Mills pumped for State of Origin match

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Young Sydney Swans star Callum Mills loved the sound of the State of Origin match for bushfire relief from the moment it was confirmed – and he says he’s buzzing to pull on a jumper.

When Mills lines up for the All Stars side set to be led by Sydney coach John Longmire at Marvel Stadium on February 28, fellow Swans Jake Lloyd and Tom Papley will represent Victoria.

The Swans trio are set to play a role in the AFL’s push to help the many communities impacted by the devastating bushfires, with all funds dedicated to relief efforts and emergency assistance as well as rebuilding grassroots facilities.

Mills says he’ll relish the opportunity to commit to the crucial cause.

“It means a lot. The fires were so devastating and to play a small but hopefully influential role in raising money for the recovery is something I’m really excited for,” Mills said.

“I thought the State of Origin concept was great from the moment it was announced. State of Origin is great. Being a NSW boy you see State of Origin in rugby league, but I haven’t witnessed it as an AFL player so it should be exciting.”

Two 27-man teams have been named for the charity match, with stars of the league like Dustin Martin, Scott Pendlebury and Patrick Dangerfield set to feature for Victoria, and gun footballers like Nat Fyfe, Patrick Cripps and Jack Riewoldt selected for the All Stars.

A game of this kind was last held when Victoria faced the Dream Team in the Hall of Fame Tribute Match at the MCG in 2008, which saw Chris Judd, Steve Johnson, Andrew McLeod and a host of other champion footballers grace the turf.

When asked about doing battle with Swans teammates Lloyd and Papley in the State of Origin match for bushfire relief, Mills said he’d enjoy the friendly rivalry.

“It’ll be pretty cool to run out against a couple of my teammates,” Mills said.

“It’ll be a different experience but it should be really fun. Paps and Lloydy are both really good players and they’ve shown that at the Swans over the last few years. I’m sure we’ll start to have a bit of a laugh about it as the game gets closer.”

Swans assistant coach Dean Cox will also play a role in the State of Origin fixture after he was named on a panel of assistant coaches for the All Stars.

Cox, Stuart Dew, Michael Voss, Mark McVeigh and Joel Corey will all join Longmire in the coaches’ box.

Meanwhile, Damien Hardwick will lead Victoria, with Alastair Clarkson, Adam Kingsley, Robert Harvey and Dean Solomon set to assist the two-time Richmond premiership coach.