Rising stars suit up for Tigers

Once again the Glenelg Football Club has been inundated with South East stars over recent months as the region’s best junior talent chase their dream and earn their stripes.

Many juniors from the Western Border, Mid South Eastern and Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara Football Leagues have been representing Tigerland across the high-level SANFL senior and junior grades.

The Tigers at the top level have been trying to avenge their disappointing performance at last year’s SANFL Grand Final against Woodville West Torrens and currently sit well-placed in third position on the ladder with six rounds to go.

Continuing his career in the big league for a third straight season has been former West Gambier talent Reid Kuller.

Kuller has featured in all-but one fixture in his second season at “The Bay”, picking up regular disposals – while another former Mount Gambier man who has experienced all levels of football is Matthew Allen and he remains a big part of the team.

But it is at the underage scene where the majority of the South East’s attention has been drawn.

With the Limestone Coast being Glenelg’s zone, the club provides one of the most significant steps for locals to take if they want to be an AFL player.

In the Under 16’s competition, Kobe Gibson, Jack Haggett, Jacob Salmon, Kallan Bevan, Brock Summerhayes, Angus Clarke and Jared Kuhl have been fighting hard to show what they are made of.

The Tigers have endured an up-and-down start to the season with a string of four straight wins followed by three losses on the bounce.

But the team has bounced back strong in recent weeks to throw itself right back into finals contention as the final rounds of the home and away season approach.

The likes of Noah Sims, Anders McShane, Taj Messenger, Jake Walker, Joe Judd, Eli Redman, Kaidyn Weber, Kalan Shanks, Kynan Dunn, Liam Delaney, Joel Bryant, Aaron Zerk and Harry Tunkin have all put on the yellow and black in the Under 18’s this year.

After going down in the big one to the Eagles in 2021, the Tigers are in the mix once again and currently sit a comfortable second on the ladder.

One of the players giving it a crack is South Gambier rising talent Delaney, who has played three games so far with the support of The SE Voice as a player sponsor, which continues its theme of locals supporting locals.

Despite being restricted in terms of the amount of time he can commit to Tigerland being still based in the Blue Lake city like many of his other local teammates, Delaney said he had still been able to soak a lot in.

“Although this year I have not had an extensive amount of time with the group, when I am up there it has been very beneficial,” he said.

“I have improved my knowledge and understanding of the game.

“I have developed my complete game and maintaining structure around the ground, especially around stoppages.

“Glenelg has helped me develop this by providing me with structures over the last few months.”

Delaney has played three games so far wearing the #21 guernsey, mainly floating around the half forward line, but has also enjoyed some time running through the midfield.

His first appearance was the personal highlight of the season where he shone scoring three goals from 15 touches in a heavy loss against North Adelaide.

Delaney also featured in wins against West Adelaide and Sturt, but played lesser roles in those fixtures “taking a while to work into the games” despite some good quarters.

The 17-year-old was part of the Under 16’s leadership group as deputy vice-captain in 2021.

But this season has required a bit of a juggling act with Delaney balancing his playing and training commitments between South Gambier and Glenelg.

With up to nine hours of travelling required to train or play for the Tigers, South East players do have to pour a lot of time and energy and Delaney said it has been a challenge front up regularly and develop a strong connection with the city based players.

“It is definitely a big commitment to play up there, not only for me, but my parents as well,” he said.

“We have to make sacrifices just to do it.

“It is very hard in a training sense and I have not been able to do many since preseason which makes it tough to be involved within the group.”

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