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The selection challenges in front of Victoria coach Hardwick


Damien Hardwick admits he faces some challenges regarding the selection of the Victorian team.

The Richmond premiership coach will oversee the Vics in the AFL’s State of Origin Bushfire Relief match against the All-Stars (coached by Sydney's John Longmire) at Marvel Stadium on February 28.

After the AFL released the selection criteria, Hardwick spoke on SEN’s Dwayne’s World about the headaches he is expecting due to the amount of top quality players present in the competition.

Hardwick is also mindful of adhering to the wishes of his own and all other 17 clubs by taking into account key players who may not be fully fit but are eager to pull on the 'Big V'.

Hardwick said: “Do you pick the best players or do you pick what you think will possibly be the best team?

“Do we have genuine wingers versus genuine half-backs or do we just pick the best midfielders and say, ‘Listen, you are pretty good players, you figure it out’.

“That will be the really challenging thing with selection. There’s so many quality players that are able to play in multiple positions.

“It’s just trying to fit all those guys in and how best it is going to suit the Victorian team to hopefully get the result we’re after.

“For example, we’ve got a couple of guys in our (Richmond) squad like Dion (Prestia), Bachar (Houli) and Toby Nankervis who are probably not where they need to be but they don’t want us to pull them out of the squad.

“They want to give themselves every opportunity to play. As we get closer to the game we’ll have a better understanding.

“The really important thing for us is to put on a great show for the people in need but also to make sure we respect the wishes of the opposition coaches within the AFL with regard to the minutes that those guys are able to play.”

There have been some calls for fan involvement with the idea allowing those attending and watching at home to help the coaches make moves during play, a concept Hardwick would be open to.

“I actually don’t mind it! It’s good in theory, I don’t mind the idea of that,” he added.

“From my point of view, the players would pretty much control where they play and how they play.

“But I think the more fan involvement we have will actually be a bit of fun. We certainly want to take the game relatively serious at the same time but we also want to make it a great involvement for the fans as well.”

The Victorian and All-Star teams will be named on February 18.

Listen to Hardwick's chat below:

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