The Black Diamond AFL representative squad will get the chance to prove themselves when they finally meet their Sydney AFL counterparts on Saturday.
The Black Diamond squad have won their past four fixtures, against Farrer in Wagga Wagga in 2013 and 2016, the NSW/ACT under-23s in 2015 and Sydney under-22s in 2014. They also beat the powerful Riverina squad in 2010 in Wagga Wagga.
Coach Chris Bishop said his side had won as underdogs in most of those games, and will have another chance to knock over a more fancied rival on Saturday at Adelaide St Oval on the Central Coast.
“We’ve been asking for this game for the past few years,” Bishop said.
“Everywhere we go we’ve always been rated as second best whoever we play, the Riverina, the Farrer guys.
“We’ve knocked over those guys, so we just wanted the opportunity to play a bigger league and better players.
“The guys have got it now, so hopefully we can perform.”
Bishop said Sydney would be tough opponents.
“They normally give us the under 23s from their league, but obviously we’ve won the last four, so they’ve given us a challenge, which is really good for us. I can’t wait for it.
“Obviously they’ve got a massive pool. There’s some great players down there, but our league’s come on in leaps and bounds in the last five or five or six years. The depth’s not as strong, but individually we should be right.”
The BDAFL women’s side will play Sydney at noon before the men at 2.15pm.
- Black Diamond men’s squad: Marcus DeLeur, Tom Yensch, Zac Metcalfe (Cardiff); Scott Reed, Beau Cubillo, Alex Bailey, Tim Oosterhoff (Killarney Vale); Wade Beard, Pat McMahon (Maitland); Chris Eddy, Jeremy Eddy, Luke Price, Todd Thornton (Nelson Bay); Conor Haswell, Mac O'Malley, Aaron Seen (Newcastle City); Alex Mitchell (Singleton); Corey Billins, Corbin Bond, Sam Ellis, Kurt Fleming, James Hart, Mark Skuse (Terrigal Avoca); Ben Kernahan, Rob Schindler-Taylor (Warners Bay).
- Black Diamond women’s squad: Karina Berry, Rebecca Collins, Emily Crookes, Rachael Elcoate, Alison Parkin (Gosford); Georgia Butler, Tarryn O'Hehir (Killarney Vale); Jacqui Dudgeon, Sarah Burns, Sarah James (Maitland); Jemma Astley, Sophie Balcombe, Lauren Cooper, Kate Holland, Jess Phillips, Pippa Smyth, Lisa Steane (Nelson Bay); Audrey Gillingham, Kailee Goodwin, Sarah Halvorsen, Meaghan MacDonald, Paige Mathewson, Erin White (Newcastle City); Kate Booth (Warners Bay); Rebecca Ives (Wyong Lakes).