The much-anticipated start to the SANFL season tonight at City Mazda Stadium is deep-seeded with nostalgia with former West Adelaide player Hamish Hartlett returning home to face his former SANFL club.
Hartlett began his football at Edwardstown Football club before playing under 17’s and 19’s with Westies. He went on to captain the Sacred Heart College first XVIII side prior to making his SANFL debut in 2007. With seven games of senior footy Hartlett was award the round 16-star search award nomination and would continue his fine form playing in the senior side throughout 2008. This was capped off by playing in South Australian under 18’s championship side and earning an All Australian selection for the dominance he displayed. Hartlett was rewarded for a stellar 2008 season by being selected at pick 4 to Port Adelaide in the 2008 AFL National Draft.
Former West Adelaide coach, Andrew Collins described Hartlett as “one of the most talented players he had seen come through the system”.
Best known for his dynamic left foot and booming long kick, Hartlett was quick to make an impact on than Power coach Mark Williams debuting in round 4 against Hawthorn at the MCG in a 30 point win.
While at Port, Hartlett has been named best first year player in 2009, best under 21 player in 2011 and won the Showdown Medal in the first showdown at the newly developed Adelaide Oval in 2014, racking up 29 disposals and kicking a goal. He has been part of the Power leadership group since 2012 and was named the powers vice-captain for this coming season.
Hamish is not the only Hartlett to don the red and black with older brother and former Carlton player Adam playing for the bloods from 2010 until 2015 and being a key part to Westies 2015 premiership success, where he applied his trade down back.
This will not be the first time Hartlett has returned to West Adelaide, as in 2012 as part of the SANFL old rules, Hartlett played a handful of games in his bid to return from injury.
After suffering an ACL tear early in the 2018 season at training, Hartlett will make his return to senior competitive footy tonight in an anticipated match to open the 2019 SANFL season under lights at City Mazda Stadium.
Hartletts return is not the only homecoming of this match-up with former West Adelaide premiership player Will Snelling returning to the club for the 2019 season to don the red and black again after his time in the AFL system.
Ironically Snelling will be taking on his former side Port Adelaide Magpies, where he was a standout last year dominating in the midfield averaging 23.7 disposals and 8 tackles a game. Snelling’s superb season last year was top off with him being named the A.R McLean medalist as the B & F for the Magpies.
Snellings time with the Bloods senior team was impressive, getting heavy midfield minutes at the age of 17 and finishing that year hoisting the 2015 premiership cup. His strong season did not stop there showing his maturity by being selected as the South Australian captain for the under 18’s championship side where he was awarded MVP for South Australia due to the hard edge and leadership he brought to the group.
Selected with pick 10 in the 2015 AFL Rookie Draft, Snelling proved his worth in 2016 making his AFL debut in round 23 against the Gold Coast Suns kicking a goal along with 15 disposals and 6 tackles in a 33-point win to close out the Powers 2016 campaign.
Snelling is happy to be re-joining his former side and is excited and optimistic for the what the season ahead holds.
Come down to City Mazda Stadium tonight at 7:20 to cheer on the Bloods as they open their 2019 season against the Magpies.