Playing in the South Australian 2018 National Under 18 Football Championships victory, Eudunda-Robertstown footballer Aaron Nietschke has etched himself into local football history.
Since the Teal Cup (under 17 competition) progressed to the under 18 championship in 1996, South Australia have only collected the title three times.
In each of these three championship victories, a NEFL footballer has been a part of our state’s success.
In the inaugural Croweaters breakthrough triumph in 2013, the under 18 side was captained by South Clare junior and current St Kilda footballer, Luke Dunstan with his Demons team-mate, current Adelaide Crow Riley Knight, also a member.
In the following year’s title, BSR Tigers key position player Jack Hayes was a member of the 2014 national championship win.
In this year's South Australian star-studded side, which has been rated the best team in 25 years at this level, Nietschke won his place in the squad and played his role well in both the travelling victories at Geelong and Etihad Stadium.
“It is certainly the highlight of my career so far,” Nietschke said.
“I didn't reckon I was going to get a game at the start of the year so to achieve it (the win) is pretty special.
“I did do the pre-season after Christmas with the Central Districts senior squad which certainly helped.
“There was a lot of team unity and resilience in our group and ‘Bangers’ (SA under 18 coach Tony Bamford) push the team first mentality.
“I'm now looking to play good football at SANFL reserves level and hopefully push for a league game before the season’s out.”
Nietschke’s favourite player for the past five years is Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe. Among his personal strengths as a footballer include his ability to read the game, work ethic and ability to find the football.
The 18-year-old, who travels from the family farm a couple of kilometres outside of Eudunda to training three times a week at Elizabeth, also spoke highly of his coach at Central District, Darren Reeves, as an important mentor and also talked about the influence his father Kym had on his football.
One of five children in the family, he is the third oldest behind sister, Kelsey (20) and brother, Sam (22) and he has younger sisters, Sophie (13) and Charlotte (8).
His parents, Kym and Karen, were in Melbourne and at Etihad for South Australia’s big win over Victorian Metro in the fourth and final game of the national championships.
The Nietschke family is full of sporting talent. Among many accolades, the men were all members of the Eudunda-Roberstown A1 reserves cricket premiership win last summer.