Darling Downs AFL coach Jason Wright (left), player Brendan Iles and manager Colin Pope prepare for the trip to Ballina to play Northern Rivers.
Darling Downs AFL coach Jason Wright (left), player Brendan Iles and manager Colin Pope prepare for the trip to Ballina to play Northern Rivers.

Redbacks claim Downs positions

WHEN AFL Darling Downs meets AFL Northern Rivers today at Ballina, five players and two support staff will represent the Redbacks in the regional squad.

Redbacks player Jason Wright is the Darling Downs coach and Brendan Iles, Kurt Millard, Andrew Bardsley and Steve Martin have earned their colours in the team with some outstanding football so far this season.

Redbacks official Mark Peach is in charge of the Darling Downs medical team and Colin Pope is manager.

The cream of the crop from across the Downs will assemble for the trip with two objectives in mind – victory over a very talented opposition and representative selections later in the season.

A win against a Northern Rivers team coached by Shaun Rhen will be uppermost in their minds.

Rhen played with the Adelaide Crows in back-to-back AFL premiership wins in 1997-98.

He has had significant success at the coaching level in country South Australia and New South Wales.

All Darling Downs players are aiming to be selected in the South Queensland Country side to play North Queensland Country which can lead to state country representation.

State teams will play in the ACT later this year and games will attract talent scouts from all of the top AFL clubs.

The four Reddies representative players have not put in a bad game this year and have stood out as on and off-field club leaders.

Kurt Millard and Iles have both stepped up another cog when it was thought they had already shown their best.

Andrew Bardsley’s tackling and hunger for the ball has gone from very good to unbelievable and he is feared by all opposition teams.

Steve Martin has changed roles this season and is now the leading fullback in the competition.

Wright, as Redbacks assistant coach to Peter Millard, was chosen to mentor the Darling Downs team because of his knowledge not only of the game but of all his charges through having now played 218 games in the DD competition.

Peach and Pope have both been rewarded for their hard work in their respective Saturday portfolios for the Redbacks.



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