Pilbara footballers star for WA
The Pilbara’s football talent was represented well on the weekend, with two of the region’s best running out onto Optus Stadium as part of the New Holland State Country Team.
Dampier Sharks’ Lewis Upton and Karratha Kats’ Daniel Farmer Jr were selected to play in the team, which took on South Australia in the curtain-raiser before the Eagles v North Melbourne clash on Saturday.
The team beat their inter-state rivals by nine points, making them the first side to have a win against South Australia at Optus Stadium.
The team, comprising 22 players from regional WA, only came together on Friday and coach Craig Walker said they worked on the psychology and the basics of football.
“We spent a fair bit of time developing structures which the players developed themselves, so they had the ownership of it,” he said.
“That was a big thing, I wanted the boys to have ownership of the way we were going to play, our integrity and what we expected of each other.”
Walker said everybody in the team performed their role, with Farmer and Upton both impressing.
“Young Dan Farmer put a lot a pressure on up forward, he presented and was really dangerous,” he said.
“We were pleased. He was a small on a tall and his speed and ferocity at the ball was a game changer.”
“Lewis Upton came through the midfield, he was very poised with the ball and was one of our best on the day.”
Both Pilbara players surpassed expectations and Walker believes they have what it takes to make it to the next level.
“If they commit wholeheartedly, they’ll make it,” he said.
“They’ve got all the skills and attributes. Farmer is like a sponge, he’s so keen to learn and Upton is incredibly versatile.”
The next level doesn’t just mean WAFL, with Walker seeing no reason why the boys can’t make it to the elite.
“It comes back to personal drive and a solid mindset on knowing that’s what they want to do,” he said.
“If it is, they need to work hard and they'll achieve it. Both boys have the ability to do that, so now it’s up to them.”
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