Pocket Profile

2022 Central District Pocket Profile

Central District coach Paul Thomas will be pushing for his Bulldogs to play finals in his second season at the helm. Picture - Cory Sutton

SANFL’s ZAC MILBANK breaks down all you need to know about the Bulldogs heading into the 2022 Hostplus SANFL League season.

2021 Snapshot

Finished – 9th

Record – 4 wins and 14 losses

Norm Russell Medallist (Best and Fairest) – Jarrod Schiller

Runner-up – Kyle Presbury

Les Stevens Memorial Trophy (Development Award) – Harry Grant

Daniel Hulm Memorial Trophy (Most Courageous) – Marcus Barreau

The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year – Kyle Presbury (half back flank)

Player Movement

Aaron Nietschke (returned/Melbourne), George Kendall (Mangoplah Cookardinia-United Eastlake), Zac Buechner (Clarence), Bailey Reeves (Gold Coast Academy), Billy McCormack (Frankston), Blake Launer (Eudunda-Robertstown/Adelaide SANFL), Dustin Launer (Woodville-West Torrens), Jamie Jones (Nightcliff), Patrick Hillard (Blackwood), Lachlan Arnold (South Gawler)



Leek Aleer (Greater Western Sydney), Nick Gillard (retired), Brendan Dew (Barossa District), Brett Kennedy (Gawler Central), Connor Mclean (Norwood), Tom Graham (Norwood), Jacob Templeton (Adelaide SANFL), Jonathan Marsh (Coburg), Lachlan Grubb (North Adelaide), David Haydon (retired), Dylan Morton (PHOS Camden), Corey Di Stefano (Golden Grove), Jordan O’Brien (Salisbury North), Wyatt Patterson (Golden Grove)

Bailey Reeves has arrived at Elizabeth from the Gold Coast Suns Academy. Picture – Cory Sutton

2022 Trial Matches

Saturday February 26
Central 7.9 (51) d South 3.4 (22) at X Convenience Oval

Saturday March 12
Eagles 10.11 (71) d Central 6.9 (45) at X Convenience Oval

Saturday March 19
Central 7.9 (51) d Sturt 4.8 (32) at X Convenience Oval

Frankston’s Billy McCormack will bring plenty of athleticism into the ruck for Central this year. Picture – Cory Sutton

Star Signing

There are fewer hard luck stories in football than talented Central District utility Aaron Nietschke. 

After displaying great promise with the Bulldogs, including a taste of League football, in 2018, Nietschke was snapped by Melbourne in the AFL Draft.

Sadly, after three years on the Demons list, Nietschke failed to play an AFL game after undergoing three consecutive ACL injuries.

The 21-year-old has returned to the Ponderosa to get back enjoying his football again, with the aim of playing in the second half of the season.

Once fit, Nietschke looms as a valuable selection for coach Paul Thomas given his ability to play through the midfield or across half-back.

On the Rise - Powerade Breakthrough Player Candidate

Luca Whitelum looms as a genuine X-factor for Central District this season.

Considered by AFL clubs for last year’s Draft period, the 18-year-old is now primed to sink his teeth into his first Hostplus SANFL League campaign.

Measuring in at 188cm and 77kg, Whitelum can play on a wing or as a third tall forward inside attacking 50m.

He was a significant reason behind Central’s push for an unlikely Reserves Grand Final berth last year after captaining Sacred Heart College to an undefeated run in the Messenger Shield.

”He’s had a good summer, Luca,” Central coach Paul Thomas said.

”He’s been focusing on things to do with his body composition but he’s a very natural finder of space who can connect the game really well as a forward or a wing.

”He’s played in the League trials as a forward/wing so he’s pushing his claim for Round One.”

Exciting teenager Luca Whitelum will be pressing his claims for a League berth in Round 1. Picture – Cory Sutton

Ones to Watch - Torrens University State Talent Hub Members

Torrens Uni SA U18 coach Tony Bamford profiles Central’s players

Austin McDonald
A small, inside midfielder who had very clean hands, Austin is strong over the ball in the contest and is able to get the ball moving forward from stoppages. Has some experience at SANFL senior level playing some reserves games in 2021. Aussie is working hard to increase his ability to win the ball in transition and use it well going inside forward 50m.

Brodie Tuck
A key position tall player who has proven ability to impact at both ends of the oval. Brodie has strong hands in the marking contest and when he plays with a combative nature is very hard to stop. Primarily used as a key forward and second ruck for Central’s U18s in 2021 while playing both key forward and key back for SA U17s in 2021. Brodie is working hard on his fitness to allow him to get to more contests.

Finn Reed
Finn impressed when playing across half-back for Central’s U18s in 2021 before he was elevated to play Reserves as a wing/half-forward. A really reliable player who does the basics well, he has been able to improve his consistency. Unfortunately, Finn has recently suffered a hamstring injury that will likely see him miss the start of the season.

Number Crunch - Central District by the numbers in 2022

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