By ZAC MILBANK
SANFL clubs continue to strengthen their local ties, with as many as 57 players earning $28,500 for Community Football Clubs under the RAA Rookie program in 2019.
Surpassing the total of 56 players who made their debut last year, 52 in 2017 and 46 in 2016, the class of 2019 each earned $500 for their original Community Football Club as well as a framed picture of them to hang in the clubrooms.
West Adelaide’s Nigel Osborn was this year’s significant story of perseverance, making his debut at the age of 28 for the Bloods in Round 7.
A perennial representative for the SA Country team, Osborn started his SANFL journey back in 2007 with Woodville-West Torrens’ Under-17 team.
After playing for the CMS Crows on Yorke Peninsula and Mallala in the Adelaide Plains Football League, the strongly-built midfielder finally earned his call after logging a season and a half in the Bloods’ Reserves.
Another mature-age revelation in 2019 was North Adelaide’s utility Billy Laurie, who played in all 18 of the Roosters’ League games this year after making his debut in Round 1.
Originally from Kybybolite in the south-east, the 26-year-old decided to test himself at State League level after previously lining up with Glenelg in 2012 and Keith in 2018.
Laurie was one of 10 RAA Rookies for North this year, as coach Josh Carr looked to promote talent from within for the long-term future of the club.
South Adelaide and Central District each had eight debutants to round out the top three SANFL clubs for promoting local talent in 2019.
Players with familiar surnames such as Jake Weidemann and Casey Voss lined up in League company for the first time while several of SA’s AFL Draft targets also tested themselves against mature opponents.
All-Australian Under-18s Will Gould, Dylan Stephens and Jackson Mead made their League debuts, with Gould featuring in Glenelg’s drought-breaking premiership win against Port Adelaide in the Statewide Super League Grand Final.
Stephens and fellow RAA Rookie Cam Taheny played in the Redlegs’ 2019 Reserves Premiership after showing exciting signs at League level.
Two players eligible for the 2020 AFL Draft – West Adelaide’s Riley Thilthorpe and Central’s Corey Durdin – also joined the list of RAA Rookies despite only being 17 years of age.
|Round||Player||SANFL Club||Local Club|
|1||Darnell Tucker||South||Happy Valley|
|1||Hamish Latchford||Adelaide||Prince Alfred OC|
|1||Jake Weidemann||Eagles||Woodville South|
|1||Kai Pudney||Port||Port Districts|
|2||Kysaiah Pickett||Eagles||Port District|
|2||James Schwarz||North||Flinders Park|
|3||Cooper Gaffney||Eagles||Port District|
|3||Kyle Emery||South||Lincoln South|
|3||Patrick Fairlie||West||Goodwood Saints|
|3||Mitchell Johnson||Adelaide||Flagstaff Hill|
|4||Cameron Taheny||Norwood||Eastern Ranges|
|4||Strato Agorastos||North||Payneham Norwood Union|
|4||William Coomblas||Sturt||Unley Jets|
|5||Lee Hoey||South||Morphett Vale|
|6||Frank Szekely||North||Central Augusta|
|7||Nicholas Moore||Eagles||SMOSH West Lakes|
|7||Flynn Pisani||Central||Tea Tree Gully|
|8||Josh Richards||Norwood||Payneham Norwood Union|
|9||Brodie Carroll||Norwood||Tea Tree Gully|
|10||Steve Burton||Central||Barmera Monash|
|10||Mihail Lochowiak||Sturt||Payneham Norwood Union|
|13||Corey Durdin||Central||Golden Grove|
|13||Riley Thilthorpe||West||Goodwood Saints|
|13||Pierce Seymour||Adelaide||Payneham Norwood Union|
|14||Darcy Le Cornu||Glenelg||Mitcham|
|14||Karl Finlay||North||Central Augusta|
|14||Jackson Mead||Eagles||SMOSH West Lakes|
|14||Cameron Ball||Norwood||Golden Grove|
|14||Reece Milsom||South||Flagstaff Hill|
|17||Oliver Shaw||Central||Tea Tree Gully|
|18||Terrel Rigney||North||Salisbury West|