A northern exposure
AUSSIE RULES: Steve Eilola's rich vein of form has been rewarded with selection in the North Queensland representative team that will take on the best from the south tomorrow afternoon in Cairns.
Gladstone Mudcrabs' full forward Eilola, who leads the AFL Capricornia league with 56 goals from just 10 games, will line up against South Queensland from 1.40pm ahead of the Gold Coast Suns and Western Bulldogs AFL twilight fixture.
Eilola and Isaac Keilly, who has also been in sensational form on a wing for undefeated Yeppoon Swans, are the only two from Central Queensland to have made the team.
"I found out on Monday afternoon, casually moving house and got a call from Peter Young saying looks like you got the call up," Eilola, 27, said.
To watch Eilola play on Saturday from 1pm, go to the live stream.
He said it has come as a complete shock despite kicking eight goals for the Capricornia side which smashed Mackay recently.
"I didn't know what to say really and it was definitely not expecting to get in to be honest," Eilola said.
"There is a lot of talent in our competition and to one of two picked is a great honour."
The powerfully-built Eilola bases his game on strong and well-timed leads along with clever body-work where he has the innate ability to outmanoeuvre his opponent which leaves him goal-side and in a very dangerous position.
Eilola's best return was 10 goals against Glenmore Bulls last month and his tallies have hovered between three and seven majors in eight other rounds aside from last weekend where he booted two goals although had chances to kick more.
"This is the biggest personal achievement in AFL, but I also played two representative games for Capricornia in 2012 against AFL Wide Bay and AFL Mackay," Eilola said.
"Unfortunately didn't get the call up (into the North Queensland team)."
Eilola said his pre-season was 'like any other', but most likely his goal-kicking practice at the start and end of training has made the difference.
"I haven't really done much out of the ordinary, but I like to get down to training early and have some shots and also stay back a bit and get a few shots at goal," he said.
Eilola explained that having had some midfield experience has certainly helped him to become a premier key forward.
"It all really comes down to having patience with my lead giving the ball carrier time to settle for a better delivery inside 50," he said.
"Coming from the midfield into the forward line definitely has its advantages."
Eilola is in his 13th season at Gladstone Mudcrabs, a club he has played with since the under-15s where he began playing at full-back.
He said there are a number of people who have been influential in his career.
"Well I will have to say my old man (Darryl Eilola) because he's just hard but fair, pushes you to your limits and a good half time spray that he is renown for always got us hitting that extra gear," Eilola said.
"All coaches are special in one way or another because of the time and effort they put into each and every week where they put their lives on hold for a whole season to coach a footy side is something I appreciate."
Muddies team-mate and the club's president Josh Roati said it's great for the region that players are getting the recognition that they deserve.
"It's also great for the club and I can't remember too many players from here to have made the North Queensland side and Peter Young from AFL Queensland has made it a big point for Steve and others to play for North Queensland and even push to play in the NEAFL," Roati said.