The 24-player 2017 TAC Cup Team of the Year was announced at Sunday’s TAC Cup B&F Night.
The team recognises players who performed at a high level both in the TAC Cup and the NAB AFL U18 Championships this year.
The Eastern Ranges are best represented in the team with five players, followed by the Geelong Falcons with four, the Dandenong Stingrays with three, the Calder Cannons, Northern Knights and Western Jets with two, and the Bendigo Pioneers, Gippsland Power, GWV Rebels, Murray Bushrangers, Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons with one.
The back line is anchored by three TAC Cup club captains: Oscar Clavarino (Dandenong Stingrays), Joel Garner (Eastern Ranges) and Nicholas Coffield (Northern Knights), who was named Team of the Year vice-captain. All three were named U18 All Australians along with Murray Bushrangers running defender Ben Paton. Hunter Clark enjoyed a stellar season in Dandenong’s defence and midfield, while Mitch Podhajski (Calder Cannons) holds down a key defensive post alongside Clavarino.
Tough inside midfielder and Geelong Falcons co-captain James Worpel was named Team of the Year skipper, with fellow U18 All Australian on-ballers Paddy Dow (Bendigo Pioneers), Lachlan Fogarty (Western Jets) and Patrick Naish (Northern Knights) also featuring in the squad. All Australian big man Sam Hayes (Eastern Ranges) was named as Team of the Year ruckman, with his Eastern teammate and classy ball-winner Adam Cerra making up the midfield division.
The forward line is full of dangerous mobile players, including two U18 All Australians also capable of finding the ball in the midfield: Morrish Medallist and Vic Metro MVP Jack Higgins (Oakleigh Chargers) and Cameron Rayner (Western Jets). They are joined in the squad by key-position/ruck option Noah Balta (Calder Cannons), big-bodied ball-winner Luke Davies-Uniacke (Dandenong Stingrays), smart goalkicker Gryan Miers (Geelong Falcons) and exciting runner Jaidyn Stephenson (Eastern Ranges).
U18 All Australian on-ballers Charlie Constable (Sandringham Dragons) and Dylan Moore (Eastern Ranges) feature on the interchange, along with prolific ball-winner Cassidy Parish and his Geelong Falcons teammate David Handley, a dangerous mobile goalkicker. GWV Rebels ruckman Lloyd Meek and Gippsland Power hard-nut Callum Porter make up the Team of the Year, with Porter’s coach at Gippsland – Leigh Brown – being named the TAC Cup Coach of the Year.
|B||Ben Paton||Mitch Podhajski||Joel Garner|
|Murray Bushrangers||Calder Cannons||Eastern Ranges|
|HB||Hunter Clark||Oscar Clavarino||Nick Coffield|
|Dandenong Stingrays||Dandenong Stingrays||Northern Knights|
|C||Lachlan Fogarty||James Worpel||Patrick Naish|
|Western Jets||Geelong Falcons||Northern Knights|
|HF||Jaidyn Stephenson||Noah Balta||Luke Davies-Uniacke|
|Eastern Ranges||Calder Cannons||Dandenong Stingrays|
|F||Gryan Miers||Cameron Rayner||Jack Higgins|
|Geelong Falcons||Western Jets||Oakleigh Chargers|
|FOLL||Sam Hayes||Adam Cerra||Paddy Dow|
|Eastern Ranges||Eastern Ranges||Bendigo Pioneers|
|INTER||Charlie Constable||David Handley||Lloyd Meek|
|Sandringham Dragons||Geelong Falcons||GWV Rebels|
|Callum Porter||Cassidy Parish||Dylan Moore|
|Gippsland Power||Geelong Falcons||Eastern Ranges|
Coach: Leigh Brown – Gippsland Power