FORMER State of Origin greats like Cliffy Lyons, Robbie O’Davis, Scott Hill and Bryan Niebling are just some of the players already confirmed for this year’s The Professionals Armidale Legends of League clash in March.
Last year’s inaugural event was a success and organisers, like another ex-Origin player, Craig Teevan, are certain that this year’s game will be even bigger.
At the official launch yesterday he announced a stunning list of players for the game on March 16 – the only such game held in NSW this year.
“Last year the weather put a bit of a damper on it,” Teevan said.
“But we’ve had a de-brief from last year with the senior and junior leagues, the cricket club and everyone else who is logistically involved on game day and we can do things better this year.
“With some better weather we can improve on that crowd, especially now that everyone knows what it’s all about.”
Many of the stars from last year are returning but Lyons and O’Davis are among the new faces this year.
Also confirmed are Scott Sattler, John Plath, Rhys Wesser and the infamous John Hopoate.
They will play alongside returning players such as Teevan, Hill, Niebling, Les Davidson, David Peachey, Matt Geyer, Jamie Goddard and locally-produced legends Nathan Blacklock, Dean Widders and Dennis Moran.
“We’ve got a good mix of young and old again,” Teevan said.
“Guys like Cliffy Lyons and John Hopoate are well known in their own right and Matty Geyer is also coming.
“We’re very excited about it.”
The legends will turn out for the Servies Blues and the Moxon’s Maroons again this year.
Last year the Queenslanders were just too good in a close contest but the Blues could have the edge this year thanks to some of those new recruits.
The Armidale Sportsground will play host again and a full day of games is planned.
In fact there are several days of events to coincide with the Armidale Autumn Festival.
“We’ll be going to visit the hospital again and some players will be arriving on the Thursday for that,” Teevan said.
“There will be a bowls day on Friday and even though it’s a corporate day we want to include the public as well.
“On the Saturday morning the players will be in Armidale Plaza and we’ll be on the two floats in the parade again.”
The match-day action will feature a number of local teams, possibly including the return of the Walcha Kangaroos.
“We’ll have a women’s game of league,” Teevan said.
“Then Armidale is hoping to play Walcha in reserve grade and Armidale will play Tingha in first grade.
“There will also be some kids’ games and some junior teams will lead the players onto the field.
“So it will be a full day.”
Tickets go on sale next week from The Professionals Real Estate office in Armidale and at the Armidale Ex-Services Club.
Grandstand seats will be quick to go and can only be purchased at The Professionals or by calling the office on 67724549.