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Curley hopes Bulldogs four help WAFL make history

Friday, May 26, 2017 - 11:32 PM by Chris Pike
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SOUTH Fremantle coach Todd Curley was there last time the WAFL played the VFL in Melbourne and now he would take great pride if four Bulldogs stars help Western Australia create history against Victoria on Saturday.

Curley himself enjoyed his chances to represent WA during his distinguished playing career and he was also an assistant coach to Ashley Prescott when the WAFL last played the VFL in Melbourne back in 2007.

While that wasn’t a day to remember with Victoria beating WA by 119 points, it was also the 24th straight time that the Big V has beaten the Black Swans on home turf in Melbourne.

The WAFL is gearing up to take on the VFL in the 2017 state game at Port Melbourne's North Port Oval trying to create history by winning in Melbourne for the very first time.

There will be four South Fremantle players in the squad of 23 for WA as well with Bulldogs captain Ryan Cook continuing his remarkable run now to be playing his sixth state game in seven years since joining South Fremantle in 2011.

Triple Bernie Naylor Medallist Ben Saunders will be playing his third game representing the WAFL having previously kicked five goals against the NEAFL in 2014 and Tasmania in 2016.

Then South Fremantle's two standout performers in the midfield so far in 2017, Tim Kelly and Haiden Schloithe, will deservedly get their chance to play for WA for a second time.

Schloithe first played with the black and gold jumper on in 2014 against the NEAFL in Sydney while Kelly played in last year's 134-point record win over Tasmania at Steel Blue Oval.

Curley is happy for all four that they will get the opportunity to play and represent the WAFL and try to make history in Melbourne.

"They all deserve to play and I'm certainly more than happy for them to play. As a player I loved the opportunity to play for my state and it doesn’t come around all the time. It's a great opportunity for them to travel and go to Melbourne and play. Hopefully they play," Curley said.

"It would be fantastic for the state and the competition having not won over there ever. It would be a good statement for the competition that we have some really good footballers here and hopefully they go well."

For Kelly in particular, Saturday might be another chance to put his name up in lights for a future in the AFL. 

But for Curley, he just sees it as another chance for him to show he can perform in a different environment at a higher level.

"It's an opportunity but he just has to play well really and not worry about anything else. It's an opportunity for him to test himself at a high level again," he said.

"It will be a small ground and likely conditions that he wouldn’t have played in a lot, so it's a great chance for him to learn and get better."

While Curley understands that it's never an easy job to pick a state team, he will never be convinced that Blaine Johnson didn’t deserve to be there on Saturday.

"It's a pretty hard job and there's lots of good players around, but Blaine Johnson is the obvious one," Curley said.

"He has kicked 20 goals and had nearly 40 tackles in nine games. I think his physicality would have been suited to the ground as well."