By ZAC MILBANK
Decorated South East stalwart Adam Merrett has been appointed as the new coach of the SA Country team to face WA Country in Perth this year.
Merrett, who has guided Murray South East to back-to-back Country Championships in 2016 and 2017, will replace the outgoing Luke Duncan for the clash with the Sandgropers on Saturday July 27 at Optus Stadium.
A perennial member of the SA Country team as a player, the Penola premiership coach told SANFL Radio that he’s excited about his next challenge holding the magnet board.
Merrett has already got to work in planning for the annual grudge match against the Black Swans, with the basis of the squad to be chosen from this year’s MAC SA Country Championships to be held in Port Pirie on July 13 and 14.
As he finalises his assistant coaching panel, Merrett confirmed Sturt premiership backman Michael Curtis, now based on the Eyre Peninsula, will be the team’s runner.
Describing himself as a passionate advocate for State representative football, the 36-year-old said it serves as an important avenue for those talented players in regional areas to test themselves at the highest level possible.
Like Merrett, there have been countless star footballers from rural areas unable to challenge themselves in the SANFL Statewide Super League or beyond due to their family, or employment circumstances, placing greater importance on the State Country concept against Western Australia.