It's tough ruck with Powell out.

The AFL Cairns representative side to travel to Sydney this weekend has been narrowed down to 24 men but South Cairns ruckman Luke Powell has not been recalled despite a strong return from injury on Saturday.

One will be cut from the squad following training tonight, with the 23rd man travelling for the game at Blacktown Olympic Park and acting as a second runner if the side remains injury free.

A calf injury had kept the Cutters recruit off the paddock in the last month and he said he had told coach Andy Viola not to reconsider him after being an early omission from the squad.

Powell was a standout for Souths on Saturday, bagging six majors at full forward against Saints. But he said it would be a different story trying to stand up to the rigours of representative football.

"I wouldn't be able to run at that level though and I know that and chatted with Andy about it," Powell said. "I haven't done the work I needed to do."

AFL Cairns operations manager Sean Hunter said Centrals recruit Josh Westerberg would shoulder the bulk of the rucking duties in his absence, with utilities Shaun Knott, Tyson Ednie or Adam Mueller able to chime in too.

"We were very keen to have Luke in the squad, but you have to draw a line in the sand because we're going to Sydney to win this thing and you can't be taking 50-50 players," Hunter said.

****Cairns Squad: Kurt Bradshaw (Port Douglas), Adam Boone (Port Douglas), Thomas Clough (North Cairns), Jason Campbell (South Cairns), Steven Davies (North Cairns), Jesse Dixon (Cairns Saints), Damien Dewis (South Cairns), Tyson Ednie (Centrals TB), Lukas Ehlich (North Cairns), Clint Guy (Centrals TB), Clinton Gribble (Manunda Hawks), Marc Harbrow (Cairns City Lions), Matthew Harth (Cairns Saints), Shaun Knott (North Cairns), Daniel Lock (South Cairns), Ben McCartney (Port Douglas), Adam Mueller (North Cairns), Mark Nuggin (Port Douglas), Brenton Powell (Cairns Saints), Matthew Smart (Manunda Hawks), Brendan Tennick (North Cairns), Matthew Walsh (Cairns Saints), Dylan Wearmouth (Port Douglas), Joshua Westerberg (Centrals TB).


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