Andrew Marks and Westies gun Adam Hartlett visited the Riverland
It’s what West Adelaide talent development manager Andrew Marks says to me every time he visits the region.
It is said in jest – a throwback to a time when West Adelaide was referred to as ‘bloody West Adelaide’ by Riverland families and players who had been spurned by the club.
Marks was on the receiving end of this jibe several times in his first few visits to the Riverland.
It is something that has spurred him on to shake that tag and there is no doubting West Adelaide’s commitment to the region now.
The Bloods regularly send recruitment officers, coaches and players to the Riverland in a bid to further develop the club’s country heartland.
Earlier this year under 18 coach Jarrod Meers brought his side to Loxton North for an internal trial match, giving several Riverland-based West Adelaide players the chance to impress.
Andrew rates Barmera-Monash’s Jono Beech as the best player in the SANFL, while the likes of Aaron Fielke, Ben Fisher and Mason Middleton have been mainstays in the league side this season.
Jack Agostino, Brad Kirk, Drew Gallard and Lachie Jennings are just a few of the up-and-coming players in the reserves.
Andrew’s own commitment to the region includes several visits for coaching courses, junior clinics and senior trainings.
All this during a busy season for his own club which also has Foxtel Cup commitments (albeit over for this year).
This week he and former Carlton player and current Westies gun Adam Hartlett visited the region to conduct junior coaching clinics at the schools.
Both were popular among the children and equally in favour with senior Independent players from Paringa and Cobdogla after the duo took trainings there during the week.
Both were accommodating and willing to take extra time to answer questions about footy or anything else that popped up.
It hasn’t always been this way though and the Riverland should appreciate the efforts the club and these individuals have gone to in a bid to nourish local football.
Written By Nick Dillon
West Adelaide’s Adam Hartlett with the Riverland boys after training.