promotion to the Gold Coast Suns side that will play North Melbourne at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night.

Set to wearing jumper No.44, he will be the 11th Queensland AFL debutant this year, making the ‘Class of 2011’ the biggest in Queensland football history.

And at 19 years 160 days he’ll be the youngest Queensland AFL player since Collingwood’s Dayne Beams in 2009.

Liddy’s selection comes after he was claimed by the Suns as a Queensland Zone Priority Selection ahead of the 2010 NAB AFL National Draft.

A nephew of North Queensland Cowboys rugby league ace Matty Bowen, he was a solid contributor at VFL level last year to earn his senior list spot, and has been in excellent recent form, with the Suns Reserves in the NEAFL.

Liddy’s AFL debut will be the culmination in an Australian football journey which started when AFL Queensland’s State Indigenous Programs Manager Rick Hanlon offered him a scholarship to become involved in an AFL KickStart program.

This included moving him from the Cape York Peninsula to a school in Cairns.

Within a matter of matches Liddy quickly showed his skills, regularly representing Queensland and earning an All-Australian jumper at U15 level.

Also a standout athlete, he won state titles in the 100m and 200m.

According to Hanlon, it was Liddy’s all-round skills that had first made him a prime candidate for the AFL’s KickStart program.

“He was a really good leader,” Hanlon told during a Flying Boomerangs tour of South Africa in 2008. “It was more about leadership than anything because he didn’t know much about kicking a footy or the game either (at that stage).”

Later, Liddy moved to Brisbane to complete the final three years of his schooling at St.Peter’s College, playing his club football in the State capital with the Kenmore Bears.

Gold Coast football manager Marcus Ashcroft said at the time Liddy signed with the club that they were thrilled to secure another player with strong ties to the state.

“It’s important for us that we develop and retain our Queensland-based talent, so we were delighted to be able to offer Rex a contract,” Ashcroft said.

“He’s been operating in a fiercely competitive environment and he’s worked incredibly hard on his fitness and his game in a broader sense.

“He genuinely deserves this opportunity. We know he’ll be a fantastic ambassador for our club.”

Liddy will be the seventh Queenslander to debut with the Suns this year behind Zac Smith, Charlie Dixon, Karmichael Hunt, Marc Lock, Alik Magin and Joey Daye.

Other members of the Queensland AFL Class of 2011 are Brisbane’s Claye Beams, Broc McCauley and Bryce Retzlaff, and Western Bulldogs’ James Mulligan.

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