Tag: team of the year

Draft Central’s 2021 SANFL Under 18s Team of the Year

WITH only Saturday’s grand final left to play, now is the perfect time to look back at the SANFL Under 18s season that was in Draft Central‘s 2021 Team of the Year (TOTY). Finalists Glenelg and Woodville-West Torrens combined to contribute nine members of the 22-man squad, which is led by West Adelaide midfielder Cade Kennedy (captain) and highly touted South Adelaide prospect Arlo Draper (vice-captain).

Nine of the selected group represented South Australia in last month’s Under 19 National Championships bout against Western Australia, while a further two did so at Under 17 level this year. There were also plenty of talented South Australians who narrowly missed, either due to playing more football up the grades, in school competitions, or through the squad’s overall strength.

We take you through all 22 selections line-by-line, highlighting the strengths each squad member brings to the collective and exactly why they each feature.


FB: Charlie Pridham (West Adelaide) – Dayne McGary (Glenelg) – Brock Thomson (Woodville-West Torrens)
Blayne O’Loughlin (North Adelaide) – Oscar Adams (Glenelg) – Lewis Rayson (Glenelg)

Clean foot skills and composure with ball in hand are prominent traits of the TOTY defence. Named in the back pocket, West Adelaide’s Charlie Pridham enjoyed a standout season for the Bloods, playing every game (including two finals), and finishing with the most disposals and kicks of anyone in the competition. A reliable contributor down back, Pridham remained calm under pressure and provided plenty of rebound and drive from the backline.

Glenelg’s Dayne McGary earned selection at full back following a strong season in the yellow and black, which saw him average 15 disposals and six marks per game. Often assigned the oppositions best tall forward, McGary’s strength and clean kicking were vital for the Bays’ success. Eagles defender Brock Thomson was an obvious selection down back following an ultra consistent year for the grand finalists, which saw him average 23 disposals, four marks and close to six rebound 50s.

North Adelaide gun Blayne O’Loughlin demanded a half-back spot after a terrific season at Prospect which saw him earn state Under 19 selection. As clean and composed as anyone under duress, O’Loughlin’s attacking instincts and dash from defence were hallmarks of the Roosters’ game plan. Oscar Adams joins fellow Tiger McGary in defence, slotting into the centre half-back role. Adams spent the year rotating between the ruck and a defensive role, with his height, reach and aerial prowess earning him state honours.

State Under 19 vice-captain Lewis Rayson slots in on the other half-back flank, having provided the Bays with plenty of trademark run-and-carry throughout the season. Also effective through the midfield, Rayson is a high metres gained type of player, whose dare and attack on the ball has proven valuable for SA and Glenelg alike.


C: Isaac Birt (South Adelaide) – Cade Kennedy (West Adelaide, captain) – Dustin Launer (Woodville-West Torrens)
Will Verrall (South Adelaide) – Hugh Jackson (North Adelaide) – Arlo Draper (South Adelaide, vice-captain,)

South Adelaide’s Isaac Birt was a simple selection on the wing following a breakout season which saw him rise to become one of the state’s best outside midfielders. His combination of speed, endurance and crisp ball use cut apart games week-after-week, with his Round 10 effort against Norwood (31 disposals, two goals, 11 marks, five tackles and eight inside-50s) sure to have caught the attention of scouts.

Hard-working West Adelaide skipper Cade Kennedy is the starting centreman in the TOTY and has been named captain after displaying tremendous on-field leadership to inspire the Bloods’ rise from bottom last season to a preliminary final berth. He averaged 27 disposals, six marks, five tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s as one of the competition’s most well-rounded on-ballers. Hard at the contest but an effective run and carry option, Kennedy is well-deserving of a spot in the starting midfield.

Eagles utility Dustin Launer could have slotted into just about any position on the team, such is his versatility, but his efforts in a balanced midfield role see him selected on the wing. A classy ball user and hard runner, Launer collected 30 disposals in five games, including efforts of 42 and 37 (twice). Talented bottom-aged Panther Will Verrall narrowly edged out Centrals’ Saxon Evans and West’s Oscar Steene to win the number one ruck role. Verrall finished second in the competition for total hitouts, but was arguably more dominant when the ball hit the ground, with his ball-use and willingness to compete at ground level impressive for a player of his height.

North Adelaide’s Hugh Jackson was another obvious choice in the midfield rotation. He shot out of the blocks and finished with an average of 29 disposals, five marks, four clearances and five inside 50s. A smooth mover and good ball user on his left foot, Jackson was also clever by hand throughout the year. Despite spending time in the Reserves and League grades, South Adelaide’s Arlo Draper was too good at Under 18s level to leave out of the team of the year. Averaging 24 disposals, four marks, five tackles, six clearances and a goal per game, Draper was a class above the field in his nine matches. A classy mover who excels in traffic at stoppages, Draper also proved difficult to handle up forward and has been named vice-captain of the side.


