Duo bolster North
TOWNSVILLE n e wc o mer s Leroy Larson and Jarryd Graham are confident North Queensland can regain bragging rights over the city slickers from South Queensland when the annual intrastate AFL clash is played at Cairns this afternoon.
A curtain raiser to the Gold Coast Suns- Western Bulldogs clash at Cazalys Stadium, the duo are the only locals in a squad dominated by Cairns talent. Hermit Tigers centre half forward Larson is AFL Townsville’s leading goalkicker this year with 49 goals in 13 games after arriving from the Northern Territory this season.
Graham, 24, joined University Hawks from North Ballarat this year and despite holding a 2- 1 series lead, North Queensland is looking to bounce back from last year’s loss.
“If we win in the middle that will be the key,” Graham said.
“If we can break them down there and get on top, it will going a long way to winning the game of football.
“It’s going to be good to play the elite players in their league and see what the rest of Queensland has to offer and test yourself against some of the best.”
Larson moved to Townsville to be close to his girlfriend, who is in the final year of studying veterinary science.
“Northern Territory is very high skilled and high speed, but Townsville is still a strong league,” Larson said.
“All the guys are coming together and hoping to get the win.”
Returning SQ coach Danny Craven brings just nine players from the 22 that beat NQ last year.
Craven has earmarked youngsters Tommy Templeton and Jai Fitzpatrick with veteran pair Ben Merrett and Daniel Dzufer as their key players for this afternoon.
“I think it’ll be a free flowing game. I think they’ve picked a running side. Probably so have we in that sense,” Craven said.
“I think they’ve only got six of the 22 that played last year, so they’ve got a whole bunch of new faces. To a lesser degree so do we, we’ve got nine out of our 22.
“So there’ll be challenges as there is every year in rep programs from that point of view.”
The match will be played from 1.40pm.
In today’s AFLT Townsville match, Northern Beaches take on University at North Shore from 8pm. be a quick game of