BOYS FROM THE BUSH
Woodville-West Torrens Eagles
A fisherman by trade and one of the true characters of SANFL football since 2000, Justin Cicolella hails from the Adelaide Plains club, the Hummocks Watchman Eagles.
In his first year of SANFL League football back in 2005, current Melbourne player and former Crows best and fairest Bernie Vince actually started that season on the ‘leg’ (Yorke Peninsula), participating is a handful of games from the CMS (Curramulka-Minlaton-Stansbury) Crows.
A part of the Eagles ’06 premiership as a 17-year-old and current coach of his local club, who he has led to three successive flags, Zac Hier started his A grade country football at the age of 14 with the RSMU Hawks.
Current assistant coach at Essendon and fellow member of the ’06 SANFL premiership team, where he won the Jack Oatey Medal with a 31-possession performance, Hayden Skipworth has a rich family heritage on the ‘leg’ as well.
The late Jamie Tape, who was a member of the Eagles initial flag in 1993, and went on to play AFL football, 91 games with Richmond and Collingwood. He sadly passed away at the tender age of 28.
The Sziller siblings came to the Eagles from the Adelaide Hills. Both Jason and Steve would play in the 1993 flag, with the latter going on to played over 150-AFL matches mainly with St Kilda and two seasons with Richmond.
Jason, who had been a bit and pieces player, won the Percy Johns trophy as the Eagles’ best and fairest in 1994.
From the Kadina Bloodhounds, Richard Champion came to Woodville as a 17-year-old and played 79 league games, before being traded the Brisbane Lions (Bears when he first started).
He played 183 AFL games across 10 years from 1991 in Brisbane and now is a radio star.
High leaping Eagles small forward Lachie McGregor is a boy from Broken Hill.
A NSW/ACT Rams underage player alongside Taylor Walker, McGregor started at the Bay, went to country club Langhorne Creek, before Michael Godden convinced him to have a second crack at Football in the SANFL.
A 2011 Eagles premiership player from the Curramulka-Minlaton-Stansbury (CMS) Crows Matthew Goldsworthy debuted for the club as a 16-year-old and now is decade veteran of SANFL football.
Jack Hayes has followed older brother Nick into league ranks this year. They are the oldest two of five brothers from a family farm at Redhill.
Sam Rowland played in an Adelaide Plains premiership for the Balaklava Peckers, before venturing down to Oval Avenue.
Fire-haired former reserves Magarey Medallist Angus Poole hails from the Kadina Bloodhounds, while strong bodied 100-game midfielder Angus Rowntree, a runner-up to the Magarey Medal in 2015, comes from the Ardrossan Kangaroos.
Jarrod Allmond is from a large family at the Two Wells Roosters.
He won the SANFL rookie award in his debut season, and is known as a courageous, uncompromising defender, who always puts his body on the line for his club.
Jake Westbrook, one of the Eagles’ latest debutants, hails from the Paskeville Magpies, had both this uncle Ian (10 games for Woodville) and cousin, 2006 premiership player David play at Oval avenue.
West Adelaide Bloods
One of the most famous players in club history, Neil “Knuckles” Kerley – the ‘tough as teak’ premiership captain (’61) and coach (’83) of the Bloods – hails from the Riverland village of Lovelock and played his first senior football with Barmera in the Riverland Football League.
He would play 155 games for the Bloods and win four best and fairest awards, before moving to South and Glenelg as a playing-coach. He would also coach West Torrens and Central District.
The 1962 Magarey Medallist Ken Eustice is from Murray Mallee and first rode his motor bike down to the big smoke in the 1950s.
He played 118 games with the Bloods, was a member of the 61 flag, before he moved up to the Northern Suburbs and became the inaugural league captain-coach of Central District.
The club’s longest serving player was 364-game veteran Grantley Fielke, who won the 1985 Magarey Medal. He was a member of the 1983 Grand Final victory over Sturt, coming from the Riverland town of Loxton.
Recently retired St Kilda champion and Simpson Cup golfer Sam Fisher played in the 2003 Grand Final for West Adelaide, having 21 senior games in two seasons, before being drafted to the Saints at pick number 55.
He was also another Riverland lad from Waikerie Magpies, as is former Crows captain and current media star Mark Ricciuto. Another who came down from the Riverland was high-flying forward Tony Modra.
A number of the stars of the 1920s, including Magarey Medallist Bobbie Barnes and ’27 premiership captain Bruce McGregor, hailed from Broken Hill, while a ’37 state captain Bernie Mattiske was an Angaston lad.
2015 Jack Oatey Medallist, captain of the West Adelaide Football Club again this year and the man that lifted the Thomas Seymour Cup for the first time in 32 years on Adelaide Oval two short seasons ago, Chris Schmidt is from a small town of 70-people at one end of the “World’s End Highway”, Robertstown.
Playing Life Member and ’15 Bloods flag winning forward Aaron Fielke is from the Loxton North Panthers . He is a cousin of the ‘85 Magarey medallist, Grantley, who is from Loxton Tigers.
Young talent Jack Agostino (Renmark), key position player Mason Middleton (Barmera-Monash) along with utility Josh Schiller and former Richmond footballer Brad Helbig (Waikerie) all have a heritage in the Riverland area.
Important defender in the ’15 flag Tom Keogh is a Pinnaroo export and had a season of the Gold Coast Suns list, before returning to the Bloods this year.
Three-year Geelong rookie Zac Bates arrived at Milner Avenue from Barmera-Monash, coming to the Bloods in 2010 through the Under 15s program and went on to play in Reserves and Under 18s before being drafted. He played league football this year, before injury again intervened.