HF: Hugh Stagg (Glenelg) – Will Pearce (Woodville-West Torrens) – Jesse Thackeray (West Adelaide)
Jack Delean (South Adelaide) – Corey Brougham (Glenelg) – Zyton Santillo (North Adelaide)

The half-forward line of the TOTY certainly packs a punch, led by Glenelg bull Hugh Stagg. Stagg’s power and strength was integral to the Bays’ engine room throughout the year, but he also proved his worth up forward by kicking 23 goals in 13 games for the minor premiers. At centre half-forward, competition leading goal kicker Will Pearce demanded selection after a dominant season with the Eagles which saw him bag 47 majors from 20 matches and lead the competition in contested marks. Loxton North product Jesse Thackeray produced a great season for the Bloods. Splitting his time between the midfield and half-forward, Thackeray’s work rate was always high and his defensive work wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by the West Adelaide coaching staff.

Despite not being draft eligible for another couple of years, brilliant small forward Jack Delean is thoroughly deserving of his forward pocket role. He booted 26 goals in eight Under 16 matches to help the Panthers to the flag earlier in the season, then took to the Under 18 competition like a duck to water, bagging 35 goals in 13 matches – including two hauls of five, never failing to hit the scoreboard. Electric at forward-50 stoppages, Delean wrecked havoc in the air and on the ground in a sensational season in the blue and white.

Glenelg’s Corey Brougham narrowly edged teammate Jack Harding to take out the all-important full forward position. A reliable set shot for goal, booting 38 goals in 14 matches, Brougham was unstoppable on the lead and his vice-like hands saw him mark just about everything which came his way. Zippy Rooster Zyton Santillo‘s defensive pressure and creative ball use through the midfield and in attack saw him earn a spot on the opposing pocket. Santillo produced a consistent season, finishing with an average of 23 disposals, five marks, five tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s per game.


Matthew Dnistriansky (Norwood) – Jordan Lukac (Woodville-West Torrens) – Saxon Evans (Central District) – Harvey Harrison (North Adelaide)

The interchange bench was hotly contested, but Norwood’s Matthew Dnistriansky simply had to be picked to fill a role across the backline. Norwood’s most consistent player in what was a tricky year for the defending premiers, Dnistriansky’s measured ball use, sound vision and decision making were highlights of his year.

Following a dominant preliminary final showing, in which he booted five goals and lead his team to victory, Eagles captain Jordan Lukac was a late inclusion into the squad. Impressive up forward, the athletic big man also helped out in the ruck and got stronger as the season wore on. Bulldogs tall Saxon Evans finished the season with the most hit-outs of anyone and is arguably the best tap-ruckman in the state. Athletically gifted, Evans was perhaps unlucky not to be given a run in the state side against Western Australia.

Harvey Harrison is North Adelaide’s fourth selection in the team of the year. A midfielder with terrific running power and handy skills at top speed, Harrison is good in-tight but spreads as well as anyone in the competition. He finished the year averaging 25 disposals, six marks, four tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s.

Unlucky to miss: 

As is the case with all representative sides, there are a number of talented players who should consider themselves unlucky to have missed the cut. Glenelg had a number of fantastic contributors throughout the season, including medium defender Cooper Beecken, smart forward Harry Tunkin, classy midfielders Darcy Gluyas and Hunter Window, and strong-marking tall forward Jack Harding.

West Adelaide’s Kobe Ryan would have easily made the side but spent much of the year playing college football with Sacred Heart. His Bloods teammates Dylan White and Luke Young also narrowly missed out. Central District struggled at times, but Tahjin Krieg and Isaiah Dudley were standout performers. From South Adelaide, rebounding defender Lachlan Hayes and nimble midfielder Luke Mitton could also consider themselves unlucky to have narrowly missed the cut.

Draft Central Team of the Year: NAB League Girls

WITH so many impressive individuals performing across the NAB League Girls nine-week season, it was incredibly tough to pick our Draft Central Team of the Year for 2019. The Team of the Year is decided by the amount of Team of the Week nominations a player receives, with everyone in the team receiving between three and seven nominations for the year. There were a further 10 players who were unlucky to miss out on the team despite receiving three nominations, while another 18 players – 52 in total – received at least two nominations.

Three players received the highest amount of nominations, with Western Jets’ Elisabeth Georgostathis, Dandenong Stingrays’ Brooke Vernon and Calder Cannons’ Georgie Prespakis making our Team of the Week seven times. Georgostathis has been named captain of the side, having led the Jets in season 2019. Two other club captains – Geelong Falcons’ Lucy McEvoy and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ Sophie Molan – as well as Falcons midfielder Paige Sheppard, received six nominations to make our 24-player squad.

