With recent discussions in AFL circles around school football, we thought it would be worthwhile looking back over the past 30 years to come up with what could arguably be the best team from the Associated Catholic Colleges Victoria (ACC) football competition. This team comprises former students that played during the AFL era (1990 onwards), but have since retired. Who would you nominate? What are your thoughts on the players nominated? We will run a separate poll on the 48 players from ACC schools that are currently on AFL lists. Keep an eye out over the coming days and have your say.
The ACC comprises 12 Catholic boys’ schools from in and around Melbourne. We conduct a mid-week football competition involving 80 teams and around 2,500 students, with a significant number of current students involved in the NAB Talent Program.
In 2019, we had 72 senior students playing in the NAB League across seven of the Clubs, with four of those players drafted to AFL Clubs: Miles Bergman (St Bede’s College), Dylan Williams (Whitefriars College), Jake Riccardi (St Bernard’s College) and Ryan Byrnes (St Bede’s College).
In 2018, a stellar year for our competition, 8 players were drafted including the number 1 pick, Sam Walsh (St Joseph’s Geelong). Other players drafted in that year included Riley Collier-Dawkins (Salesian College), Xavier O’Halloran (St Bernard’s College), Xavier O’Neill (Whitefriars College), Ben Cavarra (St Joseph’s College Ferntree Gully), Lachlan Sholl (St Bernard’s), Brayden Ham (St Joseph’s Geelong) and Atu Bosenavulagi (CBC St Kilda).
Looking back further in our history, the quality of players from ACC schools to go on and play at the elite level include numerous highly respected and successful people. Brownlow Medallists in James Bartel, Peter Bedford, Trent Cotchin, Gerard Healy and Dane Swan. AFL coaches in Luke Beveridge, Damien Hardwick, Kevin Sheedy, John Kennedy Snr, Phonse Kyne, Alan La Fontaine, Brendan McCartney and Jock McHale. 300 game players in John Blakey, Jude Bolton, Barry Breen, Jack Dyer, Gary Foulds, Shannon Grant, Simon and Justin Madden, Mick Martyn and Rohan Smith, in addition to numerous Club captains, best and fairest winners and premiership champions. The 2018 NAB Rising Star, Jaidyn Stephenson, played for St Joseph’s College Ferntree Gully in ACC competition.
With this rich history and a promising talent pool of current players, a key point of difference is that none of our schools offer sporting scholarships. Our schools take great pride in developing their talent from within and work in collaboration with the AFL and AFL Victoria to enable their elite students to represent their school and complete their NAB League commitments. Visit our Sports Hall of Fame to look over details of our extensive sporting history: https://www.accmelb.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Hall-of-Fame.pdf