MEET THE TEAM: Gympie United's 2019 All-Stars are here
FOOTBALL: The Gympie United coaches have had their say, and now it's our turn.
To celebrate the start of the new A-League season, and put another exclamation mark on what was an outstanding all-round season for the Gladiators top to bottom, The Gympie Times has picked an "all-star” United Team of the Year combining all sides and their highest achievers.
This team line-up assumes a traditional 4-4-2 formation on the pitch, along with several honourable mentions to some other United stars who enjoyed great campaigns in 2019.
GOALKEEPER - Riley Bush (Under-13 Division 3)
Conceded only seven goals this year for his premiership-winning team. Goalkeeping coach Luke Wheeler lauded Bush for his constant willingness to "put his body on the line” in pursuit of a clean sheet.
Honourable mentions: Brooke Grima (Reserve Women), Ness Weaver (Premier Women), Josh Hyam (Premier Men).
DEFENDERS - Paul Primavera (Premier Men), Sammie Sutton (Premier Women, captain), Maddox Friske (Under-13 Division 3), Laura Byrne (Premier Women)
Sutton earned plaudits across the board for her leadership, competitiveness and consistency for the inaugural women's side that narrowly missed a grand final berth. Friske gets in for "dominating” his age group despite being younger than most of his opponents.
The left and right backs would ideally move up the field in possession to help with chance creation, so Primavera moves back from his usual spot on the right wing. Byrne showed attacking ability from left back, managing to get on the scoresheet once in her 17 appearances for the year.
Honourable mentions: Joachin Klein (Premier Men), Dylan Portugaller (Under-15 Division 2), Harry Johnston (Premier/Reserve Men), Reilly Boyle (Under-13 Division 2).
MIDFIELDERS - Tiahni Webber (Premier Women), Liam Watson (Premier Men, vice-captain), Ethan Dickenson (Under-16 Division 1), Noah Albion (Under-15 Division 2).
Webber proved an important cog in her side's attacking machine, while premiership winner Albion offers plenty as a link-up player and scorer.
Watson is revered as one of the club's best leaders in on-field play and discipline, and Dickenson gets a nod as one of United's biggest improvers, and brightest sparks for the future.
Honourable mentions: Billy Bayldon (Premier Men), Liam Rose (Under-13 Division 3), Connor Hanlon-Williams (Under-15 Division 2), Sam Dargusch-Haig (Under-13 Division 1), Michael Pink (Under-13 Division 3), Austin Pronger (Under-13 Division 3), Mia Albion and Charlotte Klein (Under-14 girls), Taren Mieran (Premier Men), Alexis Wilson (Under-16 girls)
FORWARDS - Jake Millard (Under-15 Division 2), Sam Bradshaw (Premier Women).
Also capable of playing in the midfield, Millard proved vital to United's Under-15 grand final win by bagging both the team's goals to overcome a 1-0 deficit against Flinders. Described as a "pocket rocket” and a "workhorse” by his coach, Luke Wheeler.
Bradshaw bagged 13 goals from 17 games for the Premier Women, showing precision and poise when her chances came.
Honourable mentions: Jayden Davey (Premier Men), Adam Cross (Premier Men), Rohan Polley (Under-15 Division 2), Leigh Hunter (Reserve Men), Callum Johnson (Division-4 Men), Josh Pratt (Under-13 Division 3), Jenna Williams (Under-14 girls).
SQUAD COACHES: Kyle Nix (Premier Men), Luke Wheeler (Under-15 Division 2), Joel Bond (Under-13 Division 3).