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  • Writer's pictureJosh Kempton

State squad coach believe strong squad in best place to reclaim trophy

A 34 player squad for next month’s clash against South Australia at the Adelaide Oval was named on Monday, with 23 players to take the field on game day.

State coach Cam Shepherd believes that this squad will compete strongly with the SANFL in attempt to reclaim the Hayden Bunton Cup.

Shepherd told Sports Breakfast the squad reflected the strength of the WAFL competition.

“We think it’s a really good squad which is balanced between experience and some really nice young exciting players coming through,” Shepherd said. “It’s difficult to pick because there’s about eight or ten other players who are right on the edge who could clearly warrant being in a squad.

“The next challenge, of course, will be to look at the form and [health] of the team and pick a good 23 to play South Australia in just under a month.”

Subiaco skipper Leigh Kitchin has captained the state in the last two games but Shepherd said this year’s leader was yet to be decided.

“A week or so ago we brought together seven leaders who really performed well last year and are leaders at their own clubs to discuss what our purpose might be,” he said.

“Leigh was really good last year, won the medal for the game, led us so well.

“What I like to do is to reward those that have been wonderful warriors for the state. Jesse Turner was saying just the other day that our first training session that he thought it had passed him by, he’d played over 100 games and was finally rewarded.”

South Australia won the last game on their home turf by 52 points, with Shepherd saying the Croweaters would present a serious challenge.

“They haven’t picked a squad yet, and their coach Jade Rawlings has gone on record to say they probably won’t pick the squad until closer to the game,” he said.

“We know that in the past they have picked really physical, mature players who have had that experience. We like to mix ours a little bit to give young emerging talent an opportunity at that level as well.

“They’re going to be a tough combatant. We have to be really well prepared.”

SANFL rules will be observed for the clash on Friday May 19, including a last touch out of bounds free kick rule.

SQUAD: Jack Buller, Ben Edwards, Oliver Eastland, Teia Miles, Bailey Rogers, Joel Western (Claremont), Hamish Brayshaw, Mitch Crowden, Scott Jones, Angus Schumacher, Angus Scott (East Perth) Kyle Baskerville, Cam Eardley, Matthew Jupp, Jonathon Marsh, Milan Murdock (East Fremantle), Brendon Ah Chee, Tom Blechynden, Toby Mcquilkin, Jimmy Miller, Chad Pearson (South Fremantle), Zac Guadagnin, Tyler Keitel, Luke Meadows, Noah Pegoraro (West Perth), Stefan Giro, Leigh Kitchin, Taj Schofield, Ben Sokol (Subiaco), Brandon Erceg, Jesse Turner (Swan Districts), Angus Scott, Michael Sinclair (Perth), Ben Hancock (Peel Thunder), Jackson Nelson (West Coast).



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