ENGLISH import James Coutts says he is under no pressure heading into Friday night’s state of origin clash.
The midfielder is one of three players form the Old Dart included in a Victorian side looking to go back to back.
Last year it was the Englishmen, Dan Summers and Stefan Jospeh, who delivered for the southerners in the inaugural state of origin 2-0 win.
NSW-coach Josh Fluss has already fired a broadside at this year’s imports but Coutts says it adds a bit of spice to the game.
“There is no pressure to live up to what the boys did last year,” he said.
“Flussy made a little comment about the Pommy boys so I just hope we can have some fun and get on the score sheet.
“I think we are all just looking forward to getting out there with the best in the competition.”
Twin City’s David Janissen was part of the winning Victorian side last year and says the game has gone up another notch this year.
“It was great last year to have the best in the competition playing each other and I think both squads have stepped up a gear this year,” he said.
“Each team in AWFA has quality players but all on the one pitch at the same time it is quicker, a bit sharper.”
Melrose playmaker Sean Pye watched from the sidelines last year and is itching to be part of the action for a NSW looking to square the series.
“I missed last year with an injury but the pace was much quicker than a regular AWFA game,” he said.
“It is hard to pick one out of the Victorian team but Coutts, as just one of the English imports, will be hard to stop.”
For the first time the women will play state or origin with their game starting at 5pm.
Melrose young gun Alex Davis, 18, will play for a heavily favoured NSW side that is not dissimilar to an AWFA all-stars squad that were part of a W-League selection trial in January.
“We have a good side and the experience from the All-Stars game should help our cause,” she said.
The men’s state of origin starts at 7pm with all money raised going to the Royal Children’s Good Friday appeal.