Pilbara players shine at country football champs
Some of the Pilbara’s best football players made history on July 14 when the Regional All Stars team won the Landmark Country Football Championships third-division grand final for the first time.
More than a third of the All Stars team came from the Pilbara, with two from the North Pilbara Football League, two from the Fortescue National Football League and five from the Newman National Football League.
Coach Kane Benson said the team only came together on the Friday morning, but they gelled really well and went through the whole weekend undefeated.
“Over the weekend, they got to know each other and became mates as well as teammates,” he said. “You’ve got to beat the best to make the grand final, let alone win it and a group of 22 boys who only met on the Friday made history 72 hours later.”
Two of the Pilbara players were recognised as the best of the best over the weekend and were named in 2019 All Star list, which was the best 22 players across all three divisions.
Karratha Kats’ Daniel Farmer Junior was a late inclusion in the competition and along with making the list, was also named the best player under 21.
“He played forward and kicked a few goals, then in the midfield he just ran for three days straight,” Benson said.
“His skills were elite and he attracted a lot of attention from the other teams because of how damaging he was.”
Newman Centrals’ Alex Byrne was also named in the top 22 and was awarded the medal for best on ground in the grand final.
“He was definitely our best player leading in to the grand final and the other team spent a lot of time trying to shut him down, but it obviously didn’t work,” Benson said.
As a result of the championships and their efforts on the local footy field over the past year, Farmer and Dampier Sharks’ Lewis Upton were named in the New Holland State Country Team.
The pair will join 20 other players on Saturday at Optus Stadium when they take on the South Australian country team in a curtain raiser before the West Coast verse North Melbourne clash.
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