Brisbane has dominated selections in the NEAFL Team of Year with five players and coach Mitch Hahn featuring in the class of 2019.
Matt Eagles, Corey Lyons, Ryan Bastinac, Ben Keays and Keidean Coleman were awarded with selection whilst Hahn was named NEAFL Coach of the Year after guiding the Lions to a historic first ever undefeated home-and-away season.
There was more history to be made for Brisbane in the form of Coleman, who became the first ever academy member to the named in a NEAFL Team of the Year.
NT Thunder co-captain Abraham Ankers was rewarded for his dominate season by being selected as captain.
Check out the full team and player/coach bios below.
2019 NEAFL Team of the Year
Brodie Murdoch (Southport) Mathew Eagles (Brisbane) Tom Highmore (Canberra)
HB: Angus Baker (Canberra) Gavin Grose (Aspley) Ryley Stoddart (Sydney)
C: Nick Shipley (GIANTS) Matthew Payne (Aspley) Alex Smout (Canberra)
HF: James Rose (Sydney) Clay Cameron (Redland) Ryan Bastinac (Brisbane)
F: Ben Keays (Brisbane) Matt Hammelmann (Redland) Mitch Hardie (Canberra)
Foll: Tom Nicholls (Gold Coast) Abraham Ankers (NT Thunder) Andrew Boston (Southport)
Interchange: Jake Bartholomaeus (Sydney Uni) Adam Gulden (Sydney Uni) Corey Lyons (Brisbane) Keidean Coleman (Brisbane) Craig Malone (Redland)
Mitch Hahn (Brisbane)
Captain: Abraham Ankers (NT Thunder)
Back Pocket - TOM HIGHMORE (Canberra Demons)
A well-deserved first ever selection in the NEAFL Team of the Year in Canberra defender Tom Highmore. A rising star for a number of years, Highmore earned his place among the competition’s elite this year where his marking prowess and ball-winning ability were on show. Highmore was ranked third in the competition for intercepts and second for marks, and was named in his side’s best 10 times whilst averaging 24 disposals, nine marks, and five rebound 50s per game.
Full Back - MATTHEW EAGLES (Brisbane Lions)
Earning his first NEAFL Team of the Year selection is Brisbane fullback Matthew Eagles after a consistent season for the Lions in the NEAFL. An important cog in the defensive team which has conceded the least amount of points this year, Eagles is rarely beaten in a contest, averaging 5.5 spoils per game an operating at 80 per cent disposal efficiency when he has the ball in hand. Playing amongst a strong contingent of AFL-listed players each week, Eagles was named in the Lions best players the most times in season 2019.
Back Pocket - BRODIE MURDOCH (Southport Sharks)
A key member of Southport’s formidable defensive unit, Brodie Murdoch proved unpassable on many occasions throughout 2019. The key defender led Southport for rebound 50s this year and was key in setting up his side’s attacking plays from the back half, averaging five long kicks per game. A dual premiership player with Port Melbourne in the VFL and Southport in 2018, Murdoch is the unsung hero in the Sharks side.
Half-Back - ANGUS BAKER (Canberra Demons)
Rising Star winner Angus Baker has had a season to remember for the Canberra Demons and is a worthy addition to this year’s Team of the Year. The 21-year-old was among the competition leaders all season for his match-winning ability, highlighted with being ranked No.1 in the league for Champion Data ranking points and second for disposals. Named among his side’s best 14 times from 17 games, Baker averaged 30 disposals, seven marks and five rebound 50s playing off half-back in 2019.
Centre Half-Back - GAVIN GROSE (Aspley Hornets)
Making his return to the NEAFL Team of the Year in 2019 is Aspley veteran Gavin Grose. Marking his fifth Team of the Year selection overall since his first in 2011, Grose used all of his experience and strength to be a key pillar in the Hornets defence, which conceded the second least amount of points behind Brisbane. Grose was ranked second in the competition for spoils and was named in his side’s best 10 times, regularly showcasing his star quality on the field.
Half-Back - RYLEY STODDART (Sydney Swans)
There aren’t too many players in the NEAFL who can match Ryley Stoddart for pace, or are as damaging off half-back than this up-and-coming Swan. Playing 13 NEAFL games, Stoddart as rewarded for AFL selection off the back of several outstanding performances, in a season where the 19-year-old averaged 20 disposals at 78% efficiency, 5.5 marks and 4.6 rebound 50s per game to earn his first Team of the Year selection.
