WAFL v SANFL STATE GAME PREVIEW

Friday, May 11, 2018 - 10:08 PM by Chris Pike

WEST Perth's Aaron Black, Andrew Strijk, Shane Nelson and Luke Meadows will all form crucial parts of the WAFL State Team against the SANFL at Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

The four Falcons players have previously represented Western Australia a combined 15 times and they will once again all play significant roles as the WAFL tries to score a first win against South Australia in Adelaide since 1994.

Strijk has previously played six games for WA as part of his 214-game WAFL career that includes a premiership and fairest and best award with the Falcons. He is in tremendous form in 2018 as well whether playing off half-back or in attack.

Nelson has pulled on the Black Swans jumper three times previously and will do so a fourth time on Saturday. The triple Breckler Medallist is in remarkable form to open 2018 averaging 37.8 possessions over the opening six games.

Meadows has played for WA the past two years in the wins against Tasmania and Victoria. Two years ago he made his mark off half-back with the Falcons but over the past 18 months he has spent more time as a midfielder and again is in strong form in 2018 averaging 22.5 disposals a game.

Then there is Black who is in his first season as captain at West Perth and has been named vice-captain of the WA side. He has now played 157 matches for the Falcons along with winning a premiership, a Sandover Medal and fairest and best award.

He has had a strong start to 2018 largely as an inside midfielder averaging 29.3 disposals and he can't wait to play for the WAFL State Team for a fifth time.

"We've had some really good leaders and really good sides the last couple of years so to be a part of some history last year, and some of those quality sides has been really enjoyable," Black said.

The 2018 State Game will take place at Adelaide Oval from 11.40am this Saturday with South Australia hosting Western Australia.

The game will be available to be watched via live stream and that will be at www.wafl.com.au.

On top of that, from 11.30am WA time, the game will be live on 91.3 SportFM with the station taking the live simulcast from Adelaide's LIFE 107.9FM.

The game will be played as a curtain raiser at Adelaide Oval to the AFL Showdown later that afternoon between the Port Adelaide Power and Adelaide Crows.

The WA team enters the clash against the Croweaters full of confidence having won the past five State matches, but a win in Adelaide against South Australia hasn’t happened since a State of Origin win in 1994 for the Black Swans.

South Australia have won the last four home State matches against a WA team but the WAFL did hand them a defeat in the last meeting between the two at Lathlain Park in 2015.

That was an impressive performance from the West Australian team to win by 45 points with Ryan Davis kicking five goals, the late Shane Yarran three, Cory Dell'Olio three and Wayde Twomey, Aaron Black, Andrew Strijk, Ashton Hams and Chris Phelan all outstanding.

That win was part of five-game winning run for the KIA WAFL State Team which included a win over the VFL in Northam, against the NEAFL in Sydney, Tasmania at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval and then a history-making victory in Melbourne against Victoria in 2017.

Meanwhile, the SANFL team has won eight of its past 10 interstate clashes. But those two losses have both been against WA – at Lathlain Park in 2015 and Leederville Oval in 2009.

While they haven’t lost to WA on home soil since 1994, they haven’t lost a game at home at all since losing to the VFL in 2002. Since 1991, the Croweaters are 9-2 at home.

WA and South Australia have met 93 times in total in interstate football with the Sandgropers leading the head-to-head battles 47-46.

The game will be played for the Haydn Bunton Cup, currently held by WA. Haydn Bunton Jnr is a legendary figure in both states having played 54 matches for North Adelaide, 97 for Norwood, 89 for Swan Districts and 59 for Subiaco.

He went on to coach (and play) Swan Districts to a hat-trick of WAFL premierships in 1961-62-63 and Subiaco to back-to-back flags in 1986 and 1988. He was also playing-coach at Norwood and coached at South Adelaide and Sturt.

The KIA WAFL State Team will be captained by Subiaco's Kyal Horsley and the vice-captain is Aaron Black.

The squad of 25 features nine players from Subiaco (Horsley, Aaron Heal, Angus Litherland, Chris Phelan, Rhys Waters, Brad Stevenson, Lachlan Delahunty, Leigh Kitchin and Ben Sokol).

There are then three players from Swan Districts (Tony Notte, Rhys Palmer and Corey Gault), two from East Fremantle (Jonathon Marsh and George Hampson), and two from South Fremantle (Brock Higgins and Blaine Johnson).

There are also two from Claremont (Jye Bolton and Kane Mitchell), one from Peel Thunder (Gerald Ugle), one from East Perth (Sharrod Wellingham) and one from Perth (Cody Leggett).

Of those players, Ugle, Leggett, Wellingham, Johnson, Higgins, Gault, Palmer, Sokol, Stevenson, Waters and Litherland will be playing for the WAFL for the first time.

West Perth's Strijk is preparing to pull on the Black Swans jumper for a seventh time with his teammate Black about to notch his fifth State appearance, Nelson his fourth, Notte his fourth, Kitchin his fourth, Horsley his fourth, Meadows his third, Delahunty his third, Bolton his third and Mitchell his third, 

Phelan, Marsh, Heal and Hampson will all be playing for WA for a second time in their careers.

Sturt star Zane Kirkwood has been named captain of the West End State team for the second time in succession after guiding the Croweaters to victory against the VFL in 2016.

The dual Magarey Medallist was voted in by his peers and will be hoping to back up his performance against the Vics when his 30 disposals and three goals earned him the Fos Williams Medal.

Kirkwood will lead a highly talented midfield unit, which will also include talented Norwood pair Mitch Grigg and Matt Panos on the inside and Marlon Motlop and Jarred Allmond on the outside.

Woodville-West Torrens co-captain Luke Thompson will be Kirkwood’s deputy, with the former Crows defender named vice-captain on Thursday night.

He will lead a back six including Jack Oatey Medallist Fraser Evans and another Fos Williams Medallist in West skipper Tom Keough.

Bulldogs giant Darcy Fort will lead the ruck with support from North’s Alex Barns, who will start in attack with fellow talls Josh Scott (Glenelg) and Jack Hayes (Eagles).

Classy goal sneaks Jake Johansen (Eagles) and Robbie Young (North) will be nipping at their heels while Central’s Justin Hoskin will play an important role as a mid-sized forward capable of pushing up the ground.

Cameron Shenton (Norwood) and Keough will provide SANFL coach Marty Mattner with plenty of flexibility given they can play multiple positions.

STATE GAME 2018
WESTERN AUSTRALIA (WAFL) v SOUTH AUSTRALIA (SANFL) – ADELAIDE OVAL, SATURDAY 11.40AM WST 
Broadcast –
Live Stream (www.wafl.com.au), 91.3 SportFM

SELECTED TEAMS, LIVE STATS