SANFL’s ZAC MILBANK breaks down all you need to know about the Eagles heading into the 2022 Hostplus SANFL League season.
Finished – 1st (second minor round)
Record – 13 wins and 5 losses
2021 Club Champion Perce Johns Medal – James Tsitas
Runner Up Club Champion – Jack Hayes 217
3rd Place – Joseph Sinor
Jamie Tape Medal – Sacrificial Acts – Jack Hayes
Best Finals Player – Joseph Sinor
Best First Year Player – Luke Beecken
The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year – Tyson Stengle (Forward Pocket), Daniel Menzel (Forward Pocket), Jack Hayes (Centre Half-Forward), James Tsitas (Centre), Riley Knight (Wing)
Dylan Clarke (Essendon), Jarred Allmond (returned/North Adelaide), Connor Ballenden (Brisbane Lions), Mitch Duval (West Adelaide), Seb Guilhaus (returned/Victor Harbor)
Jack Hayes (St Kilda), James Tsitas (Gold Coast), Tyson Stengle (Geelong), Patrick Giuffreda (retired), Angus Poole (retired/Kadina), Ben Jungfer (Western Australia/work), Jake Von Bertouch (retired/Kadina), Pierce Seymour (Norwood), Thomas Schmusch (Port District), Cooper Gaffney (Port District), Seb Kerrish (Sacred Heart OC), Jackson Lee (Port Adelaide SANFL), Nick Moore (Port Adelaide SANFL), Jase Burgoyne (Port Adelaide)
Saturday March 5
Eagles 11.7 (73) d Port 10.9 (69) at Alberton Oval
Saturday March 12
Eagles 10.11 (71) d Central 6.9 (45) at X Convenience Oval
Saturday March 19
South 16.8 (104) d Eagles 15.12 (102) at Flinders University Stadium
On paper, it was a crushing blow for the Eagles to lose premiership stars Jack Hayes (St Kilda) and James Tsitas (Gold Coast) on the eve of the Hostplus League season.
But the Eagles have continued their stunning run of recruiting coups by landing prolific Essendon midfielder Dylan Clarke as a replacement for Tsitas.
A friendship with fellow former Bomber Kobe Mutch, who is now at Oval Avenue, played a role in landing Clarke but the 23-year-old is also desperate to rekindle his chances of playing AFL while enjoying success.
”Hopefully we are a really good fit for him and we can try and get him back playing good footy on an AFL list,” Eagles coach Jade Sheedy said.
”He’s a great kid, his first priority is to come over here and helps us climb the ladder again – he’s going to be really good for our culture.”
Why wouldn’t there be plenty of excitement around Adam D’Aloia this season?
Touted as one of the first South Australians to be selected in this year’s AFL Draft, the strongly-built midfielder well-and-truly announced himself when he claimed the Alan Stewart Medal as best afield in last year’s U18 Grand Final despite being a ”bottom-ager.”
Turning 18 in April, D’Aloia didn’t look out of place in the Eagles’ League side which narrowly lost to the NT All-Stars in Darwin earlier this year and is knocking on the door of a League berth in Round 1.
Measuring in at 184cm and 84kg, the U17 State captain is certainly one to watch from Oval Avenue in 2022.
”He’s a good kid, he’s really strong in the contest,” Eagles coach Jade Sheedy said of D’Aloia.
”He’s a really good one touch player as well being strong on the inside. He’s had a really good preseason.”
Torrens University SA U18 coach Tony Bamford profiles the Eagles’ players
Adam has completed a full preseason at senior level after an exceptional U17 season in 2021. He won the best-on-ground medal in the U18 Grand Final last year while also playing three AFL U19 National games for SA as an U17.
He was rewarded with selection in the AFL National Academy program late last year which will see him travel to Melbourne in April and May.
Adam is a very consistent high performer at SANFL U18 level and state level, playing as an inside ball-winning midfielder. We anticipate he will get a chance to play senior footy for the Eagles at some stage this year.
He has clean hands in close and is strong enough to stand in tackles and release or break through and carry the ball away. Adam is working hard to increase his high-speed running during games that will help him impact the game more in transition footy.
Mattaes has also completed a full preseason at senior level with Jade Sheedy. He has thrived in that environment, presenting himself in very good condition for the start of the season.
He tested very well at our SANFL U18 club testing days, measuring in as above average or elite in many categories. He can play multiple roles as a forward and through the midfield as both an inside and outside player.
At SA U17 state level last year, he played as a forward who was able to win the ball at ground level in the forward half.
We expect he will be pushing for a position as a midfielder/forward at U18 state level if he continues to work hard on his game in the early part of the season. We anticipate he will get a chance to play senior footy for the Eagles this year.
Blake is returning from a shoulder operation in September 2021 and has had an interrupted preseason.
We hope to see him back playing sometime in mid April. Blake played as a small defender for the Eagles U18s last year, showing the ability to both lock down on a small forwards close to goal as well as getting up across half-back to invest more time into offense.
In his SA U17 state game last year, he was given an opportunity to play on the wing in a role he was still learning the ins and outs of at the time.
We hope that when he returns to playing this season he finds his feet quickly as a defender/midfielder who wins contests and is both reliable in defence and creative in offence.