By NEAFL MEDIA
Photo: David Layden/NEAFL.
The North East Australian Football League (NEAFL) is pleased to announce the final 23-player representative team to battle the Tasmanian State League (TSL) in Hobart on Saturday.
Coached by AFL Queensland Hall of Famer, John Blair, the 2017 NEAFL team blends AFL experience with some of the competition’s most promising young talent.
The squad boasts eight former AFL-listed players, led by ex-Sydney Swans forward Xavier Richards, with Jack Hiscox (Sydney), Jack Anthony (Collingwood/Fremantle), Andrew Boston (Gold Coast), Seb Tape (Gold Coast), Gavin Grose (Port Adelaide), Sam Martyn (Adelaide), and Sam Michael (Brisbane/Essendon) also selected.
The average age of the side is just 23 years old, and 20 of the squad’s 25 players are home-grown talent who have come through the junior talent pathways in their respective states and territories.
Nine players in the squad are under the age of 23, as a number of the NEAFL’s young talented prospects aim to put their hand up for AFL Draft selection.
Numerous stars of the competition, including last year’s NEAFL MVP runner-up, Jordan Harper, and current leader of this year’s award, Southport’s Jordan Keras, highlight a strong squad.
Every non-AFL club is represented in the team, with current ladder leaders Sydney University leading the way with nine players, and Aspley and Southport four each.
Blair said he is looking forward to seeing what the new side can produce two years after the NEAFL’s historic first representative win against Tasmania in 2015, of which four players in this year’s squad featured in.
“We’ve had great buy-in from the squad which has been selected,” he said.
“The squad is a reflection of the competition and what it is trying to achieve, and that is to keep the best talent in their respective regions, and to grow those regions and local competitions as a result.
“We’re going down there expecting a grinding, physical match. We’re expecting it won’t be a blowout from either side.
“There won’t be a lot in it – it will be a battle of fitness and the mentally tough players in the last 15 minutes of the game.”
The NEAFL will take on Tasmania from 2pm at Blundstone Arena on Saturday. You can watch the match live on neafl.com.au, and it will also be replayed on NITV from 9.30pm next Tuesday.
2017 NEAFL Representative Team
B: Darcy Baron-Hay (Sydney Uni) Tim Barton (Sydney Uni) Seb Tape (Southport)
HB: Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds (Redland) Gavin Grose (Aspley) Reece Toye (Aspley)
C: Andrew Boston (Southport) Jordan Harper (Canberra) Sam Martyn (Canberra)
HF: Ryan Hebron (Sydney Uni) James Nelis (Aspley) Jack Hiscox (Sydney)
F: Jack Anthony (Southport) Xavier Richards (Sydney Uni) Ned Reinhard (Sydney Uni)
Foll: Sam Michael (Redland) Jordan Keras (Southport) Abraham Ankers (NT Thunder)
Inter: Nathan Cooper (Sydney Uni) Daniel Joseph (Aspley) Tim Barrett (Sydney Uni) Damien Bonney (Sydney Uni) Andrew Swan (Canberra)
Emer: Mitch Maguire (Canberra) Callum McFadden (Sydney Uni)
Coach: John Blair.
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