Stephens on target for clash
From Launceston Examiner
Reported by Alex Fair
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LAUNCESTON skipper Scott Stephens has declared himself a 90 per cent chance of fronting up for Tasmania against the VFL on Saturday.
Stephens joined the Blues' ever-increasing injury list on Saturday night against Clarence when he suffered a foot injury.
``I got a kick to the inside of my foot where the arch is and it's inflamed and bruised, but it's responded really well to treatment in the last couple of days, so I'm extremely confident I'll be fine,'' Stephens said yesterday.
``I'll have a light couple of days and then train on Wednesday night and we should be good to go, as it feels pretty good at the moment.''
Stephens, who will add some much needed experience to a youth-laden Tasmanian side, said taking on the powerhouse VFL side would be an exciting opportunity.
``Not only for myself, but some of the younger guys as well,'' Stephens said.
``It will be good to play alongside them, and they should be able to make a good account of themselves.''
Tasmanian selectors yesterday released the final 26-man squad for Saturday's Bellerive Oval clash, with Clarence's Trent Standen and Glenorchy's Clinton French added from outside the original 37-man squad.
Stephens has been joined by Blues teammates Jordan Harris and Josh Woolley, while four Bulldogs (Bart McCulloch, Jay Blackberry, Michael Musicka and Chris Taylor) make South Launceston the best represented Launceston club.
``It will be a big challenge as along with the SANFL they are the premier league,'' McCulloch said yesterday.
``Tassie will go into it and try to put our best foot forward and be competitive, but the training standard has been exceptional, high intensity and good skill levels.
``It will be a tough match, but Tasmania does have some real talent in the team.''
Former Bulldog Dylan Riley is North Launceston's sole representative.
Coach Adam Sanders said Standen was brought in to add a bit more run, while French was in line to play on one of the VFL's dangerous small forwards.
``But we've kept the three big ruckmen-forwards (McCulloch, Burnie's Jason Laycock and Glenorchy's Ben Brown) in the squad, so depending on conditions we think the three will be able to play,'' Sanders said.
``We believe they can play as key forwards as well as ruckmen, and with everyone else in good form. Hopefully the make-up of the side will be nice and strong.''
As well as Stephens, Clarence's Brady Jones (AC joint) and Riley (groin) will have to be managed through the week.
Sanders said the final 22 wouldn't be announced until later in the week, with the captain set to be announced tomorrow.