The West Australian Country Football League has named arguably its strongest state country side in the last decade as they brace for a clash with South Australia at Fremantle Community Bank Oval this Saturday.
Below is a close look at each player set to don the black and gold for the match.
1 – Mitch Boyle (Railways Football Club, GNFL)
Back at Railways in the Great Northern Football League after amassing 84 league games and 43 reserves games for East Fremantle. Represented the WAFL club in the Foxtel Cup in 2013 and brings a wealth of experience to the squad.
2 – Joel Leeson (Dalwallinu Football and Hockey Club, MFL)
Dongara product with plenty of experience at higher levels on the back of 66 league games with West Perth and Perth. Averaged 16 disposals and booted 74 goals in his time at the WAFL’s league tier, and could provide a strong forward option for the Black Swans.
4 – Andrew Haydon (South Mandurah Football Club, PFNL)
Been in dazzling form at the local level for South Mandurah and won the Jock Coleman medal for division one best and fairest at the Landmark Country Football Championships. Debuted for Peel Thunder’s league side last season playing 14 games. Plays with a dominant midfield presence and great skills.
5 – Eddie Dann (Baldivis Football Club, PFNL)
Been a big part of Baldivis stringing together five straight wins in the Peel Football and Netball League with his handy goal presence. Has 29 majors from 13 games at the local level this season, and has plenty of WAFL experience having played 42 league games for Peel Thunder. Will be a scoring option for Western Australia.
6 – Matt Orzel, (North Albany Football and Sporting Club, GSFL)
Back at his local club now after 11 years split between Claremont and Peel Thunder, Orzel played a total 155 league games in the WAFL. He was Peel Thunder’s runner-up best and fairest in 2012 and knows his way around the goals having notched 110 in his WAFL tenure. Could provide a versatile option for WA.
7 – Steven Payne, (AMR Hawks Football and Netball Club, SWFL)
Recruited to East Perth from Augusta-Margaret River in 2011, he fast became a fan favourite for the Royals, winning the club’s 2014 fairest and best award. He recently retired from the WAFL after 109 games and has returned to the Hawks, where he has shown age is no barrier to success.
8 – Scott Worthington (C), (Boulder City Football Club, GFL)
Will captain the side after starring for Goldfields in division two at the Landmark Country Football Championships, picking up his second straight best and fairest. Brings midfield dominance to the side and should lead from the front. Premiership player with Subiaco in the WAFL, where he totalled 78 league games.
9 – Courtney Lakay (Waroona Football and Netball Club, PFNL)
Another player in sparkling form in the Peel league, playing a major role in Waroona’s midfield. Lakay was also prolific at the Landmark carnival, co-captaining the Peel Cavaliers to a second straight flag and taking best on ground honours in the grand final against the South West. Major ball winner with clean skills, works well around the forward 50m arch too.
10 – Josh Bootsma, (Katanning Wanderers Football Club, UGSFL)
Back in country footy after time at both the AFL and WAFL level. Played 14 games with the Carlton Football Club before winning a premiership with Peel Thunder in 2016. Decided to step away from WAFL this year to Katanning’s benefit. Solid as a rock in defence and should hold down a key position for WA.
11 – Simon Moore, (Jurien Bay Football Club, CMCFL)
Very impressive in a flag-winning Central Midlands Coastal side at the Landmark carnival, taking out best on ground honours and booting a goal. Played 53 league, 47 reserves and 21 colts games for Subiaco and can play a number of positions across the ground.
12 – Michael Russell, (Eaton Boomers, SWFL)
Eaton’s Michael Russell was recruited by South Fremantle in 2013 and across two seasons, he played 25 games in the Bulldogs reserves side. Returning to the Boomers, he has proved strong in defence alongside Will Oelsnik and he can take a stunning overhead mark when the pack flies.
13 – Lewis Harvey (VC), (Cervantes Tiger Sharks, CMCFL)
Spent time at both West Perth and South Fremantle in the WAFL, tallying 23 league and 60 reserves games. Effective with the ball in hand, should be damaging for WA.
14 – Matthew Buxton (Centrals Football Club, PFNL)
A dour defender who has hit some form for Centrals locally. Played just eight of 13 games in the PFNL season so far, but has played a key role in his side occupying top of the ladder for the majority. Shone for Peel at the Landmark carnival.
