The UniSA Eagles are a family-oriented club with a rich history since beginning life in the 2nd year of the Gridiron SA competition. The club is in the process of rebuilding and is putting a focus on culture including coaches that care about every player’s development and commitment on the field.
The Eagles ended last year on a high with an unlikely defeat of the Hogs, two weeks prior to their opponents winning the Gridiron SA title. However, it was a rare positive in a season including 7 losses and a tie from its ten games.
The Eagles had the most porous defense in the league giving up 33 points per game whilst the offense, that shone in periods couldn’t find the consistency quarter to quarter. Coach, Damian Garcia is targeting an improvement in 2018 through not only consistency but improving the diversity of the offence, ensuring they present multiple threats to defenses.
Last year’s QB Sam Crummey (10 TDs, 11 Ints) and leading back Ian Naulty (752 Yds) are back in the fold as are leading receivers Steven Draper and Sebastian Burford-Gorst who both hit pay dirt five times.
Jarrad Van der Weijngaart, who led the Eagles with 4.5 Sacks moves to the offensive line with Josh Djaic, a second-year player stepping in as a threat in the pass-rush. Josh has had state team trials and could be one to watch.
The Eagles have plenty of rookie players, and some returning vets, who may take some time to integrate with the rest of the line-up and so expect the Eagles to make improvements week to week. Captains for the season include long term veteran Jesse Wyten, Oakley Abela, Leroy Wyten and first-year captain Sam Crummey.
The season couldn’t begin with harder opponents with the grand finalists first-up. Whilst a third state title appears unlikely, it is hoped that the Eagles will be competitive week-to-week and have a record closer to .500