By ZAC MILBANK
Adelaide’s has revealed its recruits for the 2024 Hostplus SANFL League season, headlined by father-son prospect Tyler Welsh and promising ruckman Toby Murray.
Welsh, the son of Scott Welsh who played 129 AFL games for Adelaide between 2000-2007, arrives from Woodville-West Torrens under the SANFL’s Rookie Program while Murray, the younger brother of Crow Nick Murray, lands from Wangaratta in country Victoria.
A member of Adelaide’s Next Generation Academy for the past four years, Welsh is eligible to be nominated by the Crows as a father-son selection in the 2024 AFL Draft.
He will be the second player, after North Adelaide’s Blayne O’Loughlin last year, to accept Adelaide’s invitation under the SANFL Rookie Program, which allows players to return to their SANFL club if not selected at League level.
The 17-year-old will only be considered for selection by Adelaide outside of his AFL Academy and SA U18 team commitments surrounding the 2024 AFL National Championships.
“This presents a fantastic developmental opportunity for Tyler to gain some early exposure to an AFL environment,” SANFL Head of Football Operations Sean Toohey said of Welsh, who is also completing an AFL Sportsready Community and Football Administration Traineeship at West Lakes.
”It also provides him with the chance to play in a really strong state league competition – the Hostplus SANFL League.
”I commend both the Adelaide and Woodville-West Torrens Football Clubs for working together to ensure a positive outcome for Tyler, whilst also factoring in his SA U18 State Team commitments next year.”
SANFL Head of Football Operations Sean Toohey
''This presents a fantastic developmental opportunity for Tyler to gain some early exposure to an AFL environment.''
Woodville-West Torrens CEO Dave Couzner said his club was focused on supporting Welsh in furthering his development in 2024.
”We respect the SANFL List Rules and Match Conditions and that the Adelaide Football Club has the right to enlist approved Father Son-aligned players in their SANFL team for a full season in their 18th year” Couzner said.
”We appreciate both Tom Hurley and Jarrod Meers, from the AFC, for working with us to ensure a smooth transition for Tyler. This is a great opportunity for Tyler and his development and we will continue to support Tyler where possible in his footballing journey.”
Adelaide Head of Football Adam Kelly said Welsh would begin training with the club when pre-season begins on November 27.
“We obviously know Tyler really well, not only through his dad Scott who had a successful playing career with the club, but also from his involvement with our father-son academy in recent years,” Kelly said.
“The opportunity for him to work with our coaches and high performance staff will help his development and we are excited about integrating him with our SANFL team next year.”
Murray, who measures in at 200cm, is a mobile ruckman who can also be a focal point in attack for the Crows.
The 20-year-old has not only performed strongly in the Ovens and Murray Football League with Wangaratta but also boasts experience with Collingwood’s VFL side and the Allies at the AFL U18 National Championships.
Prolific former Central District midfielder Steve Burton, who has won three Mail Medals with Gawler South, is also among the Crows’ seven SANFL signings together with Prince Alfred OC sharp-shooter Jayden Davis, Langhorne Creek premiership midfielder Darcy Clifford, Broadview utility Sam Daniele and past SA U18 onballer Austin McDonald.
“We’re very pleased with the additions to our SANFL squad for next season,” Kelly said.
“All of these players bring different attributes but a shared commitment to wanting to get the best out of themselves and the team.”
Joining long-serving Adelaide captain Matt Wright in retirement will be experienced pair Isaya McKenzie and Louis Sharrad, with McKenzie set to link up with his former Central District teammate Justin Hoskin at Willaston next year.
O’Loughlin will return to North Adelaide for 2024 after playing a total of 15 League games for the Crows, en route to receiving the Dean Bailey Award as the best performed development player at West Lakes in 2023.
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