Rep nod a long time coming for Wheeler
AUSSIE RULES: Bay Power captain and reigning Stedman Medal-winner Josh Wheeler may become AFL Wide Bay's sole representative in the South Queensland rep team.
Wheeler, Brothers Bulldogs' Tristan Taylor and Gympie Cats' Lanze Magin are the competition's three representatives in the preliminary squad announced Thursday.
Those squads are set to be trimmed ahead of the July 14 North Queensland v South Queensland game at Aspley.
Wheeler, who will line up for the Power in the Urangan club's home game against The Waves Eagles today, said he was honoured to be selected.
An integral member of the Power's squad, Wheeler was robbed of his opportunity to play for South Qld last year.
"I didn't get to play because of a few injuries but I got a call at the start of year saying they were keen get me involved this season,” Wheeler said.
"It feels good. I've played four games of rep footy in Newcastle but could've had a few more if not for injury.
"I'm expecting this to be a big step up.”
South Queensland, coached by Danny Cravem, was selected from QFA Clubs in the south-east region, as well as players from the Wide Bay, Darling Downs and Northern Rivers.
Both teams feature players with QAFL and NEAFL experience, while former Brisbane Lion and Hawthorn Hawk Rhan Hooper will play for South Queensland.
North Queensland will be coached by Brad Cooper, and is comprised of players from Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Mt Isa and Capricornia.
Former Sydney Swan Brett Meredith and former Melbourne Demons star Aaron Davey, who kicked 174 goals in 178 AFL games, will play for North Queensland.
It is a major opportunity for the man voted the QFA Wide Bay Sunshine Coast player of the year, but his club coach Michael Gay believes Wheeler will be able to handle it.
"He leads by example on and off the field,” Gay said.
"It's the way he plays football. He trains as he plays, and even though we're not a professional league he takes a professional approach with his preparation.
"Josh plays a standard the Power hasn't seen before.”
A victory at Keith Dunne Oval today will maintain the Power's lead atop the ladder. First bounce at 4pm.