Adrian “Duck” Davies will coach Northern Zone at the South Australian Country Football Champ-ionships in Berri this weekend.
The Solomontown coach also coached the team in 2011, when the championships were held at Port Pirie, as well as in 2010.
Northern has a tough draw – playing last year’s champions Eyre Peninsula in its first game on Saturday, then 2010 winners Southern Districts in the afternoon.
Davies said Northern was competitive last year – despite ending the championship in fifth.
“The greater the challenge – the greater the reward – that’s how I look at Southern,” he said.
“We were very competitive in Port Pirie last year, but having said that the team has changed dramatically.
“However, that has given the opportunity to some new players in our zone.”
Two Port Pirie players which Davies expected to make the final team and do well are the Port duo of Greg Phillips and Thomas Underwood.
“I am expecting Greg Phillips to do well,” Davies said.
“He has been in sensational from recently.
“He is a small forward that can kick a lot of goals quickly.
“He has played at this level before and knows what is expected.”
Likewise Underwood is a forward who also played for Northern Zone in 2011.
“He was the best player in the SGL game.”
Spencer Gulf League has 16 players in the 44-person squad which was to be cut to 25 at training last night (Wednesday) in Port Augusta.
Davies said some who had played for Northern Zone in 2011 were no longer within the zone, such as Travis Oakley, who was now playing in Adelaide instead of at Jamestown.
He made the 2011 South Australian Country Football team, along with Matt Woolford, from Central Augusta, and Geoff Appleton, from Weeroona Bay in Whyalla Football League.
Both Woolford and Appleton are in this year’s Northern squad.
Northern also has two new players from Roxby Downs League – new to the region but not to the Country Football Championships.
Ryan Bennett “was named in the All Australian side two or three years ago” and Daniel Pegler “has also played at this level before”.
“We are a very flexible side,” Davies said.
“We have targeted pace because these games are very quick.
“You are talking about the best footballers in country South Australia and shortened games.”
“The objective is to kick a tally as quickly as you can.”
Each match consists of two 20 minute halves.
Every zone must play six footballers under 21 years of age and one who falls in that category is Jordan Weetra.
He is the youngest brother of Issac Weetra, who played two AFL games for Melbourne in 2008 before being delisted and returning to the SANFL to play for Port Adelaide.
On Sunday, each of the group one teams will play the group two team that finished in the same position on the ladder as themselves from the first day’s play.
Northern Zone includes Spencer Gulf, Northern Areas, Far North, Whyalla and Broken Hill football leagues.