FIVE YOUNGSTERS IN STATE OPEN SQUAD FOR TASSIE IN

Youngsters Andrew Browning, Damien Bonney, Grae Grant, Daniel Stewart and Austin Lucy have an each-way bet going after the State selectors today named Open and U21 squads for eagerly-awaited representative matches next month.

Morningside's Browning and Bonney, Mt.Gravatt's Grant, Labrador's Stewart and Zillmere's Lucy were named in a 32-man State Open squad from which the side the side to meet Tasmania in Launceston on 9 June under coach Jason Cotter will be selected.

But if they miss the final cut there they will be eligible to drop back the U21 side that will play the Victorian Amateur U19s under coach John Blair in Melbourne on 10 June.

It is a wonderful achievement for 18-year-old running defender Bonney, who missed a spot in the State U18 side last year.

Teenagers Bonney, Grant, Stewart were included in the Open squad after winning an early nomination for the NAB AFLQ Rising Star Award, while ruckman/key forward Browning has stepped up after he captained the Queensland U21's to a win over the VAFA U19's last year.

For small forward Grant and key forward Stewart it is an early vindication of a move to Queensland to further their football careers.

Grant, a 2004 member of the AIS/AFL Academy squad, headed east from Perth after missing last year's WA U18 side, while Stewart, who played last year with the Eastern Ranges in the TAC Cup, headed north in the hope of attracting draft attention.

Lucy, a 2005 All-Australian U18 defender chosen at No.66 in the 2005 NAB AFL national draft before being de-listed last October, has bounced back wonderfully well and been a fine player up forward for the Eagles.

Marty King, chairman of a State selection panel that included coaches Cotter and Blair, State U21 assistant coach Murray Davis and selector Shane Johnson, described the Open squad as "a pretty strong unit".

"It's been picked pretty much solely on form and mindful of the fact that we'll be playing Tasmania at 5.30pm on a Saturday night in Launceston, when the odds are the ball will be on the ground a fair bit," he said.

"We've played four years in a row against ACT and now we're stepping up a couple of notches to play Tasmania. That's going to require a special effort so form had to be the primary criteria and I don't think you can say anyone in the squad isn't in cherry ripe form."

Former AFL pair Aaron Shattock (Labrador) and Shane Morrison (Mt.Gravatt) are among 13 inclusions, including the five youngsters, who will add welcome experience to the group.

Morningside rover Haydn Wilson, co-captain of the State U21 side in 2005 with Sam Gilbert, now at St.Kilda, has won his first State Open spot along with Southport tagging stalwart Adam Devine and Mt.Gravatt's Brock Turton, a Queensland Country representative last year.

Likewise Zillmere key defender Al Rogers, a walk-in recruit this year formerly from VFL club Werribee, and Redland's Phil Carse and Michael Thompson.

Midfielder Carse, recruited from Box Hill in the VFL, has impressed in the early rounds of the Velocity Sports Cup and had a timely good game against the Suncoast Lions yesterday.

Key forward Thompson, son of former Queensland player Hedley Thompson, has made the most of his second move to the Bombers. He moved north last year but returned home to Hobart early in the season.

The strong-marking Stewart, who has missed the past two games with a shoulder problem, was included subject to fitness along with Mt.Gravatt midfielder Ash Evans, who has been out for a similar period with a hip-flexor complaint.

According to King, both are expected to resume next week to prove their fitness.

Not considered due to injury after strong early season form had him right in the mix was Zillmere key forward Dan Flaherty. King said he hadn't been discounted totally but the likelihood of him playing next week were slim which made it difficult to justify a spot for him.

Morningside's Justin Wilson, a State team stalwart in recent years, faces an anxious wait after he was reported on an alleged striking charge in yesterday's AFLQ clash with Southport.

There is representation for seven of the eight AFLQ clubs but selectors couldn't find room for any of the Suncoast Lions' rookie list players, who were eligible for inclusion if they hadn't played AFL football.

Morningside headed the list with eight representatives, followed by Mt.Gravatt (7), Southport (6), Broadbeach, Labrador and Zillmere (3) and Redland (2).

Broadbeach's long-time goal-kicking ace Korey Fulton was preferred to Southport's Ben McEntee among the specialist full forwards, with Thompson the other option to play that role.

Missing from the side that beat ACT in Canberra last June were Julian Silvester (retired), Luke Crane (moved to SA), Luke Weller (moved to WA), Ty Zantuck (moved to Victoria), Shaun Mugavin (playing at Aspley), Matt Dillon (injured indefinitely) and two players not selected - Will Hamill and Rory Lake.

The Queensland Open squad is:-
Broadbeach: James Drake, Korey Fulton, David Round. Labrador: Russell Alleway, Aaron Shattock, Daniel Stewart. Morningside: Kent Abey, Damien Bonney, Andrew Browning, Jacob Gough, David Lillico, Tom Tarrant, Hayden Wilson, Justin Wilson. Mt.Gravatt: Ash Evans, Grae Grant, Shane Morrison, Mick Stinear, Brock Turton, Josh Vearing, Darryl White. Redland: Phil Carse, Michael Thompson. Southport: Adam Devine, Daniel Hawkins, David James, Darren O'Brien, Clint Watts, Daniel Wise. Zillmere Eagles: Austin Lucy, Matt Payne, Alistair Rogers.

Morningside's Tim Brown, younger brother of Lions co-captain Jonathan Brown and new to the AFLQ competition this year from the Geelong Falcons, and Southport's Ben Merrett, son of ex-Brisbane Bears captain Roger Merrett, and Mick Hamill, younger brother of Lions rookie Will Hamill, are among 30 players named in the U21 squad. Also, Zillmere's impressive ruckman Brendan Forbes is the son of ex-Sandgate and State fullback Willie Forbes.

The Queensland U21 squad is:
Broadbeach: Mitch Andrews, Jesse Derrick, Sam Edwards, Andrew McConnell, Matt Spencer. Labrador: Matthew Clarke, Sam Folan. Morningside: Tim Brown, Nathan Kinch, Jack Lawler, Mark Rootsey. Mt.Gravatt: Rohan Bail, Daniel Fletcher, Michael Hamill, Nate Roffey, Andrew Scott. Redland: Adam Mueller. Southport: Jason Burge, Dane Eaton, Dane Grant, Mark Lynch, Ben Merrett, Fraser Pope, Glenn Screech, Tauryan Zimmer. Zillmere Eagles: Matt Argus, Brendan Forbes, Nikos Kiem, Shaun Tapp, Miles Trew.


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