FOUR FALCONS NAMED IN WAFL STATE SQUAD

Friday, May 4, 2018 - 11:14 AM by Chris Pike

WEST Perth players have formed a big part of the success of the WAFL State team in recent years and that looks set to continue next Saturday against South Australia with Andrew Strijk, Aaron Black, Shane Nelson and Luke Meadows all named in the 33-man squad.

Between Strijk, Nelson, Black and Meadows, they have racked up 15 previous appearances representing the WAFL and it's hard to see all four of them not being there again next Saturday as the West Australian team takes on the SANFL at Adelaide Oval.

The WAFL State team has been on a tremendous run in State matches in recent years with the winning streak beginning in 2013 against the VFL in Northam. 

That was followed up by a win against the NEAFL in Sydney and home victories against the SANFL and Tasmania at Lathlain Park and Steel Blue Oval respectively over 2015 and 2016.

But it was last year when the WAFL really showed how far the competition has come with an emphatic 63-point victory against the VFL in Melbourne that created history for WA football on Victorian soil.

Now the next step for the WAFL State side is to knock off South Australia in Adelaide and that chance presents next Saturday against the SANFL at Adelaide Oval with the game played ahead of the AFL contest between Port Adelaide and Adelaide.

Strijk has played for WA six times previously and is a lock to make it seven next Saturday with the form he has started the 2018 season in at both ends of the ground.

He started the season providing his usual drive and penetration off half-back, but last Saturday went deep forward against Perth and had 24 possessions, 15 marks and three goals.

Nelson has now represented the WAFL State team on three occasions with the triple Breckler Medal winner starting the 2018 season in stunning form averaging 39.6 possessions a game.

Black is in his first season as captain at West Perth with the 2014 Sandover Medallist and 2015 fairest and best winner having now played 156 games for the Falcons and four times previously for the WAFL.

He has started 2018 in good form again averaging 28 disposals and there is every reason to expect him to rack up his fifth game for WA next Saturday.

Meadows has also played for the WAFL the last two years in the wins against Tasmania and Victoria. He has now spent the 2017 season and 2018 to date mostly as a permanent midfielder with his ability to win the contested ball and kick the ball well a highlight.

He has started the 2018 season strongly averaging 22 disposals a game including that rising to 24.5 over the past two weeks in the wins against Swan Districts and Perth.

While Black, Strijk, Nelson and Meadows look set to again proudly represent West Perth in the Black Swans jumper, Blake Wilhelm and Tyler Keitel are two in-form players who can consider themselves especially unlucky not to be included in the 33-man squad at this point.

Broadbridge is coaching the WAFL State team for the second time and likes the mix of players included in the squad as WA tries to beat a South Australian team in Adelaide for the first time since 1994.

"The players we’ve selected in the squad so far is based on who has displayed the best form so far this season, so it’s reward for performance," Broadbridge said.

"I think we’ve got a really good cross section of players who have state experience, AFL experience and others that deserve a chance based on their form.

"This initial squad will form the core of the State team but we definitely don’t want to rule anyone out. We will be watching games over the next couple of weeks and have a few players in mind that we might include to fill a required role or from a team balance point of view."
 
Broadbridge said the game would also be a great chance for players to experience playing at Adelaide Oval and showcase their talent as WA aims to record another away win over a fierce interstate rival.

"Playing the game as an AFL curtain raiser is a great opportunity and I’m sure there will be a big hometown crowd supporting the local team, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge," Broadbridge said.

"I have no doubt we will see two very competitive teams that will have a similar make-up in terms of talent and experience. It’s a big opportunity for the WAFL to firm up our position as what we believe is the best state league competition in Australia.  

"It will also be a great opportunity for players, like Tim Kelly did last year, to show how they can perform and potentially open doors to the AFL."

Meanwhile, Tom Medhat, Tom O'Donnell, Jaxon Prior and Ryan Hudson are the West Perth players included in the WA State 18s squad to be selected to play in the AFL National 18s Championships starting on Sunday June 3 against South Australia at Adelaide's Alberton Oval.

Kellen Johnson, Heath Chapman, Michael Mallard and Logan Foley have all been named from West Perth in the WA State 16s squad as well.

The campaign for WA in the AFL National 16s Championships begins on Sunday June 24 against South Australia also at Alberton Oval.

WAFL STATE SQUAD
Claremont – Jye Bolton, Kane Mitchell
East Fremantle – Jonathon Marsh, Jayden Schofield
East Perth – Sharrod Wellingham
Peel Thunder – Blair Bell, Gerald Ugle
Perth – Cody Leggett
South Fremantle – Ryan Cook, Ashton Hams, Brock Higgins, Blaine Johnson, Ben Saunders, Haiden Schloithe, Nick Suban
Subiaco – Lachlan Delahunty, Aaron Heal, Kyal Horsley, Leigh Kitchin, Angus Litherland, Jordan Lockyer, Chris Phelan, Ben Sokol, Brad Stevenson, Rhys Waters
Swan Districts – Corey Gault, Tony Notte, Rhys Palmer, Kirk Ugle
West Perth – Aaron Black, Luke Meadows, Shane Nelson, Andrew Strijk