With the season looking unlikely to resume this season after the goalposts for community sport return was set at 80 per cent of the adult population being vaccinated, what better time than to put a team of the year together.
This one will have a bit of a spin on it as this will be the best of the best from the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area from the Riverina Football League for 2021.
While it was a tough season for both of the Leeton-Whitton Crows and Griffith Swans first grade sides, they were both able to finish the season as it stands on a high note.
Here is MIA sports journalist Liam Warren's pick for the Team of the Year.
Jason Burke (Leeton-Whitton)
The youngster has come on as a bit of a utility who can play anywhere across the backline. He has continued to progress through the ranks in the Giants academy and was a key part of the resurgence of the Crows in the later stages of the season.
Charlie Cunial (Griffith)
A big body in the backline who stood up when asked in what was a young Griffith Swans side this year. Cunial has been put into the leadership group, and it is a role he has taken with both hands. His performances at the back have been consistent in what was a tough season for the Swans.
Bailey Wood (Leeton-Whitton)
Another of the Crows utilities in the backline who has been thrown up forward on a couple of occasions this season. Kick six goals this season when thrown forward but has had an impact wherever he has been deployed this season
Alex Daly (Leeton-Whitton)
He has been a constant in the Crows this season and was another who stood up when the Crows were on their good run in the late stages of the season. Was in the best for the Crows five times as was important in their backline.
James Toscan (Griffith)
Toscan had another strong year for the Griffith side. He passed 200 games this season and was thrown forward at the start of the season with some success kicking 11 goals before returning to his usual position across the halfback line.
Thomas Meline (Leeton-Whitton)
He took on the role as captain this season and took his performances to another level. Played in every single game this season for the Crows and was always in the running for the best on ground votes. Was thrown forward at stages in the season kicking nine goals but was also strong down back when thrown down the other end of the field.
Jay Summers (Griffith)
It was a great debut season for Summers. The youngster who would have otherwise featured in the Swans undefeated under 17s side but was thrown in the deep end into first grade and took the opportunity with both hands. He didn't look out of place and will be one to watch in the future for the Swans.
Ryan Grey (Leeton-Whitton)
One of the most consistent performers in the competition. In the 15 games he played for the Crows this season he was in the bests on 12 occasions. He won the praise of his coach Sam Darley and it is clear to see why. If there was a contest anywhere on the ground, Grey was always nearby and willing to throw his body into the action. Add to that his strong hands and accurate kick and Grey makes a good all-round package.
Angus Crelley (Leeton-Whitton)
Another of the Crows young brigade who has been progressing through the Giants ranks when not featuring for the Crows. The hard-working midfielder puts in effort, whether it is helping his side move up the ground or getting back in defence.
Kahlan Spencer (Griffith)
Spencer had a great first full season in first grade and was seen as a leader in the young side. Spencer was always around the ball, whether it be in the middle of the park or up forward when taking a rest from being on the ball. He finished with 13 goals for the season and continued his progression into a senior football.
Henry Delves (Griffith)
In his first season back at the club, Delves was the key man in the Swans forward line. Even with the tough season Griffith endured, Delves finished third in the RFL goal kicking with 40 majors for the season, and his ability to take a tough overhead mark made him a danger in the Swans forward line.
Bryce O'Garey (Leeton-Whitton)
For a player who was hanging up the boots after the Crows fell in last year's Riverina Championship final to Wagga Tiger, O'Garey showed why he was seen as one of the best in the region. In the 11 games, O'Garey was able to play this season, he finished in the bests seven times and was another experienced head the Crows needed after the departure of some core members at the end of last season.
Nathan Richards (Griffith)
The big body of Richards can be utilised not only crashing the pack in the forward line but also as a second ruckman if needed. He played in the middle of the ground for the majority of the season, but with a long kick can be dangerous anywhere in the forward 50. Richards was another of the consistent performers finishing in the bests in nine of 14 games.
Tyron Rainbird (Leeton-Whitton)
Having made the trip up from Tasmania this season, Rainbird slotted in well to the Crows forward line. The big forward kicked 32 goals this season which included a huge haul of eight against Turvey Park in their second last game of the season. If he sticks around for another season, the Crows will be looking for more of the same in 2022.
Jay Tang (Leeton-Whitton)
The speedy utility had a great first full season in first-grade footy. He was dangerous on the wing for the Crows, but his small frame could also prove a problem when going forward as he was able to break away from any marker with his pace.
Mason Dryburgh (Leeton-Whitton)
Dryburgh is an easy choice for ruckman. Gets through an absolute mountain of work around the ground and isn't often not in the middle of the ground, even in the later stages of the game. While his kick may not be as accurate as others, he is strong in the air with good hands and is always looking to pass the ball off to any player running past.
Jack Rowston (Griffith)
Was one of the best performers for the Swans this season. Was in the bests for 10 of the 15 games this season and is a hard worker in the midfield. Rowston isn't afraid to put his body on the line in the contest to try and win the ball. His return to the Swans this season was well-timed as he added some needed experience to a young side.
Sam Darley (Leeton-Whitton) - coach
Having finally been able to link up with the Crows this season, Darley was one of the best in the competition this season. He was up among the player of the year votes right up until the end of the season, and there were only two games where he was not in the bests. While he may not be coaching the Crows again next season, it seems he may try to play as a travelling player after he heads back to Victoria with his young family.
Matt Rainbird (Leeton-Whitton)
Another of the veterans who decided against hanging up the boots after the 2020 season. Rainbird was a key component in the Crows side, but his season was impacted by injuries seeing him only play six games, but his experience was a welcome addition.
Oliver Bartter (Griffith)
Another of the Griffith youngsters who was thrown in the deep end and took huge steps into cementing a spot in the Swans first-grade side this season. Bartter can be deployed anywhere on the field and have an impact and isn't shy of putting his body on the line.
Taine Moraschi (Griffith)
He came into his own in the later stages of the season when deployed on the wing for the Swans. One of the talented youngsters who has been flying the flag for the Swans at the Giants academy, and it is clear to see why. Moraschi finished in the bests in four of the nine first grade games he played this season.
Jack Powell (Griffith)
Powell has had a positive impact on the young Swans side, having come from Canberra this season. Powell was a dangerous onballer who was often up in the bests for the Swans.
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