Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Moon and Archard headline interleague squad

Fourteen district footballers have been selected in the initial Murray Football League interleague squad.

LUKE MCMANUS April 30, 2014 3:05am

Echuca United’s Dean Moon and Moama’s Rhys Archard headline the Murray Football League’s extended interleague squad.

The once-prominent Goulburn Valley Football League duo have been included in the initial 48-man squad, alongside 14 district footballers from Echuca United, Moama, Tongala and Nathalia clubs.

Eagles premiership coach Scott Beattie, given the nod to lead the interleague side for the second consecutive season, will have the difficult task of trimming the list to 25 ahead of the MFL’s clash with Sunraysia Football League on May 24.

A light training session on Sunday, where players will be properly introduced, will precede two Wednesday night training sessions before the team travels to Mildura.

‘‘Having only three trainings is a positive for us,’’ said Beattie, who will have help from assistant Adrian Daly (Moama), co-ordinator Darren Jackson (Finley) and selector Kevin O’Donoghue (Congupna).

‘‘It’s a big commitment to keep having to travel over an hour to sessions, especially on Sundays after they’ve all played the day before.

‘‘Less is more these days — by cutting back on the sessions we’ll get more out of the players.’’

Beattie and Moon are joined by teammates Farran Priest, Ryan Prendergast, Clayton Zanella and newcomer Bryn Barnes-Webb, while Eagles co-captain and 2013 representative Rowan Priest missed the cut.

Archard’s teammates Daniel Thorp, David Ismail and, on the back of a nine-goal performance against Rumbalara at the weekend, Tyler Jones also received the nod.

Tongala’s Jordan Souter was given another chance after the forward copped a two-match suspension by the MFL for neglecting interleague commitments last season, with James Cullum and sneaky forward Elijah Edwards rounding out the Blues’ players.

The Purples have put forward six players, including young gun Bowen Smith, described by Beattie as a ‘‘ready-made’’ senior footballer who will have an opportunity to state his credentials.

The squad also boasts some AFL experience with Rumbalara recruits Damien Cupido, Nathan Lovett-Murray and Brad Dick added to the mix.

‘‘Based on the negative publicity from last year’s suspensions, we spoke to coaches about forgetting blokes who weren’t of interest,’’ Beattie said.

‘‘We believe a high majority of the blokes (on the list) will be fully committed, including the 11 players from last year’s team who already know the process and what’s expected.

‘‘Throw in the AFL talent and there’s an abundance of talent there that our younger guys can learn from.’’

Beattie, who played in the MFL’s shattering loss to Sunraysia in 2012, said a driving force two years on was to not only return blows but tick off another step in the league’s rise to prominence.

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