IT has been an exciting few weeks for South Australian football, with former-SANFL prospects across the AFL grasping their opportunities throughout the preseason.
With a host of players scattered throughout all AFL clubs as both rookies and senior listed players, we will undoubtedly get to catch a glimpse of more local talent at the highest level this year.
Most AFL teams selected a mixture of youth and experience in this format, and it was exciting to see some quick, high scoring footy. SA players to catch the eye over the spread of games were Adelaide Crows duo Lachlan Murphy and Patrick Wilson, who both cut their teeth at SANFL level and stepped up in the AFL environment.
2017 Fremantle draftees Stefan Giro and Mitch Crowden had their opportunity and showed they were ready. Giro was a standout and rewarded with a position in Fremantle’s JLT season opener.
Ex-Glenelg boys Dom Barry and Willie Rioli showed they will be dangerous around goal for their teams. Brisbane also blooded some youngsters with highly rated 2017 Prince Alfred College student Zac Bailey impressing, along with Brisbane rookie Mitchell Hinge being up to the task. Former Sturt and Mitcham Hawk Lewis Young was among the best for the Bulldogs, and Nick Holman slotted in well for Gold Coast.
The first set of JLT Community Series games saw more SA talent on show. Former Glenelg and Sacred Heart College Alex Neal-Bullen looks set to take his game to a new level with a great hit-out for Melbourne.
Pick 12 from the 2017 National Draft, Darcy Fogarty, got a taste of AFL with the Crows and was rewarded with a goal. Stefan Giro continued to stake his claim for round one selection with alongside SA boy Brennan Cox at the Dockers. Ex-North Adelaide junior ruckman Peter Ladhams managed to get some minutes in for Port Adelaide.
With the remainder of JLT games this weekend we hope to see more young SA talent on show.
SANFL Trial Games:
All players returned to their SANFL clubs with some U16 and U18 internal trial games held over the week. Formal trial games for U18, Reserves and League sides are coming up and that will give more opportunity to see this year’s crop of potential SA draft picks on show.
Full schedule of trial games can be found here.
SANFL Clubs Voice Concern:
SANFL clubs have today bound together to issue a statement regarding gaming machine revenue amidst the upcoming State election.
In response to talk of introducing maximum one dollar bets and seven-year gaming machine licences, the clubs stated that such laws would “effectively be killing SANFL clubs”, placing extreme demand on club volunteers.
While the statement avoided directly naming which parties or politicians would enforced the new rules, it implored supporters to “vote wisely” when at polling booths.
With waning membership figures and sponsorship money, as much as 50 per cent of annual revenue comes from gaming machines, making them crucial to each club’s viability.
A major concern voiced through the statement was that reduced revenue would bring an end to many SA football programs; including junior programs in local and regional areas, elite pathway programs, and the expansion of the female game.
The clubs sought to stress that they provide a “highly regulated gaming environment” and that they hold Club Safe accreditation, which they say allows them to minimise harm from public gaming.
The State election is set to be held on Saturday, March 17, two weeks before the start of the SANFL season.