Cream of the crop

By Ben Lonergan (Armidale Express, 03/07/2015)
The region’s top Aussie Rules players will descend on Armidale tomorrow with the Tamworth AFL representative side gearing up to take on the North Coast.

New England Nomads’ player-coach Zac Economou has been drafted in to lead the side.

Economou’s club teammates feature heavily, with the Nomads holding 12 of the 26 places in the squad.

The Tamworth Kangaroos are next closest with six, while the Gunnedah Bulldogs had three picked, Narrabri Eagles and Inverell Saints had two apiece and the Moree Suns had just one player selected.

The TAFL representative side last played in 2013, when they went down to North Coast in a thriller.

Economou said he was thrilled with the make-up of this year’s side.

“When you pick the best players from the TAFL and put them in one side it’s always going to be a fantastic team,” he said.

“We tried to get a selection of every team.

“We also tried to pick a side that would match up well against the North Coast, so there may be some blokes in good form that missed out, but we think this side gives us the best chance to win.”

The North Coast league is renowned as one of the strongest in northern NSW and Economou knows his men will have to step up if they want to walk away with bragging rights.

“They have some fantastic footballers down there,” he said.

“It’s a very strong competition.”

Economou believes TAFL will field a strong all round side starting with the midfield of Gunnedah’s Andrew George, Narrabri’s Todd Dunn and Inverell’s Hayden Chappell.

“Those blokes really add a bit of grunt to the side,” Economou said.
“Andrew George is the reigning TAFL player of the year too.”

The forward line is dominated by Nomads including Economou himself, Weston Whitby and Dave Richards.

“Dave and Weston are in very good form,” Economou said.

Tamworth’s Brad Rees and Daniel Leon will form an imposing back-line with Nomads Tom Hunt and Zac Wells.

The match kicks off at 2pm tomorrow at Bellevue Oval.

The TAFL is on a bye.

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