Kyabram Free Press

Kyabram District League

- By Rohan Aldous

Three big forwards and eight league medallists dominate the Kyabram District Football League team that was named last week by the Free Press's footy experts.

The team was assembled by a select group of journalist­s, league officials, former players and umpires and takes in the past 21 seasons of the competitio­n.

Perry Meka, Sam La Porta and Gavin Exell form the three-headed monster up front for the team, combining for 10 goalkickin­g crowns across their many seasons in the competitio­n.

All three are premiershi­p players, two are premiershi­p coaches and on two occasions Ardmona star Meka kicked more than 170 goals in a single season.

Nagambie's Michael Shiels headlines the eight Mcnamara Medallists who have been included in the 22-strong team, having won two gongs as the league's best player. His father, Eddie, remains the most decorated individual player in the league's history, with four league medals.

The qualificat­ion criteria for the team was to have played at least three seasons in the competitio­n, which cancelled out several big names who would have been automatic starters under different selection conditions.

And, as any of these opinion-related teams are, the interpreta­tion of our team is open to comment, criticism and correction. Just drop us a line on our Facebook page to let us know your opinion.

Nagambie co-coach Linc Sullivan was named mentor of the team, having been at the helm of three Lakers premiershi­ps in the past 10 years.

He played in the 2010 win by the club, then coached it to premiershi­ps in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Lancaster star Paul Burnett was named captain of the team, with Stanhope legend Brenton Gray as his on-field deputy.

Four of Sullivan's Nagambie premiershi­p stars feature in the team, which is fitting considerin­g the domination of the club with five premiershi­ps in the past 10 years.

Sullivan took Nagambie's under-age team to the 2008 premiershi­p and was runner-up the following year. He was in charge of the league's Under-18 team for 2009-10 and was given the senior job at the Lakers in 2013.

He took the team to four grand finals, and three wins, from his six full seasons in charge. This year he was co-coach with Daryl Harrison, himself a decorated tri-league player.

Harrison won the 2003 Mcnamara Medal and was a premiershi­p player with Stanhope and Rochester. He also won the Murray league's O'dwyer medal while at Tongala.

Harrison is unlucky not to have been included in the team below, and there are a few others in the same boat.

From the backline, the players to earn selection were:

Matt Evans: Premiershi­p player at two clubs, Stanhope and Nagambie, who was not only a capable keeper of the competitio­n’s small forwards, but also was used in a defensive midfield role at both clubs during his 200plus games.

Geoff Connally: More than 300 games with Merrigum and ranks as one of the club's alltime greats. With terrific leg speed he was able to play on both small and tall forwards.

Mark Nolan: His ability to read the play made him difficult to pass at half-back and his competitiv­e nature ensured that he was rarely beaten in the key forward post. Highly skilled defender.

Daniel Godsmark: Could play anywhere, even in the ruck. Remembered for his famous dreadlocks, a star in Undera’s upset win over Nagambie in 2009. Polled well in the Mcnamara Medal during the Lions’ three grand finals (2009-2012) and was BOG in the 2010 grand final.

Jake Ewart: One of four brothers to play with the Grasshoppe­rs. Ewart played from 2012 to 2014 and was part of the all-conquering 2013 premiershi­p. An intercept marking beast, and occasional­ly would support brother Tim in the ruck.

Brenton Gray: Stanhope centreman of 200 games, dual premiershi­p player and six-time best and fairest. Rochester premiershi­p player, courageous and respected throughout the two leagues, played 150 games with Rochester, where he is also a life member.

Spiro Vourgaslis: Among the Goulburn Valley’s best sportsmen, a rare player to achieve a senior premiershi­p in to two different sports, with Tatura Soccer Club in 2011 and was named BOG in Undera’s 2009 flag. A line breaker who could play either forward or in the midfield.

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