Are AFL listed players eligible for selection?
- only rookies, but only one has been selected for the VFL.
It's also not under SOO eligibility rules, despite the opening and closing paragraphs of todays Age report -
No Big V to tackle the best of WA
Sean Cusick (Age)
May 26, 2007
THE Big V makes a timely return today, as the best players from the VFL tackle the West Australian Football League's finest in a representative clash. As the National Rugby League's state-of-origin juggernaut rolls on, some AFL superstars including Jonathan Brown and Matthew Pavlich have thrown their support behind an origin relaunch. In the meantime, like-minded footy fans have their chance to send a message by supporting today's match at Port Melbourne.
In what promises to be an intriguing contest, the Black Swans arrived in Melbourne this week looking to square the ledger after the Vics knocked them over by 11 points in their previous encounter in Perth in 2004.
Brownlow medallist Shane Woewodin returns to play his first match in Melbourne since August 2005, as captain of the WA team. After publicly venting his disappointment at the conclusion to his 200-game career, the former Demon and Magpie returned to his roots at East Fremantle in a stellar season last year. The WAFL side has lost two of its most recognisable stars to injury in Jarrad Schofield (foot) and Daniel Bandy (hamstring). But the Black Swans have another seven former AFL players at their disposal — Troy Longmuir, Jaxon Crabb, Adam Hay, Todd Holmes, Daniel Hayes and brothers Chad and Anthony Jones.
Victoria has selected a powerful balance of youth and experience. Geelong captain James Byrne, the ultimate journeyman who has also represented WA and South Australia in the past
, will lead the Vics. Recent AFL players Jason Cloke (Collingwood), Tristan Cartledge (Essendon) and David Spriggs (Sydney) all will be pulling on the Big V, as will Geelong rookie Jason Davenport. Victoria, and Sandringham, coach Mark Williams believes the tight confines of TEAC Oval will give a compelling advantage to his team. "It'll definitely suit us, we're used to playing contested footy with a lot of stoppages. We're looking to play man-on-man footy, and hopefully our bigger bodies should give us the edge."
WA coach Ashley Prescott admitted that his team will have to adapt to the congested spaces and alter its open style. "There's no doubt that the grounds at home are bigger," the former Richmond and Fremantle midfielder said. "However, I don't think it's a big factor. We've reduced the size of the ground for our training drills, and we know we won't have to carry the ball as much through the midfield in order to drive it deep inside 50."
Prescott, who grew up in Mount Waverley and admitted that he'd never imagined he would coach WA, conceded that the WAFL talent pool was not as deep as Victoria's
. "I think we'd be kidding ourselves to say that our competition as a whole would be stronger," Prescott said. "We're very small with nine teams, compared to the VFL's 13. However, as a state, we've got a lot of pride and these blokes are dying to represent the jumper. They will give themselves every chance to beat Victoria."
Williams vouches that there is no shortage of enthusiasm among the Big V. "The players we've picked are all really passionate about the competition and raring to go. Obviously, it's an opportunity for VFL players to play at the highest standard. Also, for players who have been dropped off AFL lists or young guys who aspire to be drafted, it's a stage to show the AFL recruiters what they've got."
A healthy crowd and fierce contest may not only provide the winning state with bragging rights, but perhaps place AFL state-of-origin football back on the agenda.