Think! Road Safety SA Country Team of the Decade – defence line

Sponsored by THINK! Road Safety

Freelance photojournalist and prolific SA country football writer Peter Argent, state selector and Murray South East Regional Director Scott Duncan and SA Country coach Steve Lubke, undefeated for four years during this period, have spent the off season selecting the unofficial Think! Road Safety SA Country Team of the Decade (2010-2019).

The full team will be unveiled in a four-part series. This week – the defence line.

By Peter Argent

A number of players were regarded as automatic selections among the defensive six in The Think! Road Safety SA Country Team of the Decade, 2010-2019.

Athletic South Clare footballer Michael Liebelt won the most discussed position at centre half back.

Like vice-captain Todd Miles, he could have been selected as a key forward, or to lead the ruck, where he was the SA Country Football Championship player of the carnival in the Central Zone’s triumph in 2013.

He also was an accomplished key defender, noted for his high marking and ability to play long and direct football. He also had a couple of years in SANFL League ranks at the Bay.

Tyson Wait | Photo Peter Argent

Currently at Paskeville Magpies, Tyson Wait, the best-on-ground in the inaugural 2011 SA Country win against WA Country at Football Park, is originally from the West Coast.

Wait, who played through the grades at Port Adelaide, also won the River Murray Football League Mail Medal whilst playing with the Murray Bridge Imperials in 2013.

Aisea Raikiwasa, known across the SA football landscape as “Magic”, has been noted for his dashing runs from defence and sure ball handling.

Like his older brother, Bobby, Raikiwasa is originally from the Ports Football Club on the Eyre Peninsula. He collected the Barry Stringer Medal as South Australia’s best when he played a demanding role in the clash against WA Country at Fremantle Oval in 2017.

In 2018, Raikiwasa – alongside his brother, Aseri – made the move to the Nuriootpa Tigers, with both being key members of the 2018 premiership in the grand final victory over rivals Tanunda at the ‘Dog Track’ at Gawler.

The full-back line of the Team of the Decade includes Murray Bridge Ramblers stalwart Sam Pfeifer, who was an Adelaide listed player and a consistent performer at state country level.

Riverton Saddleworth Marrabel United (RSMU) champion Zack Hier commanded a position as a key defender, being selected at full back.

Hier had first played football for the Hawks in his mid-teens before progressing from Under 19s to SANFL League football in the 2006 season and would play in that year’s Woodville West Torrens premiership as a 17-year-old.

Upon returning to North Eastern Football at the start of this decade, he was a Mail Medalist, key figure in the Hawks dominant flag winning era from 2014 and a strong and regular contributor for the Central Zone and at state country level.

Another to stamp his influence on representative and a state country football is dashing small defender from Southern Flinders, Joel Palmer, who also had a couple of seasons with the Kadina Bloodhounds which included a flag and a Mail Medal.

Next week: Think! Road Safety SA Country Team of the Decade interchange line up revealed.

Joel Palmer | Photo Peter Argent

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