Queensland coach Jason Cotter will take a largely new-look side to Perth next month for the clash with Western Australia after adopting a “horses for courses” policy at selection today.

Sunday, 22 May, 2011

Queensland coach Jason Cotter will take a largely new-look side to Perth next month for the clash with Western Australia after adopting a “horses for courses” policy at selection today.

Only 12 members of the 23-man side that posted one of Queensland’s great interstate victories over Tasmania at Southport last year were included in a 39-man squad for the trip west.

“Essentially we’ve tried to pick the squad on form and need,” explained Cotter, who will have four assistant-coaches this year – Murray Davis, Clint Watts, Craig Crowley and Darren Carlson.

“We got that right last year and we’ve tried to adopt the same philosophy.

“We’ve taken into consideration the big ground we’re going to play on, the need for leg speed and recovery, and the need for good defensive pressure and a strong physical aspect.

“We know that’s what we’ll get from the WA boys – strong bodies and a lot of counter-attack and run off the half back line – and we’ve got to match them in that area,” said Cotter (pictured).

No less 22 players have been included in the Queensland Open squad for the first time as each of the 10 Northern Conference NEAFL sides have at least two representatives, and unbeaten ladder leaders NT Thunder and second-placed Mt.Gravatt top the list with seven apiece.

There is a good dose of experience, with ex-St.Kilda utility Brad Howard and ex-Brisbane Lions midfielder Albert Proud among the first-time inclusions, while dual Brisbane Lions premiership player Robert Copeland, back to his best this year, has been recalled after missing out last year.

Other new faces who bring a good level of experience to the squad are ex-Port Adelaide rookie list defender Gavin Grose and ex-Fremantle rookie Chris Smith, while ex-Brisbane Lions rookie Adam Spackman returns after he missed last year due to work commitments.

The selectors included four AFL rookie list players from the two Queensland AFL clubs – Queensland products Joel Tippett and Jake Crawford from the Gold Coast Suns, plus Gippsland Power product Mitch Golby and Irish recruit Niall McKeever from the Brisbane Lions.

Queensland youngsters Declan Bevan and Reece Toye from Aspley, Trent Manzone from Redland and Nathan Reid from Mt.Gravatt have been included in the State Open squad for the first time with ex-Mayne second division stalwart Caleb Brown, who has switched to Morningside this year, and Mt.Gravatt’s PNG recruit John James.

Cameron Ilett, Kenrick Tyrrell and Shaun Tapp, members of the Queensland side that hammered Tasmania last year, head a strong NT Thunder contingent with the competition’s leading goal-kicker Darren Ewing and No.2 goal-kicker Ross Tangatalum, plus Karl Lohde and Iggy Vallejo.

Former Gold Coast Suns trialist Michael Gugliotta, an NT product now playing with Labrador, gives the Territory an eighth representative after he was included with a group of players recruited from interstate by Queensland-based NEAFL clubs.

This group includes Broadbeach’s Kallen Geary, from the Bendigo Pioneers, Labrador’s Ryan Davey, from Warrigul, and Steve Wrigley from Blackburn, and Redland’s Josh Pullman, a former Swan Districts (WAFL) full forward hoping to win a trip back to his home state.

The 12 ‘survivors’ from the 2010 Queensland side are captain Danny Wise, Kurt Niklaus, Matty Payne (Southport), Scott Clouston, James Charlesworth (Redland), Paul Shelton (Morningside), Tyrrell, Ilett, Tapp (NT), Nathan Gilliland (Mt.Gravatt), Todd Grayson (Labrador) and Dayne Zorko (Broadbeach).

Missing from last year’s triumphant side are Claye Beams, now with the Brisbane Lions, Darren Pfeiffer and Mark Kimball, now playing interstate, the injured trio of Aaron Rogers, Cleve Hughes and Cam Maclaren, plus Morningside’s Damien Bonney and Austin Lucy, Redland’s Daniel Dzufer, Southport’s Ben Merrett and Labrador’s Todd Featherstone.

Bonney, a standout against Tasmania, is known to be carrying an ankle injury and was not considered.

The Queensland squad is:: Declan Bevan, Robert Copeland, Reece Toye (Aspley), Mitch Golby, Niall McKeever (Brisbane Lions), Kallen Geary, Dayne Zorko (Broadbeach), Jake Crawford, Joel Tippett (Gold Coast Suns), Ryan Davey, Todd Grayson, Michael Gugliotta, Steve Wrigley (Labrador), Kent Abey, Caleb Brown, Paul Shelton, Adam Spackman (Morningside), Nathan Gilliland, Gavin Grose, John James, Albert Proud, Nathan Reid, Chris Smith, Josh Vearing (Mt Gravatt), Darren Ewing, Cameron Ilett, Karl Lohde, Shaun Tapp, Ross Tungatalum, Kenrick Tyrrell, Iggy Vallejo (NT Thunder), James Charlesworth, Scott Clouston, Brad Howard, Trent Manzone, Josh Pullman (Redland), Kurt Niklaus, Matt Payne, Danny Wise (Southport).

Players are advised that training will be as follows:-

Wednesday May 25 – 6.15pm (Yeronga)
Wednesday June 1 – 6.15pm (Yeronga)
Wednesday June 8 – 6.15pm (TBA)
Tuesday June 14 – 6.15pm (TBA)
Thursday June 16 – 6.15pm (TBA)
Friday June 17 – TBA (Bendigo Bank Stadium Mandurah)

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