Athlete Accolades - AUC Mens Div 1 2019

2019 was a season best defined by parity between the teams, appropriately concluded by a thrilling universe point final between two great clubs. 'Out with the old, in with the new' seemed to be the trend of choice, with many veteran faces either deciding not to play D1 or simply losing a step to more athletic youth. This gap meant 2019 saw the rise of a number of players across different teams, and gave a taste of where more championships might go over the coming years.


We grilled the best in the business, and asked them which players caught their eye at Nationals this year. In typical male fashion, many of the responses submitted only contained the name of the person nominated, but we've collated the more elaborate answers for your viewing pleasure.


Get around them!


Best Player


Rob Andrews (Ellipsis) is young but dangerous, he provided big grabs in big moments and the best two way player in the game currently" - Ben Powlay (Colony)


"Tex (Colony). Playing with Tex is cheating." - Sam Odgen (Outbreak)


"Alex Ladomatos (Colony) - the completion rate on his hucking game was sickening and his work rate away from the disc is equally as vomit-inducing. It's impossible to know if you're actually stopping anything as a defender because he'll attack any part of the field. On the flipside, his trademark savagery on defence hasn't lost a step." - Timocles Copeland (Ellipsis)


"Alex Gan (Colony). The best player in Australian Ultimate. Elite throws, agility, and IQ. And he played defence this season, often taking the toughest matchup. He keeps getting better every year, who knows what his ceiling is." - Liam Grimmond (Mammoth)


"Liam Grimmond (Mammoth) - Good at every aspect of the game. Would love to play with him!" - Tony Castrignano (Juggernaut)



Best Defender


"Sam McGuckin (Ellipsis) had an absolute screamer of a Nationals. Since moving to Melbourne, he's added another level of athleticism and drive to his game and he's converting it into blocks across the park" - Max Halden (Bench)


"Dave Andrews (Colony) is good. It’s uncommon for a player with his noodly appendages to be effective both around the disc and downfield, but he locked me up (among others) wherever I went." - Liam Grimmond (Mammoth)


"John McNaughton (Mammoth) is the best defender in Australia at the moment. Doesn't matter if it's in the dump space or in the cutting lane he has the speed, footwork and awareness to make your life a real nightmare." - Mark Evans (Colony)



Best Thrower


"Tom Tulett (Ellipsis). This should be pretty undisputed. The range and edge control he has is mind blowing. Married with some spicy breaks, there isn’t a place on the field Cupcake can’t hit you." - Liam Grimmond (Mammoth)


"For me this is Mark Evans (Colony). I think Cupcake probably has a better range of throws overall, and it's a tough call for me, but Mark has specialised his longer throws in to such weapons. There are few players that can throw deep with his level of precision and power. " - Sam Odgen (Outbreak)


"You could award it to John McNaughton (Mammoth) for the impact of his pulls alone, but that would be a disservice to the way his backhand bombs, quick-release flicks and pivotal hammers have broken defenses apart this season (among plenty of others)." - Josh de Bell (Chilly)


Toughest Player to Guard


"Thomas Vo (Mammoth). He's got frightening speed and smarts, jeez. He's a serious threat both under and deep. Very hard to get near him when he's in the zone, he has the unique ability to run an offence all by himself. Or, Tim Wise (Juggernaut). He just literally cuts in full field shuttles, what are mortal human beings supposed to do with that?" - Gus Macdonald (Colony)


"Can we talk about Thomas Vo (Mammoth). I've always had tremendous respect for T.Vo but he continues to elevate his game. He's one of only three players in Australia Ultimate who have the ability to get open downfield every single time you need them and then effectively restart or continue the play. RIP your ankles." - Max Halden (Bench)


"Gavin Moore (Colony) - very personal this, as I’m sure TiVo from Brisbane would give me a run for my money but luckily he didn’t appear in my match up brochure. Gav is a smart old man with young mans legs, up and down, deep and short, he will go everywhere at impeccable timing, at speed, and a key offensive figure in the success of Uprising" - Ben Powlay (Colony)


"Tim Hayes (I-Beam) was doing a number on Cupcake during our quarterfinal. The guy is a pain for any handler in short spaces. He's quick and reactive and positions well." - Timocles Copeland (Ellipsis)



Most Underrated Player


"I think Mambo (Fyshwick) is set to make a splash this year, if he can keep his shoulder in its socket." - Mark Evans (Colony)


"Josh de Bell (Chilly). Super consistent and makes things happen on offence and defence." - Tony Castrignano (Juggernaut)


"Lachlan Bonney (Mammoth) - A relative unknown (outside of Queensland) like Bonney played a huge role for Mammoth at this tournament. He was the objectively least experienced member of their O-line, often attracting weaker match ups, and he consistently worked unders and caught goals. He made an under look easy then threw a no nonsense dump on universe point - I don't think you should underestimate the value of that in the last point of the season." - Gus Macdonald (Colony)


"Chris Stoddard (I-Beam) - how this guy doesn’t receive more of a wrap than he does is beyond me." - Tom Tulett (Ellipsis)


"For someone pigeon-holed as a stand-and-deliver handler, and best known for his work on social media, Joe Hoppe (Juggernaut) finds himself with the disc in the end zone an awful lot." - Joshua de Bell (Chilly)


"Mark McLeay (Colony) - best kept athletic secret in Australia right now, a proper rough diamond that’s beginning to shine and reap rewards. Can be exposed but what we saw in the backend of the tournament was simply frightening! If he can do that now against the best teams, what’s he going to be like in the next few years?" - Ben Powlay (Colony)


