QClash4 a showcase for QLD talent

QClash4 will be a showcase of local talent with the Gold Coast SUNS and Brisbane Lions naming nine Queensland players for Saturday’s Metricon Stadium clash.

Lining up for the Gold Coast will be the North Queensland contingent of Zac Smith, Jarrod Harbrow, Charlie Dixon and second gamer Josh Hall.

A standout first season with the SUNS has made Zac Smith a household name in his hometown of Rockhampton where the 205cm Ruckman cut his teeth in junior and club football.

Cairns will be represented by Jarrod Harbrow and Charlie Dixon who have both battled injury this season.

Harbrow fractured his elbow during QClash3 at the Gabba in April while a badly fractured cheek saw Dixon’s face fitted with three metal plates.

The duo put in stellar performances in front of a hometown crowd at last week’s Richmond Vs SUNS game at Cazaly’s Stadium in Cairns and will be looking to back that up again this week.

Townsville’s Josh Hall may well be the SUNS lucky charm. The former higher jumper made his senior debut in Cairns where the club scored their first win of the season.

The Brisbane Lions have named South-East Queenslanders Ben Hudson, Daniel Merrett, Andrew Raines, Claye Beams and Josh Drummond in their QClash4 line-up.

Ex-Bulldogs player Ben Hudson grew up in Queensland and had planned to move back here after retiring from AFL. The former Mt Gravatt best and fairest winner and Queensland rep player was instead picked up by the Lions and is rewarding their faith with strong form in the ruck.

Michael Voss would be breathing a sigh of relief with news that Gold Coast product Daniel Merrett is free to play after successfully challenging a charging offence against Saint’s player Nick Reiwoldt.

Merrett was offered the two-match ban by the match review panel but the tribunal jury supported his argument that his actions were not reckless.

Gold Coast born and bred Andrew Raines looks set to take on one of footballs hardest jobs in the form of Gary Ablett. Raines has made a name for himself as on AFL’s toughest taggers and will be looking to shut down the SUNS most lethal weapon.

Claye Beams started 2012 with a NAB Rising Star nomination and has been working hard to cement a regular place in the Lions side.

Beams is the brother of Collingwood premiership player Dayne Beams and both started their AFL careers playing for Mudgereeba Saints in the Gold Coast Juniors competition.

The Sunshine Coast is represented by injury-plagued Josh Drummond who Mick Malthouse once said turned a Sherrin into an Exocet missile.

Drummond is so far injury free in 2012 and finding form as the season progresses.

The number of Queensland players represented is a testament to the success of the talent development program. With the newly formed Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS Academies, providing a dedicated talent pathway for 12 to 16-year-olds built on the ‘stay at home, learn at home, play at home’ principle, the number of local players competing in QClash in the future is sure to grow.

QClash4 Kicks off at Metricom Stadium at 4:40pm Saturday with tickets available from www.ticketmaster.com.au

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