It is a phenomenal effort to even have five nominations – more than half the possible games – and Sandringham Dragons duo, Sarah Hartwig and Alice Burke, Northern Knights duo Gabby Newton and Britney Gutknecht, Calder Cannons captain Georgia Patrikios, and Eastern Ranges tall Serena Gibbs all achieved that feat. In terms of those players with four nominations and thus automatically qualifying for the side are Stingrays’ key defender Zoe Hill, potential Collingwood father-daughter selection Tarni Brown, Gippsland Power defender Matilda Van Berkel, Murray Bushrangers’ captain Millie Brown, and Northern Knights middle-age duo Jess Fitzgerald and Ellie McKenzie.

Of the remaining six players chosen to make the side, there were Oakleigh Chargers duo Emily Harley and Gemma Lagioia, both of whom have been electrifying at times in an even team, top five leading goalkicker, Northern’s Nell Morris-Dalton, Geelong Falcons talls; competition leading goalkicker Mia Skinner and reliable defender Abbey Chapman, and Bendigo Pioneers tackling machine Brooke Hards. The emphasis for the remaining players with three nominations was to allow for top-agers to fill the side, but Hards’ efforts were that impressive – summed up by winning the Bendigo Pioneers’ Best and Fairest award – that she earned a spot in the side.

In terms of club spread, it is no surprise to see minor premiers Northern Knights with the most nominees, having five in the side, while reigning premiers Geelong Falcons had four. A number of sides had two each including finalists, Calder Cannons and Eastern Ranges, as well as Dandenong Stingrays, Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons, while Bendigo Pioneers, Gippsland Power, GWV Rebels, Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets had one player each. In terms of the three emergencies, key defenders Kate Douglass (Bendigo) and Isabelle Pritchard (Western), and Murray midfielder Abby Favell were the next three in line for a spot in the team.

Eight players followed up from their Draft Central Team of the Year in 2018 with a second nomination, those being Knights, Newton, Gutknecht and McKenzie, as well as Georgostathis, Burke, McEvoy and Patrikios.

Dandenong, Oakleigh make up one third of the 2018 TAC Cup Team of the Year

DANDENONG Stingrays and Oakleigh Chargers have made up one third of the TAC Cup Team of the Year, with four players each in the league’s best 24. Calder Cannons and Sandringham Dragons have three representatives each, while Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power, Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets have two players each. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Northern Knights have one player each, while neither Bendigo Pioneers nor Eastern Ranges have a player in the team.

Dandenong Stingrays’ coach Craig Black was named coach of the Team of the Year after winning the minor premiership last week. Among the team are Victorian Most Valuable Players (MVPs) Bailey Smith and Sam Walsh, and TAC Cup leading goal kickers Hudson Garoni and Charlie Wilson. Of the 24 players, all bar Liam Stocker (injured) and Campbell Hustwaite, represented Victoria at the National Under 18 Championships.

2013 TAC Cup team of the year

TAC Cup AA Discussion  Listen to the discussion on the team with Peter Williams and Jourdan Canil on SYN FM’s ”The Sports Desk’. 

Rising Stars writer Jourdan Canil, who wrote his phantom draft earlier in the year, has devised a team of the best TAC Cup players for 2013. Much like the All-Australian team there are always some surprise inclusions and shock omissions. This is how he saw the TAC Cup this season in the form of a best 22 and overall squad of 40.


1. Must have played at least eight games to be eligible

2. Consistency was rewarded

3. Squad must be even. Two ruckmen, 11 forwards, 11 backmen and 16 midfielders



Aaron Heppell (GP)
Isaiah Miller (BP)
Zak Jones (DS)
Darcy Gardiner (GF)
Fraser Fort (GF)
Guy Dickson (OC)
Hugh Beasley (OC)
Louis Herbert (NB)
Jake Lever (CC)
Dan McStay (ER)
Karl Amon (SD)

Jack Leslie (GP)
Agape Patolo (DS)

Josh Scott (GP)
Jarman Impey (MB)
Clayton McCartney (DS)
Billy Hogan (OC)
James Toohey (OC)
Dallas Willsmore (NB)
Jake Owen (CC)
Mitchell Norton (WJ)
Christian Petracca (ER)
James Sicily (WJ)
Jay Kennedy-Harris (OC)

Nathaniel Paredes (GP)
Alex Carr (GP)
Sam Heavyside (BP)
Jacob Chisari (BP)
Michael Gibbons (MB)
Josh Turner (NK)
Matthew Haynes (NK)
Billy Hartung (DS)
Alex Hickey (GF)
Darcy Lang (GF)
James Tsitas (GF)
Lewis Taylor (GF)
Lachlan Cassidy (NB)
Matthew Merlo (CC)
Ben Cavarra (ER)
Jake Greiser (WJ)

