WAFL State Game Preview v SANFL

Friday, May 11, 2018 - 1:10 PM by Chris Pike

SWAN Districts will be strongly represented as part of the KIA WAFL State Team this Saturday against South Australia at Adelaide Oval.

Swan Districts trio Tony Notte, Rhys Palmer and Corey Gault have all made the final team as WA heads to Adelaide to take on the SANFL attempting to win in the City of Churches for the first time since 1994.

Notte, now a 207-game WAFL veteran with Swan Districts and co-captain and fairest and best winner, will be playing for his state for a fourth time while it will be a senior state debut for both Palmer and Gault.

Gault returned to Swan Districts last year following five years in the AFL system with Collingwood. He had an outstanding 2017 season winning the Swan Medal as the ruckman and being named in the WAFL Team of the Year as the starting ruckman.

Palmer is also in his first season with Swan Districts following a 123-game AFL career at Fremantle, Greater Western Sydney and Carlton.

He has been in outstanding form to start 2018 with the black-and-whites and he is excited to play his first game representing the WAFL on Saturday.

Adelaide Oval is a ground Palmer has fond memories of too kicking a career-best five goals in Round 20, 2015 against Port Adelaide. He also has good recollections of winning a National 18s Championship with WA in 2007.

"I have a good record at Adelaide Oval actually. I kicked five there one day so hopefully I can emulate on the weekend. Just to run around with some of these boys will be a highlight of my career," Palmer said.

"I can only look back on when I played under-18s for WA and that was such a memorable time for myself obviously coming through the ranks.

"We were the first team to win it for a long time and we went through the carnival undefeated. It was obviously such an honour to not only play for WA but to take out the title.

"To get the opportunity again with the class that we've got at the moment is something I'm going to grab with two hands and put my best foot forward."

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 four players from West Perth (Luke Meadows, Andrew Strijk, Black and Shane Nelson), 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.




Adelaide Oval, Saturday 11.40am (WST)