The Group 16 regular season is officially over, so it’s time for the sports editors to name their Teams of the Year.
Myself and Jake have named a 17 from our coverage stomping grounds, so I’ve got Batemans Bay, Moruya, Narooma, and Coma, while Jake has Bega, Merimbula-Pambula, and Bombala.
Keep in mind, this is not a definitive list of “the best” within Group 16, but the players who have stood up most consistently and impressed us as your sports writers.
Next week, Jake and I will be butting heads again to try and name a combined Group 16 side.
The Northern Group 16 sport editor’s picks:
1. Fullback: David Sommerville (Cooma)
I saw Sommerville play three times this year, and he impressed each time. A human wrecking ball, Sommerville was almost guaranteed to break through the first contact made on him. He’s going to give your side a good return on just about every kick made by the opposition. Honourable Mention: Koorin Campbell (Narooma).
2. Wing: Shaun Staples (Moruya)
Staples was the first name on this team sheet. The equal-leading try scorer in the competition with 13, Staples is the best winger in the entire group, let alone the north. Honourable Mention: Mathew Parsons (Narooma).
3. Centre: Caine Brierley (Moruya)
Big, strong, and prolific, Brierley scored nine tries this season in just seven matches played. Formed arguably the best edge with Staples this season for the Sharks, and runs some of the best lines in the comp. Honourable Mention: Tom Bollard (Batemans Bay).
4. Centre: Yuin Campbell (Narooma)
A hard runner who will hit you like a brick wall, Campbell played 11 games for the Devils this season, and it’s hard to remember a bad one. At just 22 years of age, Campbell should be the first centre picked by the Devils for next 10 years. Honourable Mention: Karlos Filiga (Cooma).
5. Wing: Mitch Hockey (Batemans Bay)
Hockey scored nine tries this season to finish equal fourth in the group. He projects more as a second rower rather than a winger, but stands to be a key part of the Tigers’ first grade set up for years to come. Honourable Mention: Sean Deaves (Batemans Bay).
6. Five-Eighth: Aaron Brierley (Moruya)
Brierley doesn’t technically play at five-eighth for his club, but his ball-playing skills are too good to leave out of the side. He has an ability to take over a match when the Sharks are in trouble, but also knows when to just put the foot down and motor into the defensive line. Honourable Mention: Ken McGuinness (Batemans Bay).
7. Halfback: Luke Farmer (Batemans Bay)
Farmer has been instrumental in the Tigers’ return to finals football. He’s made a few mistakes this season, but he’s the best half in the competition when he’s playing his best football. Honourable Mention: Ryan Norris (Narooma).
8. Prop: Peter Lett (Batemans Bay)
Lett is almost the ideal front rower. He has footwork at the line, he has a solid fend, and he can put an offload on the chest of any support runner. Only downside is his discipline; he gives away too many penalties on the defensive side. Honourable Mention: Steve McLean (Cooma)
9. Hooker: Jesse Piekar (Cooma)
The Stallions had a disappointing season, but Piekar is far from the reason for that. He played all 12 games, scoring four tries and kicking goals at an unparalleled rate. Would go very close to being the best hooker in the group. Honourable Mention: Ninnum Parsons (Narooma).
10. Prop: Tim Weyman (Moruya)
Weyman will never give you 80 minutes, but when he’s on the field he’ll give you 100 per cent. A solid, throwback front rower, Weyman is the on-field leader of a club with very real premiership hopes. Honourable Mention: Lachlan Carey (Narooma).
11. Second Row: Kane Ayers (Narooma)
Started the season in the Group 16 under 23 All Stars team, and finishes it as one of the most consistent second rowers in the group. Rarely puts a foot wrong with the ball in hand, and solid as a rock defensively. Honourable Mention: Brodie Ralph (Batemans Bay).
12. Second Row: Dean Scott (Moruya)
Scott missed a few games through injury this season, but was as dominant as any second rower in the competition when he was on the park. Almost plays the role of a third prop with how hard he runs the footy. Honourable Mention: Baden Payne (Batemans Bay).
13. Lock Forward: Todd Ayers (Narooma) ©
Ayers may be the best forward in the group, and is a deserved captain of both the Devils and this side. I’ve never seen this man on his back in a tackle, and the Devils often looked dangerous off his quick play the balls. Honourable Mention: Jacob Zutt (Moruya).
14. Interchange: Michael Tadich (Batemans Bay)
Tadich has played both fullback and hooker for the Tigers this season, and could feasibly play every position on the park (with the exception of prop). An easy pick for the utility spot on my bench. Honourable Mention: Sam Howlett (Moruya).
15. Interchange: Chris Rose (Moruya)
Rose was just edged out by Farmer for the halfback spot, but his exploits in the 13 jersey over the past few weeks make him an easy pick for the interchange bench. Has the ability to give you 80 minutes of tough play, with the added bonus of another ball-player. Honourable Mention: Adam Walters (Cooma).
16. Interchange: Blayne Thomas (Cooma)
Plays in the centres for the Stallions, but is big enough to come off the bench as a second rower. Scored six tries this season as part of a deadly centre combination with Karlos Filiga. Honourable Mention: Te Huia Ngahoata (Moruya).
17. Interchange: Mason Harrison (Batemans Bay)
Started the season with a suspension, but has been one of the Tigers’ most important players since his return. He was almost in my starting side, so an automatic pick on the interchange. Honourable Mention: Toby Afflick (Moruya).