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Strong colts side hoping to go one better this year as Llewyn Valli named captain

Jake Santa MariaMidwest Times
The 2023 GNFL Colts Country Week side
Camera IconThe 2023 GNFL Colts Country Week side Credit: Jake Santa Maria

This year’s Great Northern Football League country week squads were officially unveiled on Monday night, with past stars presenting jerseys to them.

While the team lists were revealed some time ago, both the league and colts sides were brought together to receive their numbers while the captains and vice-captains were also revealed.

Chapman Valley and GNFL legend Kevin Mazzuchelli presented the colts squad with their numbers and said country week rated towards the top of his numerous accolades.

“I was 18 when I first went to country week in 1969 and we were lucky to win that year and played with some really great players,” he said.

“Even having played in three premierships in the GNFL, country week is right up there and I wish the young fellas all the best this year.”

Last year the GNFL colts side finished runners-up to a powerhouse Peel outfit and are hoping to go one better when their competition starts on Thursday.

Rovers ruck Blake Tazewell was named vice-captain, while Brigades midfielder and East Fremantle colts regular Llewyn Valli is captain.

“It was a good effort last year; hopefully we can back that up. We’ve worked harder this year and we have a strong side and you know, anything can happen if we put our mind to it,” Valli said.

Kevin Mazzuchelli presents Llewyn Valli with his jumper.
Camera IconKevin Mazzuchelli presents Llewyn Valli with his jumper. Credit: Jake Santa Maria

“We started a couple of months earlier and we’ve trained way more this time round and our colts carnival day was really good, so I’m hoping that really does pay off.”

Valli believes while the squad may give up a size advantage to some other teams, their strength was around the contest ball.

“We’re a shorter team, but I think we’re going to win the hard balls. There’s no question on our determination, we play some rough footy up here so hopefully it pays off down there.”

Coach Jason “Chewy” Graham believes better preparation this year could pay dividends at the end of the carnival.

“Not sure what the other teams have got but we’ve done the work on our end, the fitness has been sensational,” he said.

“Our team this year was very hard to pick, so hopefully that’s saying something about our depth and our back end will be just as strong as our front end.

“I think last year we were very rushed and I think we’ve got things right this year on that aspect, but the key is to just hang in there. It doesn’t matter how the game is going, you’ve got to keep working hard. We dropped the first round last year but still made the grand final, so you just got to keep on trying.”

The Great Northern side’s campaign is scheduled to start at 10am on Thursday, July 6, when they take on Regional Districts before taking on Avon at noon.

Their final group game will be against Kimberly Spirit noon Friday, with only the top sides from each pool going straight through to a championship final.

A full preview of the league’s first country week campaign since 2019 will be in Friday’s Guardian.

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