The West Australian Football Commission is excited to announce the Kia WAFL State Team and Captain for 2022.
The team, made up of WA’s best WAFL players, will take on South Australia at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
Highly regarded Subiaco Captain, Leigh Kitchin, will go back-to-back in captaining the State team, having proved his outstanding State leadership skills in 2021 and over a number of years at Subiaco Football Club.
Perth’s Fraser McInnes and East Fremantle’s Matthew Jupp have been named Vice Captains.
Speaking of his back-to-back captaincy, Kitchin said he was honoured to be leading a strong and committed team.
“It’s a huge honour and is one I take a lot of pride in and I’m just really excited to have this opportunity,” Kitchin said.
“The opportunity to lead a committed group of players on Sunday is one I’m excited about.
“To me, State footy is really now about the WAFL and SANFL going toe to toe with the best players from each comp to find out which competition sits just behind the AFL as the premier football destination outside of the competition.”
Speaking of the difficult selection process, Head coach, Cam Shepherd said the team announced are looking forward to taking on South Australia.
“Picking the team has been difficult because we have many players in great form, and some great characters as well,” Shepherd said.
“What makes the team though is the energy and excitement that has been evident from our very first meeting and throughout training. We are well led by Captain Leigh Kitchin and Vice Captains Matthew Jupp and Fraser McInnes,”
High on my agenda as coach has been to reward great players in the WAFL who have built their brand over many years and it’s wonderful to be able to give Ryan Lim, Jesse Turner, Zac Guardanin, Keegan Knott and Noah Strom to name a few the opportunity to represent the state.”
Ensuring no talent is missed, Shepherd said that he wants to honour the skills of his team throughout the game and hopes WA will cheer them on.
“Representing your state is one of, if not the highest honour a player achieves in their career. It recognises excellence and effort, and we are excited by the challenge and hope all sandgropers are behind us,"
“We are always mindful of giving our young up and coming players a chance and we will again through Noah Pegoraro and Jake Florenca,”
“We know that SA really are a strong team (having beaten us by 53 points last year), they are well-coached, and we need to be strong in the contest and maintain pressure throughout the day.”
West Australian Football Commission Executive Manager of WAFL and Talent, Scott Baker, said the state game is a fantastic reflection of the talent within the WAFL competition.
“It’s a great opportunity for the players to represent the state and to play at Optus Stadium, the home of the WAFL Grand Final,” Baker said.
“With so much talent, it is always a difficult process to finalise the team, but we believe we have selected a really strong line-up to take on South Australia.”
Speaking about the opportunity to play a curtain-raiser at Optus Stadium, Baker said players should relish this opportunity, but also enjoy the day with their teammates.
“You’re representing your state in the black and gold and showcasing the WAFL’s most talented players, in front of a home crowd – it’s an experience they won’t forget.”
The fixture will take place at 12.00 noon (WST) on Sunday as a curtain-raiser to the West Coast Eagles v Melbourne game and will be live-streamed on the AFL app for all WA Football fans to enjoy.
Tickets are available via Ticketmaster and gives access to both the State game and the AFL game.
Full team list below:
Players out to injury: