Hostplus League

Sauce selective on recruiting to Eagles’ nest


Incoming Woodville-West Torrens coach Sam Jacobs has provided an insight into his recruiting strategy as he begins to settle into his new role at Oval Avenue.

Given the club’s historically rich base of junior talent, the rookie Eagles mentor will focus primarily on filling key positions as he backs in the small and medium-sized players at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval.

Speaking on SANFL Radio, Jacobs said finding tall assistance for Connor Ballenden in attack and Luke Thompson in defence would be chief priorities over summer.

Delisted AFL players such as Andrew McPherson, Josh Morris and Nathan Barkla are on Jacobs’ contact list while he also been in regular contact with mid-season draftee Mitch Hardie.

Aside from that, the 35-year-old is excited at the exceptional youth pushing through at the Eagles, with League-high eight players selected in this year’s SANFL U18 State Academy Squad under Tony Bamford.

Among those players are father-son prospects Tyler Welsh and Rome Burgoyne, together with classy wingman Kade Herbert, who made his Hostplus SANFL League debut this year.

Jacobs is also relishing the opportunity to work with ruck prodigy Tom Luck, who not only hails from Jacobs’ native Yorke Peninsula but also plays on the same basketball team as his new coach – the Arthurton Tigers.

With former Eagles captain and West Adelaide League mentor Gavin Colville locked in as Jacobs’ right-hand man in the coaches box, the remaining assistants are set to be revealed soon.

Having worked as the Crows’ SANFL team’s midfield mentor in 2023, Jacobs said he has learned plenty from 2011 Eagles premiership coach Michael Godden, who has shown the way in SANFL ranks in terms of player management, as much as tactical game day strategy.

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