Baldwin a bolter for State 18s opener

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Tom Baldwin during a WA State 18s trial game.
Camera IconTom Baldwin during a WA State 18s trial game. Credit: Phil Barnes Photography

Exciting prospect Tom Baldwin is a bolter to play for WA in their opening match of the National Under-18s Championships against South Australia on Sunday after impressing in two recent trial games.

Baldwin is one of four Great Southern footballers in the WA State 18s academy but the 17-year-old has rocketed into calculations for their trip to South Australia, being brought into the program after the first intake of players.

The State 18s have played two trial games in the past fortnight and Baldwin has played a strong role across half-back to help boost his prospects of selection for the first match, with the travelling squad expected to be announced by today.

Baldwin, who hails from Jerramungup and played senior football for Royals last year, will be in line to play alongside fellow Great Southern product Jordan Clark.

Clark has played multiple roles in the two trial games and is also a strong chance to line-up for WA in the match at Alberton Oval on Sunday afternoon.

Claremont talent development officer Warren Parker said Baldwin was firming to be on the plane to South Australia.

“I’m really pleased with Tom’s performances so far,” Parker said.

“Especially after missing the first intake and coming into the program a week later, he took that well and played a really good game to get the call-up.

“He’s forced their hand a bit with his performances, we certainly rate him highly but I’d say he’ll be right up there (to be selected).”

Clark played colts football with Railways before moving to Guildford Grammar.

“I’m really confident that Clarky will get the call-up,” Parker said.

“He’s been playing all over the place in the trial games.

“I’m not sure in terms of position where they are thinking with him but he’s right in the mix to play.”

The news comes after top Claremont midfielder and Great Southern product Tyron Smallwood suffered a broken jaw in the first trial match, ruling him out of at least the first two championship matches.

Smallwood and underage tall Anthony Davies from Borden are the other two local footballers in the State 18s squad.

WA face South Australia at 2pm on Sunday before returning home where they will play Vic Metro on June 19 at Optus Stadium.

Meanwhile, in the Great Southern Football League this weekend, North Albany and the Tigers will do battle in a top of the table clash on Sunday.

The Tigers are chasing six successive wins to start the season and appear set to face a near full-strength Kangas outfit at Collingwood Park.

In Saturday’s fixtures, the Lions and Mt Barker do battle at Centennial Stadium while Denmark-Walpole host Albany at McLean Park.

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