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AFL football has produced countless stories of players being drafted from obscure places- from talented youngsters playing in remote country outposts to mature-age recruits who just needed a lucky break.

Since the advent of the TAC Cup and the AFL National Draft, fewer players slip through the cracks, but the VFL’s annual North Vs South Under-23 Representative match gives promising players another chance to launch an AFL career.

This year’s match will be played as a curtain raiser to the Victoria vs. Western Australian state representative game at TEAC Oval, Port Melbourne, commencing at 10.30am.

North Squad

Bendigo Bombers  Simon Plummer

Calder Cannons Peter Robertson

Coburg Tigers Ryan Anderson Myles Sewell Nick Lynch Jason Morgan

Geelong Drew Barnes Shane Mumford

Murray Bushrangers James Saker

North Ballarat Lachlan George Justin Hardy

Northern Bullants Paul Colbert Adam Iacobucci

Werribee Sam Wormald Jak Kennedy-Hunt Andrew Ericksen Michael Rockefeller

Western Jets Steven Morris

Williamstown Cameron Lockwood Scott Meyer Patrick Rose Liam Picken * Dean Limbach *

South Squad

Box Hill Hawks Kris Shore Evan Johnson

Casey Scorpions Matthew Rosier Stefan Garrubba Kyle Mathews

Frankston Paul Rebeschini Mathew Burns Trent Shinners Dale Whelan

Gippsland Power Luke Webber

Port Melbourne Dean Kelly Julian Rowe Robin Nahas * Tom Langford Adrian Bonaddio

Sandringham Rennie Gilchrist Stefan Martin Tomi Johnston

Sandringham Dragons John Shaw Dean Scheetz

Tasmania Sam Carins Brodie Moles Sam Whish-Wilson

* Subject to selection in the VFL State Team

TAC Cup 19 Year Old Players

AFL Victoria have determined that TAC Cup 19 year old players should be available for selection in the Under 23 match to assist their assessment by AFL club recruiters. The Under 23 selectors have selected 3 such players in each of the North and South teams. AFL Victoria talent program staff, David Code and Leon Harris, provided recommendations regarding the TAC Cup 19 year old players to the Under 23 match selectors for consideration.

Pickett banned for missing match

From Herald Sun

MELBOURNE has imposed a one-game suspension on Byron Pickett after he failed to attend the club's match against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday.

Pickett was an emergency for the game against the Bulldogs, but has admitted to Melbourne he drank alcohol the night before the game.

He has been ruled out of selection for both Melbourne and its VFL affiliate Sandringham this weekend, and has been told he will not be considered for senior selection for the next four weeks.

"The football department, in consultation with the senior leadership group, have requested Byron to consider his future during this week," Melbourne said in a statement.

"If Byron decides to continue his future with the Melbourne Football Club, he will be required to play with Sandringham Football Club for at least four weeks, and will not be considered for AFL selection in that time period.

Bombers captain in Victorian squad

From Bendigo Advertiser

METRICON Bendigo Bombers skipper Simon Rosa has been selected in a 39-man Victorian Football League squad to play Western Australia on May 26.

Rosa and star recruit Jason Cloke are the only two Bendigo players to make the training squad.

Rosa was rewarded for his consistent start to the season with the Bombers.

'‘It's a bit of a surprise," Rosa said after only hearing of his inclusion in the squad when contacted by The Advertiser yesterday.

‘‘It's not something I set as a goal or anything, but when something like this comes along it's nice to be picked.

‘‘If I'm lucky enough to make the final team it will be a great honour to represent the VFL." The squad will have its first training run tonight, but Rosa is unlikely to train after suffering a corked quadricep in Sunday's loss to Geelong.

‘‘I'm a bit sore, but I think I'll be right for this weekend's game (against Frankston)," Rosa said.

The VFL has named a powerful squad that includes a number of former AFL players.

Battle in the big league

From The Mercury
Reported by Brett Stubbs

THE biggest issue facing the Devils was the gap between the level of local competitions and the standard of VFL football, AFL Tasmania general manager Scott Wade said yesterday.

Wade has called a meeting of AFL Tasmania's football department and the Devils' coaching staff tonight after the Devils' pitiful 114-point away loss to Werribee on Saturday -- their fifth loss in a row.

