Muratti squad really is a fantasy

WITHOUT wanting to sound too much like a French fisherman, it is just not fair.

Never-say-die Ben Coulter, right. (Picture by Martin Gray, 29522471)
Never-say-die Ben Coulter, right. (Picture by Martin Gray, 29522471)

It’s all very well cancelling a second straight Muratti final, but they have not given due thought to people, like me, who every early May get to choose their own Guernsey team for the final.

But, taking a ‘feuille’ [leaf] out of the French fishermen’s log, I’m going to do it anyway.

I will not get my own way like the Frenchies surely will – they always do, don’t they? – but it is always a bit of harmless fun, like the fishing boys from the Bay of St Malo probably think we are.

Normally, we would get a chance to read the Island manager’s mind through his selections for warm-ups and who is catching the eye, or otherwise, with GFC. Not this year. It is domestic football and reputation only.

Which begs the other question – how many GFC stars would make a Muratti on the evidence of our two-part season?

Not too many was the point made to me after Tuesday’s FNB Priaulx League clash at Blanche Pierre Lane, a night which saw Meakin’s Mean Machine roll right over the star-studded Manzur side.

Chief driver of the roller was Ben Coulter, whose first Muratti appearance was as a 20-year-old in 2009 and who after a repeat appearance in 2010 did not reappear again for eight seasons, during which time he was living in Australia.

We missed his best years but there is no question Coulter remains a player of high pedigree and, more than that, high commitment.

How wonderful it has been to see this genial powerhouse give so much to St Martin’s this season which, I suspect, may be one of his last due to the state of his knees.

But would he make the Muratti line-up?

On current form you would have to say a resounding yes.

And while we are at it, how many of the likely league champions would get the nod were there a Jersey clash in a few weeks?

Two or three possibly, Saints’ strength being the collective, rather than the individual.

Nobody can match Meakin’s men for physicality, fitness and nous.

I would probably pick Danny Hale, because he has provided their attacking spark these past two months. There is no more dangerous forward in the domestic game at present.

You could also make a strong case for Dom Heaume and he would not let you down.

Personally, though, I think it is time to give a younger man a chance and Northerners’ Sam Murray deserves that opportunity just ahead of the more flamboyant Kyle Smith.

But would Chris Tardif have made wholesale changes, would he have picked Ross Allen when the player has not kicked one football in competitive anger all season?

On that latter score, I don’t think he could justifiably have done so. A player – any player – has to play competitively to some extent and we have surely moved on from the days of Harry Stranger, who lived elsewhere but always got picked because he was very good.

I suspect Tardif would have made significant changes as some of the GFC men have gone off the boil, perhaps feeling underwhelmed by the lesser occasion. But, sadly, it is all conjecture.

There will not be a 2021 Muratti and Tardif’s rebuild will probably have to wait. For the time being, though, this would be my Island XI based on performance since emerging from lockdown 2.0:

(3-4-3) Jason Martin (St Martin’s); Thomas Dodds (Manzur), Jacob Fallaize (Sylvans), Ben Le Tocq (Rovers); Frank Tobin (Rovers), Ben Coulter (St Martin’s), Liam Mahon (Manzur), Sam Hall (Rovers); Danny Hale (St Martin’s), Sam Murray (Northerners), Charlton Gauvain (Belgraves).

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