2023 William Buck Premier Men’s Team of the Year Squad

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In 2023, William Buck Premier Men’s saw the highest number of players come through the competition in over a decade. 

For the first time in the VAFA’s 130-year plus history, a 50-man squad has been selected in conjunction with the William Buck Premier coaches, Presidents and staff. 

VAFA Media’s Joe Pignataro (Chairman of Selectors) and Josh Heriot have also been part of the selection process in deciding which players have had outstanding seasons worthy of recognition. 

Thirteen players from the 2022 final team of the year are part of the squad that’s been selected, 

Minor premiers Collegians boast the most representatives of the squad with nine. No team has kicked more goals than the Lions with focal points Dave Mirra and Will Pocknee giving opposition defenders nightmares in the weeks leading up to playing against them. Being delivered the ball on a platter by the King, Kenny Ong. And, Gentleman Jim Bazzani. 

Reigning premiers St Kevin’s continuing on a high-level of excellence with eight. Brothers Mitch and Josh Wallis could follow in the footsteps of the Daicos boys who earned All-Australian selection in 2023. The latter being part of the 2021 Team of the Year. 

Old Scotch are in the window, and the six players selected will all be pivotal in having their say on the fortunes of the Cardinals during September. While fellow finalist University Blues have had five players part of the final 50. 

Leadership is a key-pillar to any football team, six club captains have been recognised for outstanding on-field performances and guiding their team throughout the 2023 season. 

This year saw the return of the Big V, with 16 of the 22 continuing on their stellar seasons by earning selection as part of the squad.

Oscar Roberts Caulfield Aiden Franetic Old Scotch
Julian Dobosz Caulfield Ben Hays Old Scotch
Sam Sofronidis Collegians James Tarrant Old Scotch
Luke McCleary Collegians Henry Brown Old Scotch
Matt Warren Collegians Dan Robinson Old Xaverians
Kenny Ong Collegians Marcus Stavrou Old Xaverians
Jim Bazzani Collegians Charlie MacIsaac Old Xaverians
Dylan Thomas Collegians Sam Cameron St Kevin’s
Dave Mirra Collegians Josh Tynan St Kevin’s
Will Pocknee Collegians Luke Winter St Kevin’s
Will Mayhood Collegians Cam Hodges St Kevin’s
Tom Yorgey Old Brighton Cal Matheson St Kevin’s
Kai Dimattina Old Brighton Mitch Wallis St Kevin’s
Harry Hill Old Brighton Josh Wallis St Kevin’s
Tom Fisher Old Brighton Shaun Kennedy St Kevin’s
Ben Pryor Old Brighton Will Coates St Kevin’s
Durras Seccull Old Haileybury Campbell Moorfield University Blacks
Brodie Steele Old Haileybury Lachie Knight University Blacks
Josh Gasparini Old Haileybury Louis Vescio University Blacks
Sam Loewe Old Haileybury Josh Steadman University Blacks
Josh Freezer Old Melburnians Marty Gleeson University Blues
Ben Harding Old Melburnians Tom Cutler University Blues
Jackson Paine Old Melburnians Ed Ziebath University Blues
Brodie Easton Old Scotch Sam Grimley University Blues
Doug Lawrence Old Scotch Ayce Cordy University Blues

Notable inclusions:

Will Pocknee; Collegians: Between 2014-2022 he had played 34 senior games and kicked 11 goals in total. Jared Rivers and the purple army decided over the off-season to unlock this caged Lion in 2023, and he has paid them back in droves. 39 goals from 15 games this year for ‘Pockers’ and with a finals campaign looming, he could be anything this September. 

Josh Steadman; University Blacks: Announced his retirement in the final home and away game of the season, Steadman was selected as the Big V ruckman and has been a dominant force in the ruck right throughout 2023. He finished with 133 senior games next to his, a 2x Big V representative and the co-captain of the Uni Blacks for the fifth consecutive season. 

Kai Dimattina; Old Brighton: The son of a gun made his senior debut with the Tonners in Round 5, and remained part of the side for every game thereafter. Part of the best players eight times, he earned an Anytime Fitness Rising Star nomination in Round 11 and has made every post a winner in 2023. 

Ben Harding; Old Melburnians: A brilliant debut season in the VAFA, running the midfield of the Old Melburnians. Harding had the most disposals of any player in William Buck Premier (541) at an average of 31 per game. Was also ranked #1 for contested possessions, handballs, clearances and centre clearances. Let’s not forget he also put a knife through the heart of the Perth Football League with a goal late in the game on July 15.

The final squad will be released in the coming weeks.