15 – Will Oelsnik, (Eaton Boomers, SWFL)
After a short career with Peel Thunder, Will Oelsnik became a two time South West Football League premiership player with Eaton and regularly captains the SWFL Landmark Country Football Championship side. He loves to roam across half back, racking up interception marks. His flowing red locks also make him easy to spot on the field.
16 – Arron Russell, (Wongan-Ballidu Football Club, MFL)
Came second to Scott Worthington for WA’s Country Footballer of the Year award in 2016, the same year that saw him boot five goals in a winning division two grand final for Mortlock at Landmark. Played 14 reserves games with West Perth.
17 – Greg Broughton, (Toodyay Football Club, MFL)
Greg Broughton has played 109 AFL games for both Fremantle and the Gold Coast Suns along with a number of years at Subiaco in the WAFL. Broughton retired from the WAFL at the start of 2017 as a three times premiership player and former club best and fairest. Described by many as ‘naturally gifted’, Broughton will be a force to reckon with in the backline.
18 – Blake Borrett, (York Football Club, AFA)
Blake Borrett is the only member of this side from the Avon Football Association and boy, did he impress at the recent Landmark championships. While his side were left wanting, Borrett had the ball on a string and plenty of time to use it. Prior to joining York, Borrett played 84 games across Colts, Reserves and League for WAFL side Perth Demons.
19 – Brett Peake, (Bunbury Football Club, SWFL)
Brett Peake is a former AFL player who racked up 118 games combined for both St Kilda and Fremantle. He also spent considerable time playing for East Fremantle, as his legendary father Brian Peake did before him. Signing on with the Bunbury Bulldogs in 2017, Peake has slotted well into their forward line and has showed he still has plenty to contribute.
21 – David Johnston, (Wagin Football Club, UGSFL)
Originally from South Bunbury, David Johnston made his debut for Perth in the WAFL in 2011. Since then he has played 79 games across League and Reserves before signing on to play for Wagin in the Upper Great Southern Football League
22 – Joel Houghton, (Collie Eagles Football Club, SWFL)
Tall forward Joel Houghton made his WAFL debut in 2010 and has played 93 games across League and Reserves for Swan Districts. In 2016 he shone in the Peel Football and Netball League before defecting to the Collie Eagles in the South West Football League for season 2017. He leads the SWFL goalkicking competition with 37 majors and has been an integral part of Collie’s new-found success.
25 – Rhys Waters, (Jurien Bay Football Club, CMCFL)
Rhys Waters is no stranger to representing WA, having played in the state 16s and 18s sides. He was then recruited to Subiaco in the WAFL where he won a premiership medal and kicked 75 goals in 67 games. Now playing for Jurien Bay, Waters was also a member of the successful Division 2 Central Midlands Coastal side at the recent Landmark competition.
27 – Dylan Ross, (Wickepin Football Club, UGSFL)
Former state academy player Dylan Ross spent nine years in the WAFL with South Fremantle and Claremont where he racked up 127 games across League and Reserves. Standing at 190 centimetres tall, Ross has recently been using his height to shine as a defender in the Upper Great Southern Football League for Wickepin.
Tyson Phillips (Halls Head Football and Netball Club, PFNL)
Been a shining light for a struggling Halls Head side in the Peel league this season. Versatile player with good movement and marking ability. Has played 11 games so far in the season, finding his way into the best players seven times.
Matt Dickie, (Tigers Football and Sporting Club Newman, NNFL)
Matt Dickie played for WA against SA in this same clash last year and has booted 26 goals for the Newman Tigers this season in just six games.
Jordan McAllister, (Ravensthorpe Tigers, RDFA)
Gibson football product Jordan McAllister played five seasons with Claremont Football Club in the WAFL before moving back to his family’s farm in Ravensthorpe. In 2016, the midfielder won the Hepburn Medal as the best and fairest player in the Esperance District Football Association
Jayden Magro, (Jurien Bay Football Club, CMCFL)
Been in strong form for an unbeaten Jurien Bay side this year and helped the Central Midlands Coastal Football League to a division two flag at Landmark. Was also named to the all-stars team at the Landmark champs.
Karl Zis, (Rover Football Club, GNFL)
Key part of a Rovers side sitting fourth on the Great Northern Football League ladder. Has 12 goals from his eight games, which includes two games where he booted bags of five on consecutive weeks.