The Bottom 8: NSW/ACT AFL players’ wrap
With the regular season finished we take a look at the year’s of NSW/ACT players who won’t be featuring in September action.
Brent Staker – West Broken Hill
The versatile Lions defender conceded the 2015 season would be his last in the AFL. Staker played 110 games at West Coast, including the 2005 Grand Final, before heading to the Lions at the end of 2009. Injury restricted Staker to just the six games this season, managing 50 in total in his time in Brisbane.
Sam Rowe – North Albury
The Carlton key backman was a virtual mainstay this season, fulfilling his new role as a member of the leadership group in a disappointing season for the Blues. Rowe played all but three games for the blues.
Jason Tutt – Ainslie
Tutt managed 13 games in his first season at Carlton following his switch from Western Bulldogs at the end of 2014. A season-high 26 disposals in their Round 21 win over Melbourne a highlight for Tutt in a forgettable season for the club.
Mark Whiley – Finley
The former GIANTS man played eight games in his first season at the Blues. Whiley will look to build on this as he attempts to lock down some of the competition’s best midfielders in seasons to come.
Jarrod Witts – St. Ives
The big-man managed 11 games for the Pies in 2015, including a huge 37 hit-out effort in their Round 11 win over the Giants. Witts will look to solidify himself in the ruck spot in the side next season.
Kurt Aylett – Leeton-Whitton
2015 proved a difficult season for the former GIANTS man. Aylett was moved to the Bombers rookie list at the start of the year. The half-back wasn’t able to break into the senior side, racking up 13 games in the VFL.
Tom Hawkins – Finley
The giant Cat once again led the goal-kicking for his team as they missed the finals by one game. ‘The Tomahawk’ bagged 46 majors in 19 games, highlighted by a handful against the GIANTS in their Round 17 win. Expect big things from Hawkins with service from a rejuvenated midfield in 2016.
Hamish McIntosh – Lavington
The Cats big man was forced to retire in July after 126 games between North Melbourne and Geelong. McIntosh didn’t play a game in 2015 as he again battled ankle and knee injuries which have plagued his career.
Greater Western Sydney
Dylan Addison – St. George
Addison wasn’t able to break into the GIANTS side this season despite an impressive return of 30 goals in 18 NEAFL games playing in UWS midfield.
Jake Barrett – Temora
The young GIANTS midfielder made his AFL debut with a seven disposal effort as the sub in Round 23 against the Demons. His debut comes on the back of 17 NEAFL games this season, averaging more than 30 possessions in his last 6 weeks.
Phil Davis – ACT
Davis commanded the GIANTS backline in their strong first half of the year, highlighted by a seven mark, 20 possession game in their big win against the SUNS. A hamstring injury in the middle of the season meant the GIANTS co-captain missed 10 games throughout the year. Davis will look to lead his team to the finals in 2016.
Jeremy Finlayson – Culcairn
A hip operation at the end of 2014 curtailed his start to the season, and it took Finalyson a while to warm to his work as a GIANTS utility in the NEAFL. But the more football he played the better he got, and by the pointy end of the NEAFL season the 19-year-old was showing some very promising signs. Look for him to improve markedly in 2016 with a big pre-season under his belt.
Sam Schulz – Culcairn
A notable name on the GIANTS’ list, as the very first player to sign with the club in 2010. From that high there have been several lows for the pacy youngster from Culcairn. Injuries have blighted his time in Western Sydney – he has managed a solitary senior game – and 2015 was no exception, as Shulz notched just nine matches in the NEAFL.
Jack Steele – Belconnen
Jack Steele made his debut in Round 12 and immediately made an impression, laying an impressive 10 tackles against North Melbourne. Six more games for the season included a 20 disposal effort in the GIANTS Round 15 win over St. Kilda.
Jacob Townsend – Leeton-Whitton
Townsend battled an early season foot injury which limited him to 1 game in the top grade, a 22 disposal effort in Round 23. The midfielder managed 10 NEAFL games before his return.
Zac Williams – Narrandera
The PM Capital GIANTS Academy graduate played 12 games in 2015, hampered by a hamstring injury at times during the season. The 20-year-old defender’s good performances were rewarded with a 2-year contract extension in August.
Daniel cross – Albury
2015 was also the final season for the former Bulldogs and Demons hard nut. Cross played every game, averaging 22 disposals, as he helped to marshal a young Melbourne midfield. A massive 39 touches in Round 22 may have made the Dees staff question their decision not to offer the 32-year-old a new contract for next year. The renowned bravery of the 2008 Western Bulldogs Best and Fairest was on display as he was knocked out in his 249th and final game.
Max King – Wagga Wagga
The developing second-year big man from southern NSW had an encouraging 2015. After playing a NAB Challenge game in his first year with the Demons King battled injury, so it would have been a relief for Melbourne coaching staff to see him play all but a handful of games for Casey in the VFL, alternating between ruck and forward.
Aidan Riley – Wollongong
Riley played for the Demons four times in 2015, a disappointing return after managing nine in 2014. The midfielder was among Casey’s best in seven of his ten VFL games this season.
Dean Terlich – Osborne
Off-season surgery meant a delayed start to the season after which Terlich wasn’t able to break into the league side. The insider managed 17 games with Casey Scorpions in the VFL
Aaron Vandenberg – Ainslie
Vandenberg played 14 games in his debut season at the Demons after being picked up at No. 2 in the 2015 Rookie Draft. Vandenberg notched 12 tackles in the Dees Round 4 win over Richmond.
Logan Austin – ACT
Austin was taken by Port Adelaide in last year’s draft, joining fellow Canberra and NSW/ACT RAMS product Jack Steele on an AFL list. But where Steele progressed to play senior football in his first year, Austin’s injury-interrupted season saw him gain experience in the SANFL, where he played ten games and was named in the side’s best players four times.
Dougal Howard – East Wagga-Kooringal
As a 19-year-old key position prospect Howard had a solid first year of development on an AFL list. His year’s highlight may have come before the season proper began, playing his very first game in Port colours in front of a home crowd in Albury during the NAB Challenge. After that thrill there was a spell on the sidelines with injury, but Howard has played the entire second half of the year in the SANFL, and played in Port’s semi-final loss to Central District.
Josh Bruce – Eastlake
The key forward played every game in a huge, breakout season at the Saints. Bruce notched up a bag of six in St. Kilda’s Round 2 win over the SUNS as well as three bags of five on his way to a season haul of 50. The former GIANTS man will once again spearhead an improving Saints line-up in 2014.
Sam Gilbert – St. George
The tall defender looked like enduring another season of torrid luck with injuries before a successful mid-season comeback. Playing 11 of the last 13 games Gilbert reminded St. Kilda fans what they’d been missing, locking him in as a Saint for life by signing a two-year contract extension.
Adam Schneider – Osborne
2015 saw the St. Kilda veteran call time on his glittering 228-game career. Schneider won the 2005 premiership with Sydney before playing in four more grand finals between 2006 and 2010, a draw and three losses. The Saint showed no signs of slowing down, averaging nearly 20 touches across his 15 games this season. Fittingly, the forward kicked two goals in his last match against his former club in Round 22.