B: Zac Jones (DS) – Darcy Gardiner (GF) – Jake Lever (CC)
HB: Isaiah Miller (BP) – Fraser Fort (GF) – Louis Herbert (NB)
C: Ben Cavarra (ER) – Jacob Chisari (BP) – Sam Heavyside (BP)
HF: James Sicily (WJ) – James Toohey (OC) – Jay Kennedy-Harris (OC)
F: Billy Hartung (DS) – Josh Scott (GP) – Christian Petracca (ER)
R: Jack Leslie (GP) – Lewis Taylor (GF) – Matt Merlo (CC)

INT: James Tsitas (GF) – Lachlan Cassidy (NB) –  Josh Turner (NK) – Guy Dickson (OC)

Interestingly, the only team that doesn’t have a representative in the team of the year is Sandringham. Karl Amon barely met the eligibility criteria and scraped into the squad of 40 but guys like Josh Kelly, Christian Salem and Nathan Freeman all played too few games.

Northern Knights only had two players selected in the squad. Neither Ben Lennon nor Marcus Bontempelli played enough games to make it into the squad. Josh Turner and Matthew Haynes have had consistent years. They are both smokies to go late in the draft.

Eastern Ranges also had quite a few guys miss out. Tom Boyd and Mitch Honeychurch haven’t played enough games. Dan McStay was stiff to not make the team and Ben Cavarra might have been lucky to get a spot on the wing. Christian Petracca is one of only two 17-year-olds to make it into the team of the year, alongside Calder’s Jake Lever.

Finally, Bendigo can say they haven’t been overlooked. Jacob Chisari has played 15 games and been named in the bests 13 times, while Sam Heavyside has played nine games and has been named in the bests every time. Isaiah Miller, their most promising prospect was named on the half back flank.

North Ballarat Rebels also had a solid showing for a wooden spoon side. Matt Crouch was ineligible, but Louis Herbert and Lachlan Cassidy were named in the 22. Dallas Willsmore was named in the squad.

The Falcons were a little luckier than Sandringham. A lot of their top end players just scraped into eligibility. Nick Bourke hasn’t had enough impact through the year to be named, but midfielders Lewis Taylor, James Tsitas, Darcy Lang and Alex Hickey have all made the squad, with the first two making the team. Fraser Fort and Darcy Gardiner, the two best key defenders (although Fort is more than capable up forward) have made the team as well.

Dandenong had a few players who were very close to selection, both in the 22 and the squad. Nathan Gardiner was close to making the squad. Clay McCartney is too inconsistent to make the 22 but he’s certainly played well enough to make the 40. Agape Patolo has been underwhelming after injury problems early in the year but still one of the better ruckmen. Billy Hartung just made the games requirement, but is certainly worthy of a spot. Zak Jones has been consistent and played better than his statistics suggest.

Calder was the hardest team to select from. They have plenty of ‘solid’ players who have got them through the year, but the lack of polish and x-factor made it hard. Jake Owen has been ultra consistent. Matt Merlo hasn’t been talked about enough. Half the games he’s played in, he’s been in Calder’s top two players. Jake Lever thoroughly deserves his spot, despite the amount of competition for key defensive posts.

Murray has struggled for representatives. Despite sitting in eighth, only Michael Gibbons and Jarman Impey have stood out. Gibbons is a bit stiff to miss out on making the team. Impey has been up and down in form, but he’s one of the classiest players in this draft class. Having said that, he hasn’t had enough games where he’s torn the opposition to shreds to get a gig.

The Western Jets have had a host of guys who have performed very solidly all year. James Sicily and Jake Greiser have been the best of those. Mitchell Norton also made it into the squad marginally over the Ranges’ Andreas Roth as a full-time small forward, but his lack of time in the midfield stopped him from getting into the 22.

Oakleigh has had quite the range of representatives in the squad. Jack Billings and Will Maginness haven’t played enough games to make the cut. Darcy Gardiner got the nod over Hugh Beasley for the main lock down defensive spot, and Jake Lever just edged out Guy Dickson for the third defender role. Jay Kennedy-Harris has been phenomenal this year, which earns him a spot next to versatile big man James Toohey. Billy Hogan just missed out on a spot in the forward pocket.

The Power are a team with a lot of strong bodied, consistent players, but there weren’t many guys who screamed out “pick me”. Jack Leslie got the number one ruck spot. Aaron Heppell just missed out on a spot in the team but was one of the first picked in the squad. Alex Carr and Nathan Paredes have both had excellent years, but neither made the team. Josh Scott, the league’s leading goal kicker, was the obvious choice for full forward considering his year.