THE Victorians have gone to their super sub English imports in a bid to make it two from two in the state of origin series.
Last year Stefan Joseph and Dan Summers were the goal scorers as the southerners took the inaugural title 2-0.
On Friday night it will be the next batch from the Old Dart — Matt Gray, James Coutts and Wangaratta’s recently arrived Elliott Jones that will top up the Vics’ starting line-up.
Gray says they have big boots to fill.
The midfielder was in part responsible for Joseph ending up on the Border last year and has the highest respect for Summers.
“Clearly they were fantastic for the league and in particular this game,” Gray said.
“Stefan approached me about playing in the Shepparton league but I had filled my quota of imports and put him in touch with the guys at Wangaratta.
“But we are all looking forward to Friday night.
“Any time you get a chance to play against the ‘so-called’ best players is a bonus, a showcase for the game and perhaps might attract others to our type of football.”
Gray said there was no issue when it came to choosing his side in the state versus state battle.
“I’ve been a Victorian ever since I came to Australia, my partner’s Victorian — I’m in the right team,” he said.
“And the fact is the money raised from Friday night is for a fantastic cause.”
Gray said he had been impressed with the standard of the game on the Border after shifting from the semi-professional ranks at Shepparton in the off-season.
“The biggest difference here is the standard of the local product,” he said.
“At Shepparton you will have five and six imports in a team and the quality from the local players is some way below that.
“But there are some very good footballers already here — you don’t really need a lot of imported players, the standard is already pretty high.
“There is a better spread of talent here and it seems a more even competition.”
The Victorian side announced yesterday is without stars Zac Walker (hamstring) and Jesse Stephens (broken collarbone) after both were injured at the weekend.