Five representatives from the Macleay Valley Rangers and two from the Kempsey Saints will take to the field against last year’s A-league grand finalists the Newcastle Jets next Tuesday July 17.
Rangers’ Andrew Potter, Sam Applegate, Ben Mitchell, Chris Walker and John Henry and Saints’ Jacob Lyttle and Troy Ward received the nod for selection into the Northern representative side to take on the professional football players.
Potter, Applegate and Ward played in front of more than 4000 people, who packed themselves into Port Macquarie Regional stadium for the inaugural match last year.
The three have experienced the speed, talent and skill of the Jets players.
“Playing against an experienced team is a completely different level compared to our local league,” Applegate said.
“It gave me the opportunity to play against A-League players and play quality football. Last year was an awesome experience for me and I am really excited to have the opportunity to play against them again.”
Saints president Matt Baker believes Lyttle and Ward have earned their spots in the side.
“Jacob is a very good goalkeeper,” Baker said.
“He has a strong presence in the box and is very agile for his size.
“Troy is one of the best player’s in the competition, no matter where he plays – he’s our best player by a long way.”
Rangers’ Henry, Walker and Mitchell have made a strong impression since returning to the club this season.
The Northern side approached the Jets contest last year with plenty of confidence, as they believed they would not only hold their own but were also a chance of finding the back of the net.
Port United coach Nathan Wade was elected to take the reins of the Northern representative side this year.
Wade ran water for the team in 2017 and recognises the side will need to tighten their defence up after conceding five goals last year.
“We want to try and attack them, but we’ll be a bit more defensive-minded,” Wade said.
“We can’t attack as much as we thought we were going to be able to so we won’t tell our fullbacks to be wing-backs and overlap our wingers.
“You can have the best-laid plans but the class is completely different.”
The Rangers and Saints players will team up with Port Saints, Port United and Wauchope players in the Northern representative side.
Wade said all local players would benefit from an interchange rule to allow more substitutes.
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