By ZAC MILBANK
Minor premier Glenelg has dominated selection in the 2023 The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year with as many as six players, and first-year coach Darren Reeves, recognised for their outstanding form throughout the home-and-away season.
Earning direct entry to the Hostplus SANFL League Second Semi-Final, the Bays won a competition-high 15 minor round matches which included an impressive 8-1 win-loss record at Stratarama Stadium.
As such, the Tigers fittingly have the two key forward posts filled by 2023 Ken Farmer Medallist Lachlan Hosie, who lines up at full forward and triple Ken Farmer Medallist Liam McBean, who is stationed at centre half-forward.
Game-breaking midfielder Matt Allen, who has averaged 20 disposals and seven marks while kicking 22 goals for the season, has been chosen on the wing while Toby Pink (full back) and Corey Lyons (interchange) have earned their debut selections.
Reliable Tigers captain Max Proud – averaging eight marks this year – starts from the back pocket, where he will also act as the skipper of the 2023 The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.
Thrust into the chair at Brighton Road just two days before Christmas, Reeves wasted no time in forming strong relationships with the entire Glenelg playing group which has resulted in his side earning its third minor premiership in five seasons.
Qualifying finalists Sturt and Adelaide each boast four players in the elite outfit, with Sturt captain James Battersby and his midfield mate Tom Lewis playing vital roles inside the centre square.
Double Blues goalsneak Josh Hone, who slotted 41 goals for the season, proved he is the best small forward in the competition, landing in the forward pocket while Sturt’s Brisbane Lions recruit Connor McFadyen will hold down centre half-back.
Sharp-shooting Crow Lachlan Gollant, who has booted 37 majors, is in the other forward pocket while teammate Jackson Hately provides a difficult height match-up on a wing.
Adelaide pair Kieran Strachan and Harry Schoenberg have had their seasons rewarded with selection on the interchange, Schoenberg’s extreme impact while averaging 26 disposals and six clearances resonating with the selection panel.
Port Adelaide’s sole selection, Jackson Mead, provides the team with great flexibility in that he will start at half-forward while also being able to push into the midfield or a wing.
Central District pair Harry Grant (rover) and Jez McLennan (back pocket) have been key drivers behind their team’s return to the finals for the first time since 2017.
Norwood premiership rover Nik Rokahr retains his place in the side, this time on the interchange after being a key influence on his side’s sudden rise to seventh in the second half of the season.
Dynamic Eagles playmaker James Rowe starts at half-forward but can also push into the centre square while his captain at Oval Avenue – Joey Sinor – will provide rebound and toughness across half-back.
South’s representative is veteran ruckman Keegan Brooksby, who has also been named vice-captain as a nod to his incredible dedication in commuting between Melbourne and Adelaide weekly throughout the season while performing at a high level.
West Adelaide’s Callum Park makes his debut across half-back, where he racked up a league-leading 492 disposals rebounding out of defence for the Bloods.
North Adelaide was the only club without a player selected.
The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year was selected by SANFL’s Matthew Duldig, Sean Toohey, Zac Milbank and Daniel Joyce, The Advertiser’s Andrew Capel, Football Budget editor Peter Cornwall, and Channel 7’s John Casey.
Josh Hone (Sturt, 1st selection), Lachie Hosie (Glenelg, 2nd), Lachlan Gollant (Adelaide, 1st)
James Rowe (Eagles, 3rd), Liam McBean (Glenelg, 4th), Jackson Mead (Port, 1st)
Matt Allen (Glenelg, 2nd), Tom Lewis (Sturt, 2nd), Jackson Hately (Adelaide, 1st)
Callum Park (West, 1st), Connor McFadyen (Sturt, 1st), Joseph Sinor (Eagles, 3rd)
Max Proud (Glenelg C, 2nd), Toby Pink (Glenelg, 1st), Jez McLennan (Central, 1st)
Keegan Brooksby (South VC, 3rd), James Battersby (Sturt, 6th), Harry Grant (Central, 1st)
Harry Schoenberg (Adelaide, 1st), Kieran Strachan (Adelaide, 3rd), Corey Lyons (Glenelg, 1st), Nik Rokahr (2nd)
Darren Reeves (Glenelg)