Sharp joins a special group of SA talents


Torrens University SA U16 captain Dyson Sharp was awarded the prestigious Kevin Sheehan Medal as the best player in Division One following his ultra-consistent performances at the 2023 AFL U16 National Championships.

The medal has been named after the 100-game Geelong footballer and long-term AFL national talent identification manager Sheehan, who has been in these roles since the 1980s.

Sharp was high in the Croweaters’ best in each of the three games, with his 33- possession-performance in the wet at Heritage Bank Stadium against Victorian Country one of those special efforts in an outstanding team performance that will be long remembered.

A Central District junior, Sharp hails from the Barossa District Football Club in the Barossa, Light and Gawler (BLG) competition, and was also a ”bottom-age” member of 2022 Torrens University SA U16 side, which won the title.

He played predominately in defence in the 2022 tournament, earning All-Australian honours.

“He was dominant through all three games this year,” Torrens University SA Under 16 coach Julian Farkas said.

”Along with being great leader and teammate, Dyson enjoys playing the game and makes it fun.

‘(He) leads by example on the field, being tough at the contest and wins his own ball.

“He sees the game well and distributes the ball creatively.

“He’s a hard worker who is so impactful on a contest and in the game.”

Last year, Sharp was also captain of the SA schoolboys (Under 15) state side, coached by eight-time Central District premiership player Matthew Slade, which also won that championship.

This year in the Torrens University SANFL Under 16s, Sharp is second in the competition for total disposals, despite playing just eight games, and is averaging a massive 39.6 possessions per match so far this season.

Torrens University SA U16 captain Dyson Sharp won the Kevin Sheehan Medal as the best performed player in Division One at the AFL National Championships. Picture – Peter Argent

He has joined an elite group of SA football talents who have won this award since its inception in 1996.

They include Carlton small forward and fellow Central District junior footballer Corey Durdin in the title-winning year of 2018.

In two other title-winning seasons 2016 and 2011, Port Adelaide star Connor Rozee (and North Adelaide 2018 premiership player) and twice Norwood league premiership player now at Fremantle, James Aish, collected this gong.

The first South Australia footballers to win the Sheehan Medal were West Adelaide’s Tim Schmidt and Glenelg’s Josh Willoughby with their performances in the 2002 titles.

The pair would both be drafted to Sydney, where Schmidt played 36 senior games, while Willoughby came back and played SANFL League football with the Bays.

Another Tiger, James Sellar, won the Sheehan Medal in 2005, while Hamish Hartlett collected the accolade in 2006.

Sellar played AFL footy with Adelaide and Melbourne, while Hartlett had a 193-game AFL career with the Power, before returning to his SANFL club, West Adelaide.

Sharp is the son of highly decorated BLG footballer, Darren.

A key position player who could kick goals or provide dash out of defence, Darren Sharp played upwards of 250 A-grade games for Barossa District, being a key in four flags, 2006-07 and 2012 and 2013, the latter two under the guidance of SA Football Hall of Famer, Roger James.

Back in 2005, Darren Sharp was the BLG’s leading goal kicker.

A young Dyson Sharp with his father Darren after one of his dad’s A-grade premiership wins with Barossa Districts. Picture – Peter Argent

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