Here in SA plans have been afoot for a long time. The selection process hinges on results in SA's only big (standard format) tournament, Southern Shrike Bowl, with the top two SA-based players in 2011 and 2012 qualifying. This means there are already four "Steelballs" on the team; myself, Evan (One Eye), Adam (Olaf) and Mikey (lone duck). In the next month or so a "wildcard" entry vote will be undertaken to choose the final two team members.
In NSW an arcane process of result averaging, tournament ranking and numerological divination (I think) has resulted in two current team members (Pete - tribalsinner and Iain - Grumpsh), with more to follow as qualification tournaments occur. I sure as hell don't understand the process, but then I don't need to because I'm South Australian! Regardless, the "Blue Bloods" have also been on it for a while and will certainly be hard to beat.
In the rugged West there are also a series of qualification tournaments set to determine their team, and this process has been underway for a while. Three of what were called the "Western Brawlers" last year have been chosen (Duro - Frosthammer, Drew - Reaper and Rob - Fanglord13), although a decision still needs to be made whether the team retains this name.
In the tiny outpost of the ACT, the corridors of power are, well, very quiet. In offices with padded leather walls and large wooden desks, the furtive rulers of the land argue over who to send. Of course, the decision is an important one, because the "PM's VI" won this whole shebang last time and are, I'm sure, keen to repeat the performance. Of course, I have no idea if the marble-paved roads of the nation's capital resound with the aforementioned arguments, but I do know that team captain, and individual champion from 2011, Andrew Vulling (Shadow) is on the case.
Up north, the hustle is also on. Last year the "Battle Toads" placed last, needing a ring-in (affectionately dubbed "Marooncard") to make up their numbers. But this time they look to be ready and the call has gone out to the four (or is it five?) leagues of the maroon state. An exact selection process is yet to be determined, but we can be sure that a team will come together soon.
Heading to the other end of the mainland, the Victorians have also begun recruiting under the prodding of self-proclaimed team captain Andrew (JoeKano). A rigorous selection process has been applied that requires, in order, residency, recent tournament attendance, availability and spousal consent. Of course, if more than six qualify under these criteria, only those that can actually stomach a stubby of VB (and, hence, qualify as "Victorian") will end up going (only kidding guys, love ya, really).
Two additional outposts of Blood Bowl glory remain, as yet, unknown. In the humid depths of the Darwinian north, a Northern Territory team has been invited along with a team of unintelligible trans-Tasman international travellers from New Zealand. In both cases we sincerely hope a team can be formed but, at the current time, cannot be 100% certain. We will keep everyone posted on whether we can entice these two "new" teams into the competition.
And finally, of course, is the hype over the SA Open! Even if you don't make a representative team, the atmosphere of so many coaches from different parts of the country getting together is something you shouldn't miss. In 2011, 12 coaches fought for the NSW Open, with "Hammer" winning out as the first Open Champion. Many interstate coaches have committed to making the trip even if they don't make their representative team, as the experience itself is just incredible. The Open has its own attractions, however, with prizes on offer for the victorious. Especially if you are local to Adelaide, don't miss this event!
Wherever you are coming from and whichever team you're rooting for, let me be the first to wish you the best in the run-up to the tournament. I am truly pumped and can't wait to see old friends and meet new ones in March, next year!