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Schofield, Schloithe, Gorter and Stewart among strong WA Country side in State clash with South Australia

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Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
WA Country players Daniel Acres, Zac Trigwell and Kaidyn Fullgrabe.
Camera IconWA Country players Daniel Acres, Zac Trigwell and Kaidyn Fullgrabe. Credit: Jack Foley & Michael Bain

An experienced WA Country side is preparing to win back State footy honours as they tackle South Australia at Optus Stadium on Saturday.

A plethora of stars, including former AFL-listed players Jayden Schofield, Haiden Schloithe, Tom Gorter and Kade Stewart will play in the WA Country men’s outfit, with the game to be broadcast live, free and on demand at Streamer.com.au.

WA will be out to win back the State Country Football Cup after their 27-point loss to South Australia at Adelaide Oval last year.

The New Holland WA State Country Team was named this week after selectors used the recent Nutrien Ag Solutions Country Football Championships in Perth to finalise their 23-man squad.

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The 2022 WA Country team.
Camera IconThe 2022 WA Country team. Credit: WA Country Football League

Schloithe shot into the team after recently returning to his home club Katanning to play out the rest of 2023 and he was a dominant figure for Upper Great Southern in the championships.

A former Fremantle rookie, Schloithe will bring significant midfield firepower to the WA team in his State country debut.

Former Hawthorn player and fellow Upper Great Southern product Stewart will also debut in the team.

Ex-Subiaco midfielder Kaidyn Fullgrabe, who won the division one best-and-fairest medal, is a key inclusion along with Central Midlands Coastal star Rhys Walters.

Jerramungup-raised former Claremont defender Tom Baldwin was also selected after impressing for Narembeen this year.

Ex-Western Bulldog Schofield and former West Coast Eagle Gorter are among a host of names that return from last year’s State team.

Central Wheatbelt’s Daniel Acres has been named captain of WA for the second straight year while Gorter is vice-captain.

Coach Kane Benson said off-field support was a key decision-maker when selecting his leadership team, noting each player needed to relate to the different age groups playing in the side.

“They have all played State football previously and have shown amazing leadership in previous games,” Benson said.

“The leadership team are outstanding players across the three different lines on the footy field.

“All three will help make changes on the run if needed, and more importantly they will give 100 per cent at every contest which will attract the other players to follow.”

Goldfields' Jake Nuich.
Camera IconGoldfields' Jake Nuich. Credit: Michael Bain

Along with Acres, Gorter and Schofield, Luke Bairstow (Lake Grace-Pingrup), Simon Panizza (Williams), Zac Trigwell (Donnybrook), Bailey Taylor (Boulder City), Jake Nuich (Boulder City) and Guy Langdon (Dampier) return to represent WA.

Bairstow was again superb for Ongerup in their winless campaign in division one earlier this month.

There are players from 10 different regions in the WA team.

“We’ve chosen broadly across the leagues with the inclusion of some new players along with half who are backing up from last year,” Benson said.

Division two champions Goldfields have the biggest representation with six while division one runners-up South West have four.

Avon, who won a breakthrough division one title, have three players selected and Upper Great Southern also have three.

The State game will be played as a curtain-raiser to the AFL clash between Fremantle and Sydney at Optus Stadium with bouncedown at 2.50pm.

WA State Country Men’s Team

1. Dylan Clarke (Goldfields/Kalgoorlie City)

2. Kade Stewart (Upper Great Southern/Katanning Wanderers)

3. Kim Schofield (Great Northern/Brigades)

4. Rhys Waters (Central Midlands Coastal/Jurien Bay)

5. Jacob Green (Central Midlands Coastal/Cervantes)

6. Luke Bairstow (Ongerup/Lake Grace-Pingrup)

7. Daniel Acres (Central Wheatbelt/Kalannie)

8. Jordan Delbridge (Goldfields/Mines Rovers)

9. Kaidyn Fullgrabe (Avon/Cunderdin)

10. Jayden Schofield (Great Northern/Brigades)

11. Mitch Tenardi (South West/Busselton)

12. Simon Panizza (Upper Great Southern/Williams)

13. Haiden Schloithe (Upper Great Southern/Katanning Wanderers)

14. Thomas Baldwin (Eastern Districts/Narembeen)

15. Zac Trigwell (South West/Donnybrook)

16. Tom Gorter (South West/South Bunbury)

17. Bailey Taylor (Goldfields/Boulder City)

18. Jake Nuich (Goldfields/Boulder City)

19. Zac Pethybridge (South West/Busselton)

20. Guy Langdon (North Pilbara/Dampier)

21. Ben Boultbee (Avon/York)

22. Tom Gillett (Goldfields/Boulder City)

23. Jake Dowding (Avon/Kellerberrin-Tammin)

Coach: Kane Benson

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