Wing - NICK SHIPLEY (GIANTS)
Emerging GIANTS midfielder Nick Shipley’s star quality was on show in 2019 as he regularly found himself amongst the GIANTS best players each week. Shipley was ranked inside the top 10 in almost every major statistical category for a midfielder – including disposals, contested possessions, clearances and tackles. Overall, Shipley averaged 26 disposals, six tackles and five clearances per game this year.
Centre - MATTHEW PAYNE (Aspley Hornets)
Widely regarded as the greatest NEAFL player of all time, Aspley champion Matthew Payne’s legacy only continued this season as he remained at the top of his game to earn an unprecedented eighth NEAFL Team of the Year selection. Ranked No.1 in the competition for contested possessions, fourth for disposals, third for inside 50s and third for clearances, Payne has continued his incredible run of having been selected in the NEAFL Team of the Year every season he has played. Turning 34 next month, Payne is still one of the best in the competition, and was ranked No.2 in the league for Champion Data ranking points in season 2019.
Wing - ALEX SMOUT (Canberra Demons)
Earning his first NEAFL Team of the Year selection is Canberra ball magnet Alex Smout. An attacking midfielder who’s no stranger to the Sherrin, Smout produced some huge numbers in 2019. He led the NEAFL in disposals, averaging 32 per game as well as six marks and seven clearances to earn his place on the wing.
Ruck - TOM NICHOLLS (Gold Coast SUNS)
Earning selection as ruck in the Team of the Year is Gold Coast big man Tom Nicholls, whose presence in the middle of the ground was a huge asset to the SUNS in 2019. Nicholls was ranked No.1 in the league for hard ball gets and was the only key position player in the top 10 for contested possessions – an outstanding achievement whilst playing as his side’s No.1 ruck option. Nicholls was ranked fifth in the competition for total Champion Data ranking points, also making him the highest ranked key position player.
Ruck Rover - ABRAHAM ANKERS (NT Thunder)
NT Thunder star Abraham Ankers earned his second consecutive NEAFL Team of the Year selection, but this time took it a step further by being selected as captain after another outstanding season. Ankers is without a doubt one of the most damaging midfielders in the competition. He was ranked No.2 in the NEAFL for contested possessions and No.1 for inside 50s. An Alice Springs local, Ankers’ ability to perform at the top of his game after getting on a plane nearly every week is a testamant to his leadership qualities, and why he is also highly regarded amongst his peers.
Rover - ANDREW BOSTON (Southport Sharks)
Premiership captain Andrew Boston was back at the peak of his powers in 2019 to be named as rover in the Team of the Year. In a year where Boston notched up game 100, the former Gold Coast SUN was named best-on-ground for the Sharks seven times as they remain in the hunt to defend the club’s 2018 flag. Boston led the NEAFL in clearances this year, averaging seven per match as well as 27 disposals and four inside 50s.
Half-Forward - JAMES ROSE (Sydney Swans)
There are few players who ooze more star quality in the NEAFL than Sydney’s James Rose. A goalkicking midfielder who is a genuine match-winner, Rose is often unmatched whether he lines up in the centre of the ground or floats forward. Averaging 30 disposals, six marks, six inside 50s, and seven clearances per game, Rose also hit the scoreboard with 11 goals from his 12 matches in 2019.
Centre Half-Forward - CLAY CAMERON (Redland Bombers)
Another player making his return to the NEAFL Team of the Year in 2019 is Redland forward Clay Cameron. Playing in every match for the Bombers this season, Cameron finished in the top 10 goalkickers with 36 majors and starred regularly for his side. Ranked third in the competition for marks and sixth for score assists, Cameron averaged 18 disposals, eight marks and two goals a game whilst also setting up his teammates in the forward line on numerous occasions.
Half-Forward - RYAN BASTINAC (Brisbane Lions)
One of the big stars for the all-conquering Brisbane Lions in the NEAFL this year was Ryan Bastinac. The 28-year-old consistently performed at a high standard in his 15 games and was a regular among the Lions’ best. Bastinac was damaging anywhere he went on the field, averaging 30 disposals, six marks, five inside 50s and six clearances. He kicked 19 goals and also was ranked No.1 in the competition for score assists.
