Warners Bay’s Jack Hardman launches into Black Diamond AFL representative squad

Hardman launches up and away into debut MOMENT: Warners Bay forward Jack Hardman will debut on Saturday for the Black Diamond AFL representative team. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

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Hardman was one of eight rookies selected in the competition’s 23-man squad, officially announced on Monday, to tackle Canberra at Manuka Oval and Black Diamond AFL head coach Rowan Bilkey said the magic moment came at just the right time.

“It was a fair statement,” Bilkey said.

“He [Hardman] is a superexciting kid. I saw him play against Singleton a couple of weeks ago and he’s just got that X-factor. He’s got pace to burn and his skills are silky.

“Now it will be interesting to see how he goes against some real, quality opposition…where he’s not going to have as muchtime and space and to see what he can do.

“That grab on the weekend was terrific and when I saw it [the replay] pop up on Facebook I was like, ‘geez I’m glad we’ve got him in the side’.”

Early in the second quarter, deep inside opposition territoryand already leading by 30 points, Hardman climbs over a Nelson Bay defender in spectacular fashion to catch the incoming ball with both arms outstretched above his own head.

The Bulldogs forward will now be joined by fellow first timers Jack Lennon, Nick Tomlinson (Cardiff), Pat Murphy (Gosford), Tim Oosterhoff (Killarney Vale), Andrew Last (Nelson Bay), Brandon Thomas (Terrigal Avoca) and clubmate Lincoln Stewart (Warners Bay).

Some changes have been forced with the unavailability of regulars such as Cardiff captain Simon O’Brien, Hawks defender Zac Metcalfe and three-time Elliott Davey Medal winner James Webster from Terrigal Avoca.

“As with every yearthere’s a couple of players we’d like to have in the side who are eitherunavailable or injured, but it gives someone else an opportunity to step into that role,” Bilkey said.

“When we first threw names up on a whiteboard there were 35 and it’s been tough trying to whittle it down. All of them are absolutely justified in being picked.”

Thesquad will train at Feighan Park on Tuesday night and Adelaide Street Oval on Thursday night before travelling to the nation’s capital on Friday afternoon.

BDAFL SQUAD: Marcus DeLeur, Nick Tomlinson, Jack Lennon, Tom Yensch (Cardiff); Pat Murphy (Gosford); Josh Mifsud, Tim Oosterhoff, Scott Reed (Killarney Vale); Andrew Last, Jayden Rymer, Chris Eddy (Nelson Bay); Conor Haswell, Macaulay O’Malley (Newcastle City); Alex Mitchell, Andrew Scott (Singleton); Corey Billins, Corbin Bond, Sam Ellis, Jack Grimmond, Brandon Thomas(Terrigal Avoca); Jack Hardman, Matt Spinks, Lincoln Stewart (Warners Bay).

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