Underdogs but not lambs
From Launceston Examiner
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STATE coach Adam Sanders admits his Tasmanian team will be the underdog against the VFL in their representative clash at Bellerive Oval tomorrow but rejected suggestions they will be lambs to the slaughter.
A selection policy focused on youth has meant some of the state's best and most experienced players have been overlooked for the game - critics suggesting the state team faces a humiliating defeat.
``We'll be the underdogs, there will be no doubt about that,'' Sanders said.
``But if we go in with the mindset that we want to compete and compete hard on our own turf wearing the Tassie jumper . . .
``If we stick to some structures we've put in place and play with some real proactiveness . . . we're certainly not going in there as lambs to the slaughter - we're going in there to really compete and as always, I believe, the result will take care of itself.''
Sanders again defended team selection saying it was impossible to please everyone when picking a team whether at club or state level.
``Certainly we're happy with what we've picked and we've been able to see some improvement while players have been picked - Bart McCullochs and guys like this are actually playing better football from being involved,'' he said.
``We're quite happy with what we've got and the players are in good form so we're looking forward to it.''
He said the representative game was another opportunity for the state's best young talent to show their wares and compete against some really good VFL players.
``We've probably got an advantage in real height with players like (Jason) Laycock and (Ben) Brown and (Bart) McCulloch in the squad,'' he said.
``But they have certainly chocked their squad full of strong midfield types.''
Launceston captain Scott Stephens and Clarence's Brady Jones have recovered from injury concerns and are expected to play.
AFL Tasmania general manager Shaun Young said picking a state team was not just about 2012.
``It's about the long-term journey of the six-year program so we're comfortable we've got the criteria and the policy right,'' he said.