Forward Pocket - MITCH HARDIE (Canberra Demons)
Earning his second consecutive NEAFL Team of the Year selection is Canberra forward Mitch Hardie. Ranked in the top 10 in the league for inside 50s, Hardie is hard to stop in attack and backed up his breakout season last year with another solid year. Averaging 20 disposals, 5.5 marks and 4.5 tackles, Hardie also kicked 22 goals and is one of the Demons’ biggest playmakers.
Full Forward - MATT HAMMELMANN (Redland Bombers)
Dual NEAFL Leading Goalkicker Matt Hammelmann assumes his place at full forward in the 2019 Team of the Year after yet another outstanding season as the competition’s best forward. Hammelmann was rarely beaten inside 50 to kick 66 goals for the year which is an impressive feat for a team which only one the three games. Hammelmann was also ranked No.1 in the competition for contested marks as the 23-year-old continues to build a terrific career in the NEAFL.
Forward Pocket - BEN KEAYS (Brisbane Lions)
Another key player in Brisbane’s success this year was forward Ben Keays. Despite playing just 14 games, Keays finished fourth in the NEAFL leading goalkicker race with an average of 2.7 per game, as well as being ranked second in the league for both goal assists and score assists. This is Keays’ first NEAFL Team of the Year selection in a season.
Joining the competition’s elite in 2019 is rising Sydney University midfielder Jake Bartholomaeus, who enjoyed a breakout season for the Students. The 21-year-old was super for his club this year, where the young gun was ranked fifth in disposals, third in contested possessions, second in clearances, fourth in tackles and second for inside 50s. Bartholomaeus flourished in a new-look Students side this year, and was named among his side’s best the most times of any player.
Interchange - CRAIG MALONE (Redland Bombers)
A formidable opponent for any ruckman in the competition, Redland big man Craig Malone was the hit-out king in 2019 to find himself in the NEAFL Team of the Year. Ranked No.1 for hit-outs and hit-outs to advantage, it is this area of the field where Malone is at his best. His worth to the Bombers line-up isn’t to be underestimated, in a breakout season where the 115kg and 198cm giant had several best-on-ground performances.
Interchange - COREY LYONS (Brisbane Lions)
Brisbane utility Corey Lyons joins the list of Team of the Year debutants in 2019 after a stellar season for the Lions. As one of the key instigators every week, Lyons was ranked second in the NEAFL for score involvements and scores from stoppages and fourth in score assists. He also hit the scoreboard himself with 15 majors and averaged 29 disposals, 6.5 marks and five inside 50s per game. To top it all off, Lyons was named among his side’s best 10 times and was ranked fifth in the league for total Champion Data ranking points.
Interchange - ADAM GULDEN (Sydney University)
The silky smooth skills of Sydney University defender Adam Gulden tore the opposition apart in 2019 as he finds himself in the NEAFL Team of the Year for the second year running. Gulden’s lethal right boot was his weapon of choice, leading the competition in effective kicks with an average of 12 per game. Overall, Gulden averaged 22 disposals, 4.5 marks and four rebound 50s per game in 2019.
Interchange - KEIDEAN COLEMAN (Brisbane Lions)
Amongst one of the strongest sides in recent memory packed with AFL-listed talent every week, was an academy member who never looked out of place. When given his opportunity, Brisbane’s Keidean Coleman didn’t disappoint. Playing in multiple roles, Coleman averaged 17 disposals at nearly 80% efficiency, plus four marks and 3.5 inside 50s per game. Highly rated by his teammates and coaching staff, Coleman also kicked 11 goals from his 16 matches. A true talent with limitless potential, he will no doubt capture plenty of attention leading up to this year’s AFL Draft.
Coach - MITCH HAHN (Brisbane Lions)
Mitch Hahn guided his NEAFL team to a record-breaking season in 2019 after he was given the task of developing the next generation of Brisbane Lions footballers. Under Hahn’s tutelage, this minor premiership-winning side had an average age of just 20.8, and 17 of the listed players to feature at NEAFL level for Brisbane this year had played less than 10 AFL games at the start of 2019. Hahn also played a big role in developing our first academy player selected in our Team of the Year in Keidean Coleman. The future certainly looks bright at the Brisbane Lions Football Club.
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