Wednesday, 19 May, 2010

Eighteen-year-old Tom Bell (pictured) has been plucked from the reserve grade ranks at Morningside to win a spot in the Queensland U21 State squad.

The 191cm utility player, also a top-level kite boarder, was rewarded for two fine displays as a top-up player with the Lions Reserves at the Gabba in recent weeks.

He is among a squad of 38 players chosen for the 12 June clash with the Victorian Amateur U21 side at Southport, which will be the curtain-raiser to the Queensland – Tasmania game.

Bell’s inclusion is something of a replica of a 2007 story which featured John Williams, who was picked for the State U21 squad after a handful of senior games at Morningside in a forerunner to subsequent draft selection by Essendon.

Like Williams Bell is a convert to AFL football. He is a former State junior cross country representative and a soccer convert.

He switched codes as a 12-year-old and made the Queensland Primary Schools side but has been unable to win any further representative recognition – until now.

“It’s a nice surprise. I’ve made the Bushies (South-East Bushrangers) squad a few times but I’ve never actually been picked,” said the apprentice refrigeration mechanic, who was a member of the 2009 Morningside U18 premiership side.

“I do kite-boarding as a hobby – that’s like wind-surfing with a kite – but I really love my footy.”

Having started the QAFL State League season in the Morningside reserves, he has played for the Lions Reserves against Labrador and Redland the past two weeks.

He was even named among the best players by coach Craig McRae after their loss to the Tigers, and says he has “really enjoyed” the involvement at the higher level and is committed to taking his football as far as possible.

Other highlights of a squad to be coached for a fourth consecutive year by Morningside coach John Blair, with assistant-coaches Matty Francis from Redland and Jarrod Field from Labrador are:-

• All nine QAFL clubs are represented, headed by Mt.Gravatt (8) and  Redland (7).

• Rockhampton junior Paul O’Shea has been included in a Queensland squad for the first time, having returned to the QAFL this year after three seasons with the Western Bulldogs.

• Sean Tighe, a member of the 2009 TAC Cup Team of the Year, and Justin Van Unen, another product of Victoria’s primary development competition, have been included after heading to Queensland this year to further their draft hopes.

• Eight players are back from last year’s U21 side – Matt Davis, Darin Stewart, Fred Sleeth, Alastair Nash, David Hill, Tom Salter, Matt Thomson and Adrian Williams. Justin Myers drops back to the U21 squad after playing at State Open level last year.

• There are five 2010 top-up players from the Gold Coast AFL club – Mitch Harley, Damien Steven, Brad Rees, Stanis Susuve and Hamish Watts – plus 2009 Gold Coast squad members Gerard Moore, Ryan Thomson, Troy Jamieson and Tayler Rolfe.

• Susuve and John James are two PNG members of the squad:

The Queensland U21 squad is: Aspley: Matt Davis, Dylan Reid, Sean Tighe, Reece Toye; Broadbeach: Michael Cooke, Nathan Quick,Tayler Rolfe, Josh Searl, Darin Stewart; Labrador: Curtis Allen, Fred Sleeth, Nick Stockdale, Stanis Susuve; Morningside: Tom Bell, Ashley Dean, Kent Delbridge, Alistair Nash; Mt.Gravatt: Mitch Harley, David Hill, John James, Troy Jamieson, Ben Jones, Joel Smouha, Damien Steven, Ryan Thomson; NT Thunder: Mitchell Taylor: Redland: Justin Myers, Paul O’Shea, Brad Rees, Tom Salter, Matt Thomson, Ben Weightman, Adrian Williams; Southport: Connor Pettersson, Justin Van Unen, Hamish Watts; Western Magpies: Ben Jaenke-Cain, Gerard Moore.



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