Thomson captain Samuel Jacka will enter this weekend’s interleague clash against the Heathcote DFL as one of the favourites for the GDFL’s Daryl Jones best on ground medal.
The tall defender appears to be Thomson’s sole on field representative on Saturday.
And his form has been red hot since he first donned the league’s maroon and white last year, showcasing brave pack marks in the dying stages of the GDFL’s four point win.
“I thought that was a huge reward for his hard work last year because we had done a fair bit of work into getting him at this (interleague) level,” Thomson co-coach Brent Taylor said.
“He’s played that defensive role really well over the years but it’s been evident since last year’s interleague game (at Wedderburn) especially.”
The 188cm tall Jacka finished with 12 marks (five in the final term) that day ahead of his teammates Kieran Fulton (seven) and Dalton Grundell (six) on the other end.
However he would be pipped by first year GDFL speedster Michael Best (Inverleigh) for the medal after the 21-year-old finished with 28 disposals and four marks running off half back.
Still, the Tiger was able to guide his side to a second straight finals series thanks to his new level of confidence when replacing Taylor as Thomson’s premier backman last year.
In his fourth year as the club’s senior co-coach Taylor, who was named as a backman in the 2016 GDFL team of the year, admits that he couldn’t be prouder.
“If I had to compare him to a player to the guys from the league that’s coming down then I’d use Tom Stewart from Geelong as an example of Sam as a defender,” Taylor added.
After two appearances for the GFL interleague side under former Thomson coach Glen Wallace, the 190cm tall Stewart would make the final squad of the Victorian country team in 2014.
Such was the (then) 21-year-old’s performance down back that legendary coach Peter Knights rated his display as “outstanding” in what would be the turning point of his GFL career.
Jacka’s playing future will not come close to that of Stewart who is currently touted as an All Australian contender after an impressive performance against Collingwood.
Nevertheless a strong performance on Colbinabbin half forward Hadleigh Sirrett (or White Hills goal-kicker Jordan Waldron) may be enough for him to join Stewart as a Worksafe medallist.
“Sammy just has to be confident that he belongs in this side, which he does, and he needs to have that attitude where he’s confident he’s going to beat his opponent,” Taylor added.
By Alex Tigani
GDFL Media (15/05/2018)