Star wingman Andrew Gaff would be honoured to pull on the ‘Big V’ if called up to help the Australian bushfires fundraising effort in next month’s clash against an All Stars line-up.
Each club is set to make up to three players available for the charity match at Marvel Stadium, and dual All Australian and 2015 International Rules representative Gaff could be a chance to play for Victoria.
“It would be amazing,” Gaff said.
“Whether it (State of Origin) comes back permanently mid-season in the next coming years who knows but for the time being this is as good as it gets.
“When you’re raising money for what has been a very difficult few months for the whole country it would make it even more special.
“I haven’t heard anything but I’d be keen to play if I did get the call up.
“Growing up in Melbourne, and spending time in the country through various sporting commitments over the years when I was younger, you go to a lot of these places like Gippsland and up north and it’s just shocking what’s been happening.
“If we can help in any way it would mean so much. It’s going to be a great occasion when you’ve got all the better guys in Melbourne playing that game.”
Lining up against current Eagles teammates – potentially including All Australian forward Jack Darling - would be part of the appeal if Gaff was selected.
“I won’t be going anywhere near Jack – I won’t be sitting in the hole in front of Jack I tell you that,” he said with a laugh.
“But anytime you can play against the best and with the best would be amazing.”
After burning up the track to win the second 2km time trial last Wednesday, Gaff was looking forward to more match simulation training during the build-up to the Marsh Community Series.
He tipped versatile tall Jarrod Brander would be one of the young Eagles primed to push for a berth in the pre-season games.
“I’ve definitely noticed guys like Jarrod Brander, who has put in a really good 2km (time trial) performance, and at training he stood out probably last week more than anyone, which has been really pleasing,” Gaff said.
“Whilst we have a good group of experienced guys who have played a lot of footy together, we need guys like Jarrod and Liam Duggan, who did a really good 2km time trial as well, taking their game to the next level.
“We need improvement from everyone on our list, but mainly those guys in their early 20s looking to find a spot in the permanent 22."