GOLD Coast Suns head coach Stuart Dew has been selected as one of the assistant coaches for the All-Stars side in next week’s AFL State of Origin for the bushfire relief.
The AFL confirmed Dew would be an assistant under senior coach, John Longmire from the Sydney Swans.
Michael Voss from Port Adelaide Mark McVeigh from GWS, Joel Corey from the Western Bulldogs and Sydney’s Dean Cox also round out the other assistant roles for the All-Stars.
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Richmond’s Damien Hardwick will lead the panel for the Victoria side, with Gold Coast Suns assistant Dean Solomon among those picked as his assistant.
Hawthorn’s Alastair Clarkson, Adam Kingsley from Richmond and Robert Harvey from Collingwood were also selected.
AFL General Manager Football, Steve Hocking, said the wealth of experience of both coaching panels further demonstrated the club’s passion to make the event a successful one for all affected by the bushfires.
“Since we announced the event, the buy-in from the clubs, players and coaches, from both the AFLW and AFL competitions, has been exceptional.” Mr Hocking said.
“We are coming together for an important event and raise valuable funds, and I know that when the ball is bounced the competitive juices of these coaches will kick in and we will get a great contest.”
The AFL also announced on Monday that dual Richmond Premiership player and reigning Norm Smith Medallist Dustin Martin has been the first player selected to represent Victoria.
Martin said he is looking forward to pulling on the Big V guernsey and playing his part in raising funds for local football clubs and families in bushfire affected areas.
“I can’t imagine how hard it must be for the families and communities that have lost everything in the bushfires.” Martin said.
“I’m really grateful to be able to play a small part along with the rest of the guys in helping rebuild these people’s lives and communities. I hope we can get as many people along as possible and raise a lot of much needed funds.”
The full squads for both sides will be confirmed on Tuesday with at least one player from every club to be represented.
Hocking said the decision was to ensure the fans got to see the best players in the competition play in the same game.
“We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the playing group and the support from all the clubs.” Mr Hocking said.
“Once we sat down with the coaches to discuss the teams it was clear we had a responsibility to have the best players in the competition play and make the State of Origin match the competitive showcase for the fans.
“It is such an important event, our industry coming together, to raise valuable funds for those who have been affected by the bushfires, and recognise the sacrifice of the firefighters, emergency services and thousands of volunteers around the country.”