"Ben Mathews-Hunter (Fyshwick). While consistent performances weren't what we can't to expect, the entire offense hinged around Rambo getting this disc down field in front of his receivers. They put up some impressive performances, and could have made for some spicy upsets with a bit more experience." - Timocles Copeland (Ellipsis)


"Zac Chodos (Bench). He's potentially one of the best disc-distributors in Australia. When he gets in to a rhythm, and is on the move, it's very, very difficult to stop him touching the disc, and moving it around the field. But it's an under-appreciated role." - Sam Odgen (Outbreak)


"Michael Kelly (Chilly) is fantastic. He’s always scoring goals and making it look easy. Also huge props to Oliver Loughnan (Ellipsis), I heard he’s only 17 but he distributed the disc better than anyone else in the division." - Liam Grimmond (Mammoth)


"Shout out to the Josh H's (Josh Howard from Ellipsis, Josh Higgins from Sublime and Josh Hde Bell from Chilly). If you haven't heard of them yet, you will soon. I feel like this award could be perennially awarded to Dan Mathews-Hunter (Ellipsis) aka DMH aka DMX aka Cool Fox, but this year was his best Nationals performance ever. He shone for me in a team with plenty of superstars." - Max Halden (Bench)


Best Downfield Receiver


"Rob Andrews (Ellipsis) is the entire package here. Fast with big ups, he gives his throwers plenty of room for error in the deep space" - Mark Evans (Colony)


"With the caveat that the throw is in front of him and there is no requirement to layout I am going to give it to shameless self-promoter Michael Lau (Chilly). The man has pistons for legs and throughout Nationals Lausy found himself matched up against players half a foot taller than him in (mostly unsuccessful) attempts to stop him from heading deep." - Joshua de Bell (Chilly)


"I'm biased but Ant Donoghoe (Bench) is only 17 years old and he's already dominating the deep space. There hasn't been a male player who can give you a bigger margin of error for your throws (vertically and horizontally since the Gack)" - Max Halden (Bench)


"For me it’s a toss up between Alex Shepherd and James Bray (Colony). Both incredibly smart cutters with elite speed. They caught a lot of goals with likes of Mark Evans looking for them." - Liam Grimmond (Mammoth)


"Chris Stoddard (I-Beam) and number Campbell Nauman (Dogma) were unstoppable deep in the air. They pulled down almost everything over our best defenders"


"Mark Macleay (Colony). If he's not 15 metres free, he's got the springs to get up over anyone. He crushed us in our semi final because we never could to containing him." - Timocles Copeland (Ellipsis)



Smartest/Crafiest Player


"Tim Lavis (I-Beam) thinks he is, but it’s actually Alex Gan (Colony)" - Ryan Davey (I-Beam)


"Max Halden (Bench) - continuously getting it done and being one of the most effective threats on an offence line" - Tom Tulett (Ellipsis)


"John Greenfield (I-Beam). We still had players fall for him looking into the sky" - Andrew Jackson (Fyshwick)


"Ant Dowle (Colony) - Founder of the Ant Dowle Barmy Army! Unsure if he actually had a hamstring or quad left by the end of the tournament but he was a key figure in unlocking zones and efficient cutting from the stack with safe throws. Horrendously and disgustingly efficient and my idol!" - Ben Powlay (Colony)


"Loughlin Murphy (Colony). I don’t care what anyone says, Murph is the smartest player in Australian Ultimate. It’s often overlooked because he’s 7ft tall and dunking on you. His timing and willingness to make space for others is what makes so dangerous." - Liam Grimmond (Mammoth)


Most Fun to Match Up On


"Paul Denyer (Colony). Love playing on the big fella. Moves well and doesn’t mind using the body" - Tony Castrignano (Juggernaut)


"Going to hand it to Fisher Day (Bench) here. The Nationals MVP needs no other accolade but he is a gentlemen on the field, combining a tremendous work rate with a more than healthy respect for the sport and those who play it." - Joshua de Bell (Chilly)


"Alby Evans (Ellipsis) - roomed with his brother and danced with him on the pitch! He cuts hard, throws well, and forces you to be the best you can be. Great bloke who is honest and plays in the right spirit. He makes you play your best constantly all over the pitch, and will tell you when you achieve that. True reflection of what an ultimate player should be." - Ben Powlay (Colony)


"Calan Spielman (Mammoth) - the guy is super friendly, super fast, reads the play well, and is a lefty for some variety! For someone who's got such a crazy-high ceiling, his ability to slot into an offensive system is incredibly admirable. Even if you lose out you'll still have a grand time." - Timocles Copeland (Ellipsis)


"I really enjoy the matchup on Sean O Mahony (Colony). He's a lovely guy, but plays clever defence, is surprisingly quick, and isn't afraid to use a physical defense if you try and push past him. He and I have had a few matchups over the season, and it's always been super fun." - Sam Ogden (Outbreak)


"Callum Sambridge (Fyshwick). One of the hardest working defenders out there with some seriously big bids. Whether he was a fingertip away, or getting a meaty hand to a disc the smile on his face was always the same. His attitude towards competition is infectious, so I’ll always look forward to drawing that matchup." - Liam Grimmond (Mammoth)


Assorted


"Fav person to see at Coles during the tournament - Andrew Jackson (Fyshwick)" - Mark Isherwood (Juggernaut)


"Most likely to narrate a game while playing it; Alex Ladomatos. Most likely to be smiling after a loss; Greg Schrader. Smallest decline in effort and work rate as the game progress; 10km run-off between Chris Hill and Tim Wise." - Josh de Bell (Chilly)


"Best swag to weight ratio - Jono Keyes (I-Beam)" - Ryan Davey (I-Beam)