Who Would You Have In Your VFL State Team?
By Anthony Stanguts from www.vfl.com.au
OKAY, so it’s about this time of the year that a VFL representative team would be playing against South Australia or West Australia.
The State representative matches have been put on hold this year to accommodate the inaugural Foxtel Cup, a competition that has pitted 16 teams representing every State and Territory.
Certainly, the initiative has been a great boost for the profile of the respective State League clubs, especially Northern Bullants and Williamstown, which have progressed to the Foxtel Cup Quarter Finals.
But, in the absence of a State match the AFL Victoria Record has decided to select its squad of players who would have been in the running for a representative match.
We’ve followed the criteria used in selecting the State squad – only VFL Listed players are eligible for selection as well as AFL Rookies.
While Western Bulldogs veteran Mitch Hahn was up for selection - enjoying a good season for Williamstown - we’ve opted for players who are younger and with an opportunity to take their football further.
As with all representative teams, our ‘Record’ team is selected on those players who have shone during the first seven rounds of the season.
Not surprisingly, our team includes several players who are regular representative players, led by Williamstown skipper Brett Johnson, who last season captained the VFL team, which demolished West Australia over in the west.
Johnson has been one of the drivers behind Williamstown again surging from the gates to occupy its front running position towards the top of the ladder.
But, his sole Seagull teammate is Ben Jolley, who Williamstown faithful claim has been the most influential player this season.
There are several ex-Seagulls in the Record squad – Dean Galea, Paddy Rose and Wayde Skipper, who all now call Port Melbourne home.
Rose is a State representative from last season while Skipper, a veteran of 100 VFL games, has been ineligible in the past because he’s been an AFL listed player.
Skipper gains the nod for No 1 ruckman from Orren Stephenson, whose credentials, of course, saw him included on the interchange bench.
Liston Trophy winner Shane Valenti, overlooked for last year’s State match, takes Myles Sewell’s spot. Valenti’s start to the season has been super but injury could curtail his season.
Valenti’s teammate Adam Bentick, another member of last year’s victorious VFL team, comes off the interchange bench to provide the necessary rotation support.
Galea’s selection may cause some queries, but there’s no denying that he’s in form and, importantly, kicking goals in tandem with Rose.
As good as Galea has been playing, Bendigo Bomber spearhead Matthew Little is the clear choice as full forward. Little, winner of the Frank Johnson Medal for best VFL player last year in the State game, has been in great touch for his new club.
Last season Tory Dickson was kicking goals – 110 in fact – for Noble Park, but the former Frankston forward has re-acclimatised to VFL in a twinkling of an eye with the VFL Bombers.
What he might lack in height, Dickson makes up for in football smarts. He finds space, marks well and tellingly knows where the goals are.
Northern Bullants Ahmed Saad, one of the revelations from 2010, has been in sparkling form this season. Several AFL clubs have their eye on this excitement machine.
Down back, Port Melbourne’s Sam Pleming is clearly the most dominant defender in the competition. He’s carried over his best and fairest form from last year.
Bullants captain Adam Iacobucci, a regular State representative and Team Of The Year representative, and former Sydney Swan Matt O’Dwyer slot into the back flanks either side of Pleming.
Former North Ballarat big man Andrew McLean has been one of the revelations in an otherwise disappointing start to the season for Geelong. Collingwood’s Kris Pendlebury, elder brother of Magpie superstar Scott, and Bendigo Bomber co-captain Trent Shinners fill out the last line of defence.
And, there’s an over-load of talent on the interchange bench. Coburg Tigers’ captain Nick Carnell, one of the most consistent players in the competition, Sandringham’s James Magner, enjoying his best ever season, Bentick and Stephenson round out a formidable team.
Backs: Andrew McLean Trent Shinners Kris Pendlebury
(Geelong) (Bendigo Bombers) (Collingwood)
HB: Adam Iacobucci Sam Pleming Matt O’Dwyer
(Northern Bullants) (Port Melbourne) (Werribee Tigers)
C: James Wall Brett Johnson Nathan Batsanis
(Casey Scorpions) (Williamstown) (Port Melbourne)
HF: Ahmed Saad Tory Dickson Sam Gibson
(Northern Bullants) (Bendigo Bombers) (Box Hill Hawks)
For: Patrick Rose Matthew Little Dean Galea
(Port Melbourne) (Bendigo Bombers) (Port Melbourne)
Foll: Wayde Skipper Shane Valenti Ben Jolley
(Port Melbourne) (Port Melbourne) (Williamstown)
Int: James Magner Adam Bentick Nick Carnell Orren Stephenson
(Sandringham) (Port Melbourne) (Coburg Tigers) (North Ballarat)
So, how does your VFL team shape up? Let us know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your team and one lucky supporter will receive a VFL season pass for submitting their team.