By Andrew Jackson
Growthbuilt SUANFC is delighted to announce the selected leadership groups for the 2018 NEAFL and Premier Division squads.
The NEAFL leadership group for the upcoming season was confirmed on Wednesday morning. Well-known club figure Tim Barton was elected as captain for the 2018 season. ‘Barto’ first played for the Students in 2009 and was there to celebrate the club’s first victory in the NEAFL when it was established in 2011. Since then the 28-year-old has become one of the most well-respected players in the squad. He will lead the Students this season alongside Tom Young, Sam Fong, Sam Tagliabue and Jacob Derickx, who make up the remainder of the NEAFL leadership group.
Coach Tom Morrison highlighted that the appointment of the NEAFL leadership group was decided by both the coaching staff and playing group.
“This is great recognition for this group of men to be put forward by their team mates and coaching staff to lead the group this year.
“Each of these individuals have varying leadership qualities and reasons why they were promoted by their peers, so it is great that we have that blend.”
Morrison himself is looking forward to working with the leadership team as they aim to better last year’s Preliminary Final elimination.
“I am really excited to work with the leadership group, and entire squad this year.
“The group have had a really challenging pre-season and have been terrific in their approach to developing their skill sets and becoming a better version of the player they were in 2017.”
Meanwhile, head coach of the Premier Division Tony Overall also recently announced their leadership group for this season.
Overall stressed that those selected were chosen because they upheld the values that Sydney University stands for.
“They were selected because they are great ambassadors of the traits that we value in students at the University” Overall said.
The captain of the squad in 2018 is half-forward flank Allister Clarke. Having grown up in country New South Wales, Clarke’s early days playing sport were built around strong team interaction. A sense of comradery within the playing group is something Clarke hopes to instil within the Premier Division squad.
“It is important to have that time after training every Thursday night,” Clarke said.
“To have time to interact with the team and make it that bit more of a club feel.”
The newly-appointed skipper also aims to promote a winning culture within the side, despite the challenges of holding a consistent line-up.
“As a university club, it is hard because there are guys coming and going all the time.
“But we have always had the culture that even if we do not have the same talent as the other teams, we still have that winning mentality and belief in ourselves. That culture and environment is something we definitely want to build up.”
Clarke is joined by three vice-captains: Will Stratford, Nick Bertino and Dixon Wright.
Stratford and Bertino were both previously part of the Growthbuilt SUANFC Colts Program while it is Wright’s first year at the club having began his football journey at Peel Thunder in the WAFL in Western Australia.
Both NEAFL and Premier Division commence their 2018 football campaigns this Saturday 7th April.
NEAFL: Sydney University vs. Canberra Demons @ Allinsure Park, 12:00pm
Premier Division: Sydney University vs. Pennant Hills @ Mike Kenny Oval No. 1 @ 2:30pm