As we head into 2020, the editorial staff at IOU can't help put look back on the decade that has been. Australian Ultimate has picked up hugely since 2010, growing both our player base and our international presence. Something we couldn't help but considering is which players have defined this decade? Who has been a prolific and steady presence throughout the years, delivering results for their club and country?
After much heated debate, we've handpicked 28 men and women, split into 7 offensive and defensive lines, who have defined this era of Australian Ultimate. Let's get the ball rolling with our defensive male picks!
Lachlan “Macca” MacDonald has been the best shutdown defender of this decade, hands down. For the last 10 years, Macca has been Australia’s answer to the other team’s best player. Handler, cutter, deep threat, it doesn’t matter. With his incredible agility and relentless pressure, Macca can remove them from the equation.
Nowadays the defensive meta is moving away from 1 on 1 but back in 2012 Macca was in his element. His best game was for the Dingoes in 2012 where he shut out Bart Watson, USA’s best primary cutter at the time. I’ll always remember the look of defeat on Watson’s face after his third cut was totally nullified. Macca didn’t notice, never taking his eyes from Watson’s hips. For me, this relentless focus is what made Macca a decade-defining defender for Australia. — ME
Q: What do you say about the man you wrote 1400 words about a few months ago?
A: Nothing else. — MH
I could just write “YEAH HOS” here about 50 times and you’d get the general gist of why Mark “Woodley” Isherwood makes this list. Similar to his rallying cry, Woodley has made his name as the most relentless and, for lack of a better word, annoying defender in Australia. Since 2011, when he decided to lose 10kgs and start trying, Woodley has been Australia’s best ‘big man’ defender, both physically and mentally harassing the opposing deep threat into submission.
With two Dingoes appearances and one World Games squad mention, Woodley has had his presence felt (or heard) the world over. He brings an intensity and passion to the field that is rare to find in modern players. Woodley makes this list for his physical and effective brand of defence, as well as for being one of the best team mates in the game. — ME
Andrew “AJ” Jackson is the kind of player that makes me love Ultimate Frisbee. He is the pure jock and nerd hybrid - a great athlete with speed, agility and power who also has a brain the size of a large watermelon. I don’t even know if a bigger brain corresponds to being smarter but I bet that AJ does.
I sometimes think of AJ as the flip side of Tex. Both players have impeccable timing, game sense, block-getting potential and consistency. Tex’s powers seem to come from an innate read of the game that operates beyond the level of the conscious. By contrast, AJ’s comes from an almost hyper-consciousness, a frisbee knowledge that can transfer the mental into the physical at a speed which few other players can match. Both him and Tex have been on countless Worlds teams and are on this list for exactly that reason. They are doing the thing before any defender can stop them. And that thing is backed up by an athleticism that makes them almost unstoppable cutters. And that’s before they’ve even got the disc... — MH
Tom “Cupcake” Tulett is undoubtedly Australia’s most famous male Ultimate player. With his unique ‘hobo samurai’ look, incredible array of throws and high flying bids, there is good reason for that. Starting his career as a hard-nosed defensive standout, Cuppas earned his bread collecting spectacular blocks all over the world. He’s played all over SE Asia and more recently the US and UK. His backhand is one of, if not the best in Australia. More recently, he’s matured into a top-level offensive threat, adding to his speed and throwing range and co-captaining Colony to a WUCC silver. — ME
Born of an age when anger was a more powerful motivator in our sport, Gavin Moore is one of the last standing bastions of pure, unadulterated rage left in Australian Ultimate. For anyone that finds that concept scary or undesirable, consider first that love and hate are both just displays of passion, something that Gav brings every time he steps on the field.
If you can control its output, there are plenty of times on the ultimate field where anger, might be your answer. Need to overcome an opposing offensive threat? Just get angry and make it happen. Need to bring your team back from the brink of defeat? Just stoke the rage (passion) you know burns within them and defy the odds.
OR just have Gav on your team.
Gav is the single most determined Ultimate player I’ve ever shared the field with. He is a fearless leader and will let his plays do the talking. The craziest shit I’ve ever seen was when he roofed Beau Kitteridge in the 2016 Dingoes pool game against the USA. Gav has been inspiring me and the whole of Australia since the mid 2000’s and he’s not showing any signs of stopping! — ME
In 2006, the doctor told Jimmy “JTH” Tod Hill that he’d never run again, let alone play Ultimate at the highest possible level. Since then, after completely ignoring his advice, JTH has only added to his trophy cabinet, going on to become one of, if not the most decorated player in Australian Ultimate history. His tally includes winning silver at WUGC 2016, silver at WUCC 2018 and 6 gold medals at the Australian Ultimate Championships. All that without a forehand.
JTH remains one of the unsung heroes of the last decade, always doing his part for the team both on and off the field and doing it well. JTH is a player that’s somehow always in the right place at the right time and just ‘gets it done’. In a high-pressure point, it's JTH you want on the field. — ME
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