"Is the structure of football in Tasmania supporting the Devils?" Wade said.

"The message to the football-loving public of Tasmania is that the gap between the SFL and the NTFL and the VFL is enormous.

"We have got some players who have come back into the VFL competition after performing exceptionally well in local footy who are realising it is a big jump, but they will persevere and get there in the end."

Victorian State Squad Announced

The Victorian Football League today announced an initial 39 man squad for the upcoming Representative Match vs. Western Australia on Saturday 26th May, 2007 at TEAC Oval, Port Melbourne.

Bendigo Bombers (2) Jason Cloke * Simon Rosa *

Box Hill Hawks (4) Matthew Ball * Sam Gibson * Kristan Height * Nick Smith *

Coburg Tigers (2) Alistair Neville * Travis Ronaldson *

Frankston (2) Justin Berry # Ashley Eames *

Geelong (4) James Byrne ^ Jason Davenport * Todd Grima * Phil Read *

North Ballarat (1) Tristan Cartledge *

Northern Bullants (2) Justin Crow # Josh Houlihan *

Port Melbourne (7) John Baird * Tim Hazell * Luke Livingston * Robin Nahas * Chris Obst ^ David Robbins ^ David Spriggs *

Sandringham (6) Andrew Biddlecombe * Rod Crowe # Ezra Poyas * Nick Sautner ^ Peter Summers * Shane Valenti *

Tasmania (1) Ken Hall #

Werribee (3) Robert Castello * Dominic Gleeson * James Podsiadly #

Williamstown (5) Steven Greene * Brett Johnson * Dean Limbach * Liam Picken * Andrew Williams *

* - Player has not represented Victoria before (30)
# - Player represented Victoria in the last State Game against South Australia in 2005 (5)
^ - Player has previously represented Victoria (4)
From The West Australian
Reported by Ross Lewis

WA selectors will consider more additions to the squad preparing for the May 26 interstate clash with the VFL due to doubts over the fitness of Daniel Bandy.
The former Fremantle and Western Bulldogs ruckman missed Claremont’s 22.15 (147) to 10.14 (74) win over Swan Districts at Claremont Oval on Saturday due to a hamstring complaint.
But WA coach Ashley Prescott, also at the helm of the Tigers, indicated Bandy might be worth the risk of playing for the Black Swans even if the 31-year-old was again unfit to play against East Fremantle on Saturday.
But there was brighter news for former Fremantle squad member Michael Warren, who also missed the triumph over Swans.

Headache for Devils coach

From The Mercury
Reported by Brett Stubbs

THE unique vagaries faced in leading the Devils are having a detrimental effect on coach Daryn Cresswell's game plan.

In the wake of the Devils' horrible 114-point thrashing at the hands of Werribee on Saturday, Cresswell said the "whole state" approach was causing headaches with his run-at-all-costs blueprint.

While Cresswell's predecessor Mathew Armstrong believed in the centralised system -- getting the majority of his team based in Hobart so the players could constantly train together -- Cresswell wanted to open the Devils up to the entire state by having regional training squads in the South, North and North-West.

This brought in an influx of players from northern Tasmania, but it has not brought results, with the Devils losing their past five games and sitting above last place by percentage only.

"It is pretty hard because obviously with the three regions I am finding it pretty difficult to deal with and it makes it very hard," Cresswell said.

From Geelong Advertiser
Reported by Michael Auciello

THEY say actions speak louder than words.

Yesterday, Steven King was the equivalent of a man making an impassioned speech to say he's not done yet.

The former Geelong captain did everything he was sent back to the VFL to do.

Coach Mark Thompson wanted him to just compete, without fear that any part of his body would break down again.

When he went to full forward in the first quarter, King pulled in two towering overhead marks in the goalsquare.

In the second, he drifted down back to fill any gaps in the Bendigo Bombers' forward line and put his body on the line.

At the start of the third quarter, he'd contest the centre bounce and then sprint straight to the forward line.

His inspired tackle on Simon Rosa late in the term said a lot.

 In between all his work around the ground, he and developing ruckman Trent West controlled the middle.

King finished with four goals in the Cats' 32-point win at Skilled Stadium.