AFL Sydney Team of the Year - Midfielders & Interchange Analysis
Wing – James Brain (Manly Warringah) – Brain is receiving his first Team of the Year plaque and what a great year he has had. After returning to the GIANTS after two seasons in the SANFL with Port Adelaide, Brain has showed his classy skills in most games, putting teammates out in space while also delivering pin point passes to his forwards. He has played 18 games in 2014, being named in the best nine times as well as representing the Sydney Swans NEAFL side on one occasion.
Centre – Alex Goodall (Pennant Hills) – Goodall is making his fifth appearance in the AFL Sydney Team of the Year. After making his first team in 2007, he has followed up in 2008, 2012, 2013 and now 2014. Goodall won the prestigious Phelan Medal in 2014 by polling maximum votes on eight occasions. Goodall also claimed the Howarth Trophy for being the best representative player in 2014 after playing for AFL Sydney in the representative game against Canberra. He has played all matches in 2014 and will need to be at his best in this weekend’s Grand Final against Manly Warringah.
Wing – Lachlan Kilpatrick (Manly Warringah) – This is Kilpatrick’s first Team of the Year. The Rod Podbury Medallist from 2013 has had another wonderful year, helping the GIANTS make a second successive Premier Division Grand Final. After missing the middle part of the year with a broken collarbone, the 20 year old has played 15 games while being named in the best four times. Was awarded Goal of the Year with his superb snap from the boundary line in Round 2 against Pennant Hills.
Ruck - Kristian Ericson (Western Suburbs) - Ericson is making his second straight appearance in the Team of the Year. After transferring over from Balmain in the off-season, despite being injury for a good part of the season, Ericson has been one of the main reasons for Western Suburbs return to finals football. He regularly gave his midfielders first use of the ball in all 10 games he played in 2014. Was one of the Magpies best in their Elimination Final defeat against Sydney University.
Ruck Rover – Connor Pettersson (Manly Warringah (vc)) – Pettersson is also making his first Team of the Year. The 24 year old, is one of the best players in the competition and this was shown when he finished runner-up in the Phelan Medal in 2014. He was also voted the number 5 player in the competition in the 20 to 1 countdown. Was a part of the AFL Sydney representative side and after showing great leadership for Manly-Warringah, has been named vice captain of the Team of the Year.
Rover – Selby Lee-Steere (North Shore) – This is Lee-Steere’s third straight appearance in the Team of the Year. The mobile big man is the best utility in the AFL Sydney competition able to play both forward, midfield, back and even in the ruck. After playing for Balmain in 2013, Lee-Steere transferred to North Shore and finished third in the Phelan Medal after playing 17 games and kicking 24 goals.
Interchange - Glenn Smith (Sydney University)- Smith makes his first Team of the Year with the reputation of being one of the most versatile players in the AFL Sydney competition. Smith was often a Mr Fix-It for senior coach, Anton Turco - playing in a range of positions predominantly across half-back and in the ruck. Smith was named in his side’s best on eleven occasions in 2014 and kicked nine goals from his 18 games.
Interchange - Matthew Round (Western Suburbs)- The 24 year-old furthers his standing as a dominant player in AFL Sydney with his third consecutive Team of the Year nomination (2012-14). This is coincidentally the length of time he has been involved in the competition- firstly with Balmain after Clarence in the number one Tasmanian league, then this year with Western Suburbs. A dashing wingman, he has kicked 43 goals from 76 games in Premier Division.
Interchange - Karl Merson (St George)- Merson is the lone St George player to make the Team of the Year. The 19 year-old showed he was more than comfortable in senior football, with the strongly-built midfielder enjoying a great year with the red and white. He played 19 games, kicked 17 goals and was named in his side’s best on twelve occasions in 2014. He was part of the leadership group in the Representative side and played two games with the UWS GIANTS this season in a true indication of his talent.
Interchange - Tim Wales (Pennant Hills)- This is Wales’ first Team of the Year. A consistent player who has racked up 90 senior games with the Demons- he is a tall midfielder who is a good user by hand and foot. He continues his progression from a talented junior where he played 16 games with the Sydney Swans Reserves to a point where he can play a key role in Pennant Hills’ chances for a premiership this weekend against Manly-Warringah.