Swans trio key in WAFL State Game v SANFL

Sunday, May 12, 2019 - 8:48 AM by Chris Pike

SWAN Districts looks set to have a strong representation in the WAFL State Team on Sunday against the SANFL at Optus Stadium with Western Australia attempting to win a seventh consecutive State Game.

The 2019 State Game will take place at Optus Stadium this Sunday from noon with the WAFL representative side take on the best of the SANFL.

The game will be held as a curtain-raiser to the AFL clash on Sunday afternoon between Fremantle and Richmond at Optus Stadium.

For those not in attendance, it will be beamed live on www.wafl.com.au and at the WAFL Facebook page. It will also be live on radio courtesy of 91.3 SportFM.

The WAFL State Team has announced a final squad of 27 players that will be trimmed to 23 in time for the start of the match on Sunday. That includes three Swan Districts players – Corey Gault, Tony Notte and George Hampson.

Gault has enjoyed a tremendous run of form with Swan Districts since returning to his original WAFL club from Collingwood.

That included him winning the Swan Medal as a ruckman in 2017 and then having another strong season in 2018 splitting his time between the ruck, centre half-forward and centre half-back.

He has again started 2019 strongly splitting his time between the ruck and playing up forward, including booting a five-goal haul in the Round 4 win against West Perth.

Notte is now a WAFL veteran of 224 games and has represented WA six times previously in a career that has included two Swan Medals, but he is showing no signs of slowing down.

He will enter the State Game fresh off being named WAFL Player of the Round this past weekend for his performance at centre half-back against Subiaco. Whether WA coach Michael Broadbridge chooses to use him forward, back or in the ruck, he knows he will always be getting plenty.

Then there is Hampson who is in his first season at Swan Districts, but is no stranger to representing the WAFL and he enters the State Game in outstanding form with the black-and-whites.

A previous fairest and best winner with both Subiaco and East Fremantle, and a premiership player with the Lions, he was an impressive signing for Swans coming into 2019 and he is delivering in spades.

Splitting time between playing on the ball and up forward, Hampson is averaging 22.6 possessions and kicking six goals over the opening five matches of the 2019 WAFL season.

Sunday's clash continues a long and storied tradition of State football between Western Australia and South Australia. The two proud footballing states have played a total of 94 times interstate football with WA moving ahead 48-46 in those battles with the victory in Adelaide last year.

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 WAFL over the past six years has cemented itself as the strongest state league football competition with the six consecutive wins, including the historic away wins against Victoria in Melbourne and then South Australia at Adelaide Oval last year.

Michael Broadbridge will be coaching the KIA WAFL State Team for a third successive season and WA's final squad of 27, which will still be trimmed to 23 by game time looks to be an exciting one.

Of those 27 players, 10 have played AFL football while a further four were on AFL lists for at least one season without managing to break through for a debut appearance.

There are four Sandover Medal winners amongst the WAFL squad with Jye Bolton from Claremont now a dual winner of WA football's most prestigious individual award having won in 2016 and 2018. Haiden Schloithe won in 2017, Aaron Black in 2014 and Kane Mitchell in 2011.

The ruck brigade for the KIA WAFL State Team will be interesting without South Fremantle's Brock Higgins. That will leave versatile pair Lachlan Delahunty and Corey Gault from Subiaco and Swan Districts respectively to likely share the duties.

But whoever is in the ruck will have a strong midfield brigade at their feet led by Kyal Horsley, Bolton, Josh Deluca, Shane Nelson, Black, Schloithe, Kade Stewart, Leigh Kitchin, Jacob Dragovich, Mitchell and Declan Mountford.

The back-line for the WAFL State Team looks strong led by Subiaco pair Angus Litherland and Jordan Lockyer along with veterans Anton Hamp and Tony Notte. The run will come from Bailey Rogers (Claremont), Hayden Kennedy (Subiaco), Jackson Ramsay (East Perth) and Michael Sinclair (Perth).

Then up forward, it's an exciting blend of individual brilliance with the likes of Perth's Michael Bennell and Peel Thunder's Gerald Ugle along with the hardness of Peel Thunder's Blair Bell and then the ability of Subiaco's Ben Sokol to play both as a small and tall target.

It is an impressive looking KIA WAFL State Team that will be representing WA on Sunday at Optus Stadium and looking for that seventh consecutive victory, but the SANFL will be no pushovers.

South Australia isn’t accustomed to losing too often in State football and while they have lost three times over the past 11 years to the WAFL, they are their only defeats in period with the Croweaters having eight of their past 11 State clashes.

The SANFL will be coached by former Port Adelaide and Fremantle AFL star Josh Carr, who led North Adelaide to the SANFL premiership as coach in 2018.

It is a strong looking South Australian squad led by captain Jack Stephens with reigning Peel Thunder fairest and best winner, and former Port Adelaide and Fremantle AFL star, Danyle Pearce the vice-captain.

The SANFL squad also includes plenty of players that might be familiar names including Troy Menzel, Dom Barry, Aidan Tropiano, Kaine Stevens, Jared Petrenko, Cameron Sutcliffe and Tanner Smith.