The Adelaide University Gridiron Club has won 24 premierships since the Gridiron League of South Australia was formed in 1985. Originally, known as the Eastside Razorbacks up until the affiliation with Adelaide University started in 2014.
Known as either Razorbacks or Hogs, the team enters the 2018 with the opportunity of winning the Great Southern Bowl for the sixth consecutive season. They are used to having the target on their back with every team looking to knock them off. They go into this season with the championship as their minimum expectation.
The regular season record was below expectations (5-5), however the season was significant impacted by the loss of Josh Welbourn (who had 534 yards, 9 TDs and no interceptions before his injury 4 games into the season). However, with a trip to the big dance stamped they took the prize home by beating the Chiefs in the Semi, and then winning the Great Southern Bowl in a thrilling overtime period against the undefeated Spartans.
Jos Builder took the majority of the snaps after Welbourn’s injury and threw for over 700 yards and 8 TD’s. Julian Rech led the ground game with 328 yards rushing, whilst Cecil Buckskin was the goalline threat pounding in for five rushing TDs. All-rounder, Henry Olsson had over 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving, as well as 272 punt-return yards and 38 tackles.
Defensively, Jaden Valles led the team in tackles (41) and sacks (3.5), whilst head coach Thomas Etherton had three interceptions. The group returns in pretty good shape, although Rech will not play due to work commitments.
Welbourn returns at QB and is one of the team captains, as are Olsson, Gavin Jones and Tom Rose, with Jaden Valles and Sam Morton as first-time selections. The Hogs begin the season after last week’s bye with a challenging game against the Eagles, however a key game on the horizon is week 4’s Friday night grand final replay that should be in your calendar by now!