SANFL clubs continue to strengthen their local ties, with as many as 56 players earning $28,000 for Community Football Clubs under the BankSA Rookie program in 2018.
Surpassing the total of 52 players who made their debut last year and 46 in 2016, the class of 2018 each earned $500 for their original Community Football Club as well as a framed picture of them to hang in the clubrooms.
And there was no better story of perseverance than that of Norwood’s Will Abbott, who had to wait until the age of 26 to make his Macca’s League debut in Round 5.
Originally from the River Murray Football League club of Mypolonga, Abbott began his SANFL journey with Sturt’s junior programs in 2008.
Initially featuring in the Double Blues’ under-17 side, Abbott spent three years at Unley before heading back to the Tigers near Murray Bridge.
Then after seven seasons of senior football – the last two with Old Ignations in Division 2 of the Adelaide Football League – Abbott gave SANFL footy another crack with the Redlegs.
The gritty rover didn’t miss a game after breaking through to Jarrod Cotton’s best 21, as he formed an important defensive cog in the Redlegs’ deep midfield rotation.
At the other end of the spectrum, several talented teenagers also graced Macca’s League level for the first time, including likely AFL draftees Jackson Hately (Central) and Connor Rozee (North).
Hately won the Powerade Breakthrough Player award after performing strongly in his 12 outings through the midfield for the Bulldogs.
Rozee also played 12 Macca’s League games, including four finals and the 2018 Grand Final, in which he impressed in a rebounding role off half-back.
Round 1 proved to be the most productive weekend for Bank SA Rookies, with a total of 13 players from seven SANFL clubs playing their first Macca’s League match.
2018 BANKSA ROOKIES
Mark Noble (South) – Plympton FC
Robert Irra (Sturt) – O’Sullivan Beach/Lonsdale FC
Brad McCarthy (Glenelg) – Lucindale FC
Jackson Hately (Central) – Walkerville FC
Cooper Dahms (Central) – Nuriootpa FC
Lachlan Evans (West) – Flagstaff Hill FC
Levi Proude (Port) – Marble Range FC
Jack Kluske (Port) – Mypolonga FC
Aron Asfaha (Adelaide) – Fitzroy FC
Sam Venning (Adelaide) – Brighton FC
William Rivers (Adelaide) – Brighton FC
Nick Pedro (Norwood) – Tasman FC
Hugo Munn (Sturt) – Unley FC
Mackenzie Slee (North) – Walkerville FC
Conor Noonan (West) – Plympton FC
James Rowe (Eagles) – Henley FC
Tim Sullivan (Glenelg) – Port MacDonnell FC
Liam Fitt (South) – McLaren FC
Mitchell Mead (Port) – SMOSH West Lakes
Kyle Crompton (Port) – Roopena FC
Brad Close (Glenelg) – North Gambier FC
Cole Gerloff (Norwood) – Eastern Ranges FC
Will Abbott (Norwood) – Mypolonga FC
Connor Rozee (North) – South Augusta FC
Darcy Ginever (Port) – SMOSH West Lakes FC
Nathan Kreuger (South) – Victor Harbor FC
Chris Barns (North) – Morphettville Park FC
Tyson Irlam (Adelaide) – Willaston FC
Sam Walker (Glenelg) – South Gambier FC
Harrison Slee (Adelaide) – West Augusta FC
Elliot Dunkin (West) – PHOS Camden FC
Tate Coleman (South) – Happy Valley FC
Dale Finnie (Port) – Portland FC
Jack Yates (Glenelg) – Brighton FC
James Siviour (Norwood) – Tea Tree Gully FC
Jackson Elmes (South) – Victor Harbor FC
Coby Helyar (South) – Dudley United FC
Tobin Cox (Glenelg) – Padthaway FC
Isaac Johnson (West) – Flinders Park FC
Jordan Boyle (Adelaide) – Salisbury North FC
Jaidan Kappler (South) – Port Noarlunga FC
Harry Morgan (Port) – Plympton FC
Jez McLennan (Central) – Tanunda FC
Keelan Laube (West) – Goodwood Saints FC
Boyd Woodcock (North) – Bute FC
Keanu Miller (North) – Portland FC
Jake Wohling (North) – Crystal Brook FC
Hayden Sampson (South) – Myponga Sellicks FC
Adam Connelly (Adelaide) – South Gawler FC
Michael Ortiz (Port) – Unley FC
Aaron Nietschke (Central) – Eudunda Robertstown FC
Luke Edmonds (Sturt) – Hahndorf FC
Daniel Fahey-Sparks (Sturt) – Glenunga FC
Darcy Pisani (Norwood) – Tea Tree Gully FC
Rupert Peake (Adelaide) – Edwardstown FC
Jamahl Weetra (Adelaide) – Salisbury FC
CHIEF SANFL WRITER