By ZAC MILBANK
The 2022 West End State team has been finalised ahead of Sunday’s battle for the Haydn Bunton Junior Cup against the WAFL in Perth.
Selectors, headed by Chairman Stephen Rowe, have settled on 23 players to tackle the Sandgropers at Optus Stadium in a curtain-raiser to the West Coast v Melbourne AFL match.
Midfielders Luke Partington (head knock) and Patrick Wilson (shoulder) have been ruled out with injury after Round 6 in the Hostplus SANFL League, as has experienced defender Max Proud, who suffered a heavy knock which limited his movement against North Adelaide.
West Adelaide’s Josh Carmichael has been rewarded for his excellent form this season, the Merbein recruit has been averaging 24 disposals at 83 per cent efficiency while also hitting the scoreboard with seven goals.
The 22-year-old will be joined in the midfield rotation by Norwood captain Matthew Nunn, South Adelaide ball magnet Mitch O’Neill and North Adelaide Magarey Medallist Campbell Combe.
Rooster Harrison Wigg is coming off a 45-disposal performance against Glenelg on Sunday while Tiger Matt Allen and Panther Hayden Sampson loom as the Croweaters’ wingmen.
Eagles giant Connor Ballenden and strongly-built Norwood ruck Harry Boyd will share the ruck duties while also spending time in attack.
Triple Ken Farmer Medallist Liam McBean will lead the way inside SA’s 50m arc while being surrounded by star Eagle Daniel Menzel and clever goalsneaks Jye Menzie and Zane Williams.
AFL-experienced pair Kaiden Brand and Sam Durdin loom as key pillars in the back half for West End State coach Jade Sheedy, who will be looking to repeat last year’s exceptional 53-point win at Adelaide Oval.
Since doing battle since 1904, SA and WA have both won 48 matches with the Croweaters aiming for three wins in a row after also claiming honours in Perth in 2019.
The SA v WA game starts at 1:30pm ACST (12pm WA time) on Sunday and will be broadcast on radio SEN SA.