Our Nursery is First Class
Few people could deny that Sunraysia Junior Football League's
competition is one of the best football nurseries in the State.
The never ending stream of Hynes and Virgona Medal winners to the
highest echelons of senior football is a credit to an enormous band
of honorary and dedicated coaches, unpaid officials and loyal supporters.
In 22 years of operation, the junior division has produced footballers of
the highest calibre, and the success of their campaign this season
augurs well for many years to come.
Present Richmond acting captain Matty Knights won the Hynes Medal
when playing for Merbein in 1983, followed two years later by
Matthew Croft (Imperials), now playing with Footscray, and with
both players likely AFL champions for many years to come.
Hynes Medallists to have made the big time with SANFL clubs
include Chris McGown (Sturt) and Dean Woosnam (West Adelaide),
while Geoff Winton and Paul Hogarth played with West Adelaide
and Sturt respectively after playing with Richmond and Melbourne Reserves.
Virgona Medallists have also hit the high spots, with the most notable
being Dale Weightman who has done everything possible in the
VFL/AFL except win a Brownlow Medal, and he was even close to that
honor several times. "Flea" was the inaugural winner of the SJFL's
best and fairest award in 1974, the first year of competition.
"Croftie" also won the Virgona Medal before transferring to Footscray,
while Nathan Bower and his brother Brendan took out the
award in 1987 and 1981 respectively.
Mildura's Tim Derrico played with Richmond Reserves,
as did Irymple's Simon Kelly.
And you can lay big odds to nothing that young Wentworth sensation
Mark Alvey (Virgona Medal winner in 1994 and Hynes medal winner in 1993)
will be on the Sydney Swans' recruiting short list after his performance
with the NSW Teal Cup team this season.
Among other top juniors to emerge from the SJFL ranks without
winning medals would be former Richmond champion Mark Lee
(now coaching Mildura) and another Tiger star Phillip Egan
(now coaching Robinvale).
McLeod Medal winners to have played in the junior ranks with great
distinction include Roger McGlynn (Wentworth), Rocky Pollock (Merbein),
Phillip Nash and Brett Pickering (Imperials), John Cleary (Red Cliffs),
Jamie Siddons and Pat Healy (Robinvale),
and Peter Johns and Michael Bilucaglia (South Mildura).
And the list goes on............and on................and on!