It’s that time of year again! For footballers, the months of March and April traditionally represent the end of torturous, arduous pre-seasons and the beginning of long-awaited matches.
For those student-footballers at the University of Adelaide, these months have also come to represent the beginning of the intervarsity football schedule. Set in a context far apart from the standard local and country leagues abundant throughout South Australia, intervarsity is a platform for footballers studying at the University of Adelaide to come together, put aside their home-club allegiances and represent their university on the national stage.
Trials to make the AU intervarsity team began in early March. Numbers and the general excitement around IV has grown year-on-year, and 2018 was no exception. Over 30 footballers registered their interest in playing IV footy this year by showing up to one or both of the trials.
On the 30th anniversary of his selection to the All-Australian intervarsity team as a player, Michael Dadds (President of the AUFC) is back on board in a coaching capacity. Michael’s enthusiasm on his return to intervarsity has been palpable. “For me, intervarsity represents one of the truly great joys of being at uni and playing footy. I’m genuinely excited to have the privilege of being part of bringing this joy to another generation of Adelaide Uni students.”
The final team was selected on 27 March. It is made up of a host of Adelaide University Football Club players, but also others from clubs such as Kapunda, Mitcham, Modbury, Payneham, Saint Ignatius and Pembroke Old Scholars. Ryder Thomas, from Mitcham Football Club, missed out on IV in 2017 after playing in 2016 and says it feels “really good” to be back. “It's pretty special playing intervarsity football for the University of Adelaide, especially when we are up against the other universities around Australia. We got the win [against ANU] last time I played and this year I feel the boys are ready to do that again.”
Whilst for some (including key forward Patrick Baker, midfielder Sam Harms and half-back Toby Maughan) it is their third consecutive year of intervarsity Football, 10 members of the team travelling to Canberra will be making their intervarsity debut. Elias Tsouvallas, from the Payneham Football Club Falcons, says he is highly impressed by the standard of the team. Tsouvallas says he feels extremely lucky to be a part of the IV program and is “itching” to get on the plane to Canberra.
“The energy out on the track has been fantastic, and from the outset, the boys have all been really welcoming and encouraging; even when we were competing for spots!. [Intervarsity] looks set to be a fantastic event and a really innovative initiative by the University and AU Sport to get students involved in its community. Now in my 4th year at the Adelaide University, I honestly thought I’d experienced everything uni life has to offer, having been involved in student societies, academic tutoring, and peer mentoring programs in the past; but it just goes to show the wide range of experiences Adelaide Uni has on offer - regardless of where your interests lie!”
The Adelaide University team as named below travels to Canberra on Tuesday, 17 April to play Australian National University, before taking on Melbourne University in Adelaide on May 15.