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WAFL State Team shoots to create more historyFriday, May 11, 2018 - 12:12 PM - by Chris Pike

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PRIDE in representing West Australian football was a driving force behind coach Michael Broadbridge leading the KIA WAFL State Team to a historic win in Melbourne last year and it's no different ahead of tackling South Australia in Adelaide on Saturday.

Broadbridge, who had coached Claremont in the WAFL the previous three seasons, took over as coach of the WAFL State Team last year and led the Black Swans to a first ever victory against Victoria in Melbourne in 24 attempts.

That was a fifth straight State Game victory as well for WA following wins against the VFL in 2013, NEAFL in 2014, SANFL in 2015 and Tasmania in 2016.

He will again coach the team to try and end a drought for the Sandgropers against South Australia in Adelaide for Saturday's match at Adelaide Oval.

WA has not defeated South Australia since 1994 in Adelaide but the Black Swans have handed the Croweaters their only two defeats in their last 10 State matches – 2009 at Leederville Oval and 2015 at Lathlain Park.

Having made history last year with the win over the Big V in Melbourne, Broadbridge is looking forward to the challenge of trying to beat South Australia in Adelaide on Saturday.

"We have a group of guys committed to wearing the WA jumper, playing for Western Australia and we haven’t beaten South Australia for 25 years in their home state," Broadbridge told 91.3 SportFM.

"We take a lot of pride in this opportunity and we are representing a lot of people involved in WAFL football and domestic footy in this state, and there's a lot of responsibility that comes with that. We are very excited and motivated, and we look forward to being very competitive on Saturday."

Without question, the toughest part of any coaching job particularly of a representative team like this is trimming the numbers down to the final 23 that will play.

Broadbridge is glad that he will get to provide good news to the likes of Blaine Johnson, Brock Higgins, Gerald Ugle and Corey Gault who missed selection in 2017 while the attitudes of former AFL players Rhys Palmer, Sharrod Wellingham and Kane Mitchell has impressed him enormously.

"Last year I had to deliver some news to four or five guys that they had just missed out on the squad and those guys are going to get an opportunity this year, which I think is really exciting," he said.

"I really like the commitment shown by Rhys Palmer and Sharrod Wellingham in terms of two guys who are fresh out of the AFL, and Kane Mitchell to a certain extent as well. 

"Their commitment to the state element with Sharrod and Rhys because they have never played a senior state game for Western Australia before has been great. They have been so enthusiastic and supportive of the program and the game which just creates a great vibe for the playing group. 

"Then there are some young guys who get the opportunity to come into the squad and hopefully get to do what a Tim Kelly did last year by playing great footy against strong opposition to show the AFL system that they are ready to play."

Broadbridge and his coaching staff have left no stone unturned in preparing for the opposition they will receive from the SANFL as well both in terms of the scouting on the individual players and on the best way to play Adelaide Oval itself.

"It's not as easy as if you can just go out and watch games of footy with the opposition and get a feel for it, but we do have a lot of help with the AFL clubs' recruiting networks," he said.

"They are very forthcoming with providing us with information and vision of the players is now readily available. We are very thorough with that and we make sure the players are prepared for what they are coming up against.

"Historically with South Australia, we know culturally what style of footy they like to play in that competition and there's sort of a broad theme that we are pretty confident they will put out on the ground on Saturday. We try to prepare our players for that."

Broadbridge is also proud and more than satisfied with the coaching staff he is working with heading into the clash with South Australia at Adelaide Oval, including Steve Malaxos, Garry Moss and Beau Wardman.

"We've got Steve Malaxos who I have been fortunate enough to know for quite a few years now and he's an elder statesman now in coaching ranks I suppose, but I really value his counsel and way of looking at football," Broadbridge said.

"He provides a different perspective and has obviously coached at the highest level as an assistant in the AFL and senior coach in the WAFL. He's a great ally and he will be coaching the defence this year.

"We've got Garry Moss who is a player fresh out of playing and is coaching the East Perth colts. He gives us a bit of freshness as a recent player and with how the game is played. 

"What we like to do with our third assistant coach is recognise a colts coach who did extremely well the previous season. Last year we had Clay McLernon and this year it's Beau Wardman from Subiaco. We give that person the chance to get a different experience and hopefully grow from that."

 

 

WA State Teams travel is arranged by Lexus Travel. The WAFC's preferred travel partner.