If our male and female defensive decade superstars wowed us with their athletic prowess, aggression and hunger for the disc, this list of players impressed the nation with their poise, balance and discipline executing on Australian O-lines all over the world.
These are the guys you can build an offence around. The ones who you can count on to not break under the most intense pressure. This is our men's offence team of the decade!
Tim Lavis is an incredible talent and also an incredible realist. The game of Ultimate Frisbee is played with the aim of winning within the structures established by its governing bodies. And like any good player from a steel town like Newcastle, Lavis respects structures. He is not a slave to them, but he sees them for what they are - a way to scale great heights. And he can and will do whatever it takes in that moment to win.
Few players in the last decade have been better at getting a W, through a combination of spectacular plays but also unbelievable control. In the mouth of Lavis, “just don’t turn it over” goes from a banal truism to a sacred commandment. He can control the pace of the game, move it around, find an opening, and just bloody hold onto it, despite everything you throw at him, until you’re broken (literally on the mark, or metaphorically in spirit). It’s something special, something that feels like its been lost. He’s on this team because when you’re standing next to him on the line, you’re always sure you’re gonna get it done. — MH
What can I say about Tex or Peter Perfect that has not already been said? A natural athlete, Tex launched himself onto the scene with an appearance in the 2008 Barramundies squad and subsequent 2009 Crocs team, after only starting to play the game in 2006!
Yes Tex is fast, yes he can jump, and you bet he can throw better than most, but he’s not in the top three in Australia at any of these skills. What sets Tex apart is his near perfect timing, game sense and the simple fact that he does not make mistakes. I’ve never shared the field with someone who is easier to play with than Tex, he just ‘gets it’. Don’t bother asking him how he does it, I did once and was just told to “be really good”. — ME
‘Tom Rogacki Can Do Whatever He Wants’ would have been the headline of my 2019 AUL wrapup. It could have equally been the headline for my 2016 WUGC wrap-up. Or maybe for every Nationals season since I started playing. Indeed, when it comes to Australian Ultimate over the past 20 years, we could probably engrave it on every trophy we’ve ever made. Tom Rogacki can do whatever he wants.
No one else has towered over Australian Ultimate, literally and figuratively, for as long or as convincingly as Tom Rogacki. He was still dominant in 2013 at World Games, so much so that Skyd Magazine picked him in a global draft of the best teams in the world. He was still dominant in 2016 when he topped the stats for the Silver medal-winning Mundis (leading assist thrower AND goal scorer). He was still dominant in 2019 when he became the only person to win back-to-back AUL titles. It’s Tom Rogacki’s decade - we’ve just been playing in it. — MH
If watching Alex Ladomatos makes you question the relationship between the mechanical and organic, then watching Liam Grimmond makes you question the relationship between your eyes and reality. Simply put, the man performs miracles on the field, with the disc and without it. He can manufacture a block from nothing. He can release from anywhere, faster than you can yell “NO BREAKS”. He’ll catch discs, high or wide, that have no business being caught. He’s a magician.
It’s fair to argue that it’s early in his career to call him a player of the decade. But he’s got two U24 medals, the National Championship and abilities that put him in a class of his own. He’s a legitimate and obvious, if not reluctant, superstar. And with many of the greatest players of the decade stepping back from Worlds in 2020, he’s one that looks set to step up and take their spot as a feature of Australian Ultimate teams for years to come. This decade is just the start. — MH
This might be the first and only time I’ve told Mark he’s good at Ultimate, even though he’s probably been better than me since at least 2009. But as it much as it pains me to admit it, he is one of the best players and leaders we’ve ever produced.
The apocryphal story, of course, is that Mark was cut from Juniors in 2008 for an attitude problem. He was so outraged that he devoted himself to Ultimate and made the Dingoes just four years later. The truth though is that the attitude was a feature, not a bug. Mark works hard so that his arrogance is deserved, his confidence is assured and his mouth is writing checks his abilities can cash.
He sets incredibly high standards and exceeds them. There’s no-one on this list (the Gack excepted) who can finish a point better than Mark Evans.
I used to be scared of the greats when I started, usually a combination of awe, intimidation, and inspiration. The rookies today look at Mark the same way. That’s greatness and Mark’s got it. — MH
Put simply, Seb Barr has been the most dominant pure offensive handler of the decade. It started with a snub from juniors selections in 2006, quickly followed by a selection to the Barramundis in 2008. Since then, Seb has featured in every major world tournament as a starting offensive handler for Australia, twice for the Crocs and now three times for the Dingoes.
In contrast to a lot of other players on this list, Seb is not defined by his athleticism or even the power he can put behind his throws, but instead his ability to make the right decision and execute the right thow. Every. Single. Time. His cool head under pressure and impeccable throwing balance/form are still unmatched in Australia to date. — ME
It’s unfortunate that Mike Neild can’t deliver his own write-up as a rousing, sweaty, late-game pump-up speech, while looking you in the eye with the force of 1000 suns. But if you could picture that image and hold it in your head, it might help give you the feeling of why he’s on the team of the decade.
Obviously, Mike leads with his words. But he also does so with his actions. With his speed, height and athleticism, Mike gives you one of the biggest throwing windows of any player Australia’s ever produced. If there is a turn, he will be the one who puts in and gets it back for you. When you look up a picture of big game player, there’s a picture of Mike. A true legend of the game. — MH
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