Freo discard’s second chance
Dumped Fremantle forward Joel Houghton will play in an under-23s exhibition game at Patersons Stadium tomorrow in an attempt to get re-drafted.
The WAFL had enormous success with the concept last year, with eight players recruited by AFL clubs, including Fremantle’s Tendai Mzungu who was selected as an overage player.
WAFC high performance mana-ger Craig Starcevich bumped into Houghton at Brownes Stadium this week and the key forward asked if he could play.
“He approached us,” Starcevich said. “He was in the gym and just came over and asked for a game.
“He wants to take this opportunity to show the recruiters that he’s still around and could be on an AFL list.”
Injuries plagued Houghton’s season and he managed just eight games for Perth. He’ll join former St Kilda rookie and current West Perth midfielder Mark Hutchings as the former AFL players in the game.
Hutchings enjoyed a fantastic season for the Falcons and polled 21 votes in the Sandover Medal.
South Fremantle forward Cory Dell’Olio, who represented WA this year, is the oldest player in the match. He will turn 22 in December.
East Fremantle trio Max Duffy, Justin Monaco and Chad Sandilands will attract attention.
Monaco, who was surprisingly overlooked in last year’s draft, kicked 40 goals from 16 reserves games as a centre half-forward this season.
Duffy controversially walked out on Perth after clashing with then colts coach Damien McMahon last year. A member of the AFL Academy in 2010, he missed selection in WA’s under-18s this year but has freakish skills and can turn a game.
Sandilands is the 204cm brother of Fremantle ruckman Aaron and is eligible for this year’s draft.
The game will be played after the colts grand final between South Fremantle and Claremont.
AFL recruiters will be closely monitoring the grand final, with exciting youngsters Marley Williams, Shannon Taylor, Myles Bolger, Shane Kersten and Haiden Schloithe all playing.
The exhibition game will provide guaranteed entertainment. Last year, Swan Districts forward Isiah Stevens earned himself a place on Greater Western Sydney’s rookie list after taking one of the marks of the year.
“They’ll just go out and play to show what they can do,” Starcevich said. “They’ll defend when they have to, but when they get the chance to do something they’ll be encouraged to go hard.
“We’re trying to flush out anyone who isn’t playing in a grand final who has been nominated for the draft combines, picked in the State 18s, State 20s or colts team of the year.”
He wants to take this opportunity to show the recruiters that he’s still around and could be on an AFL list.” Craig Starcevich.