South Adelaide ruckman Keegan Brooksby has had his outstanding season recognised by being named captain of The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.
Returning to the Panthers in 2018 after spending the past three seasons with the Gold Coast Suns, Brooksby led from the front for his beloved Navy Blue, ensuring he would start in the centre square for the all-star line-up.
The 28-year-old led the Macca’s League in total hit outs (620) and average hit outs (34.4) while also averaging 15 disposals and five marks as he worked hard around the ground and in attack to boot 16 goals.
Brooksby was joined in the SANFL’s best 21 by fellow Panthers Nick Liddle and Joel Cross, with the former enjoying arguably his best season in the Macca’s League in the twilight of his glittering career.
Sturt has the most representatives with five, including Ken Farmer Medallist Mark Evans at full forward and excitement machine Shane McAdam next to him in the forward pocket.
Former Double Blue Patrick Wilson is the sole selection for Adelaide’s SANFL Team, with the Crows’ best-and-fairest winner averaging an impressive 28 disposals in his first year at West Lakes.
Norwood’s latest dual Magarey Medallist, Mitch Grigg, is fittingly named at centre, alongside fellow Redleg Lewis Johnston, who has thrived with his new role on the wing to collect 501 possessions in 2018.
In defence, Team of the Year debutants Callum Wilkie and Chris Curran are the success stories as the two unheralded backmen start to gain some recognition outside of Prospect and Glenelg respectively.
Wilkie provided plenty of drive off half-back to average 20 disposals while Curran thrived as one of the Tigers’ co-captains this year to take more marks (160) than any other player in the Macca’s League.
Eagles co-captain Luke Thompson is the vice-captain of the side, as he joins the other wise heads of Fraser Evans and Jack Stephens in what looms as a formidable back six.
The strength of the side is illustrated by the calibre of players on the interchange bench, headlined by dual Magarey Medallist Zane Kirkwood and the competition’s leading disposal winner in Central’s Travis Schiller.
West captain Tom Keough edges out his Bloods team-mate Kaine Stevens on a needs basis, given the former Suns rookie can play in all sectors of the ground to a high standard.
Norwood’s Jarrod Cotton has been selected as the Coach of the all-star line-up, with the Redlegs’ mentor elevating his team into this year’s title-decider after getting bundled out of last season’s Elimination Final by Central District.
Cotton was also under pressure early in the season when his side was laden with a 1-3 win-loss record after four rounds before winning the club’s next 13 matches in succession en route to claiming the minor premiership.
Players were selected on their form across the entire minor round, with AFL-listed players eligible for Macca’s League finals also considered eligible for The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.
This year’s team was selected by SANFL’s Adam Kelly, Tom Hurley and Zac Milbank, Channel 7’s Mark Soderstrom and The Advertiser’s Chief SANFL Writer, Warren Partland.
2018 ADVERTISER SANFL TEAM OF THE YEAR
F: Shane McAdam (Sturt), Mark Evans (Sturt), Jack Hayes (Eagles)
HF: Joel Cross (South), Josh Scott (Glenelg), Patrick Wilson (Adelaide)
C: Lewis Johnston (Norwood), Mitch Grigg (Norwood), James Boyd (Eagles)
HB: Jarred Allmond (North), Luke Thompson (Eagles), Callum Wilkie (North)
B: Chris Curran (Glenelg), Fraser Evans (Sturt), Jack Stephens (Sturt)
R: Keegan Brooksby (South), Matthew Panos (Norwood), Nick Liddle (South)
INT: Zane Kirkwood (Sturt), Tom Keough (West), Travis Schiller (Central)
COACH: Jarrod Cotton (Norwood)
CAPTAIN: Keegan Brooksby (South)
VICE-CAPTAIN: Luke Thompson (Eagles)
CHIEF SANFL WRITER