With Brenton Phillips commencing his 10th season as the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Talent Manager, we selected the best South Australian Under 18 team of the past decade, based on players’ performances at the national championships at this level.
Returning Melbourne footballer after 797 days between AFL games on Saturday, June 4, Jack Trengove was picked as skipper, with Murray Bridge lad Chad Wingard as his deputy.
“You’d love to roll this out as a State of Origin team,” Phillips smiled.
“There are quality players on every line.
“Along with that there are a number of great stories.
“Sam Gray stuck ‘fat’ and showed real resilience before being collected initially as a rookie by the Power.
“Chad Wingard single-handedly dragged us back into a game, where we came from behind to defeat Victorian Country at Adelaide Oval.
“What the quality of this team shows me is the great work the grass roots football clubs and the Talent and Develop Managers at SANFL clubs are doing around this state.
“Going back over our archives, you appreciate how good this side is, when you have a look the quality of players that missed out on selection.”
The side has players coming from the breadth of the state.
Scott Lycett was playing in Ceduna and Burra before coming across to Port Adelaide, Aaron Francis is a Riverland lad, while Tim O’Brien comes from Mount Gambier, and played in two A grade premierships with Wests before coming up to Adelaide.
Skipper Trengove lived in Naracoorte and played with the Kybybolite Tigers, before moving to Adelaide.
Sam Gray played and his family hails from the now amalgamated Rudall Football Club on the West Coast.
Sam Mayes, who played both as a bottom age and top agers, is a Port Pirie export, being a product of the Port Football Club.
He had already achieved Under 18 All Australian honours, was an AIS-AFL Academy graduate and had made his SANFL debut before being drafted.
The 2013 championships winning skipper and SA underage footballer at Under 12s, Under 16 and a two-year Under 18 level player, Luke Dunstan is a South Clare Demon.
A large number of players including the likes of Levi Greenwood (Whyalla), Luke Tapscott (Orroroo), Sam Colquhoun (Angaston), Jack Redden (Keith) and Lewis Johnston (Port Pirie) can feel a little aggrieved they didn’t make the final squad.
The SA Under 18 Team of the Decade 2007-2016 side:
B - Rory Laird (West Adelaide – Crows), Seb Tape (Glenelg – Suns), Luke Brown (Norwood – Crows);
HB - Matthew Scharenberg (Glenelg – Magpies), Aaron Francis (West Adelaide – Bombers), Hamish Hartlett (West Adelaide – Power);
C – Jared Polec (Woodville West Torrens – Lions/Power), Chad Wingard – vice captain (Sturt – Power), Brodie Smith (Woodville West Torrens – Crows);
HF – Wayne Milera (Central District – Crows), Sam Day (Sturt – Suns), Sam Mayes (North Adelaide –Lions);
For – Ben Kennedy (Glenelg – Magpies/Demons), Tim O'Brien (Glenelg – Hawks) Caleb Daniel (South Adelaide – Bulldogs);
1R – Brodie Grundy (Sturt – Magpies), Jack Trengove - captain (Sturt – Demons), Sam Gray (Port Adelaide – Power);
Interchange – Scott Lycett (Port Adelaide – Eagles), Luke Dunstan (Woodville West Torrens – Saints), James Aish (Norwood – Lions/Magpies), Lachlan Neale (Glenelg – Dockers)
Selectors – Brenton Phillips and Peter Argent