Better late than never.
That's how the saying goes and it sums up the release of The Daily Advertiser's Riverina League Team of the Year.
It was another fine season of football with plenty of change up and down the ladder. The highlights being Wagga Tigers' rise to premiership glory and the improvement of Narrandera, who ended a 38-game losing streak and climbed off the bottom of the ladder.
Who could have seen Collingullie-Glenfield Park's dramatic slide? While it was heartache for a second successive year for Griffith.
After much deliberation and discussion, the 2019 Team of the Year has been decided. Here it is.
Josh Buchanan (Coolamon)
A breakout season from the teenage defender, who is destined for bigger things. Buchanan was often used as a key defender, on the opposition's best forward, but the Hoppers also liked to free him up to use his run and rebound from defence. An athletic footballer with good hands and a booming kick.
James Toscan (Griffith)
Toscan enjoyed arguably his finest season that led him to Griffith's best and fairest award. Toscan looked at home at full-back this year, after playing in a number of positions throughout his career. The Swans captain took on the opposition's best forward each week and was rarely beaten.
Harry Stapleton (Turvey Park)
Stapleton established himself as one of the best small defenders in the competition this year. He was given the job most weeks on the opposition's best medium-to-small forward and did so with aplomb. He was also more than capable of providing run and rebound from defence.
Jordan Iudica (Griffith)
Iudica played a number of different roles for the Swans this season but finished the year across half-back. He never reached the heights of his 2018 season but was still a constant headache for opposition teams with his exquisite ball use and footy smarts. Finished the year with 22 goals, too.
Tim Smith (MCUE)
Smith enjoyed an outstanding debut season at MCUE and was rewarded with the club's player's player award. Smith not only performed admirably when shutting down opponents but was damaging with his intercept marking, which gave the Goannas the ability to turn defence into attack.
Dylan Morton (Wagga Tigers)
Morton put together arguably the most impressive body of work for the season. A player with maturity beyond his years, Morton often controlled games from across half-back. He had the ability to shut down, if needed, but was brilliant at reading the play, intercepting and rebounding. Also very damaging when freed up as a loose man.
Blake Harper (Collingullie-GP)
A breakout season from Harper, which led him to Collingullie-Glenfield Park's best and fairest award. The 19-year-old was a shining light in an otherwise disappointing season at Crossroads Oval. Harper spent the year on a wing where he was very hard to match up on. He is a brilliant mark and has fine skills.
Will Griggs (c) (Griffith)
Another fine season from the Griffith coach. Griggs spent more time in the midfield this year after playing mostly across half-back last season. He reminded the competition what a damaging player he is from there, winning a mountain of contested footy and rarely making a bad decision.
Jeremy Sykes (Turvey Park)
Sykes relished the co-coaching role at Turvey Park this season and produced arguably his best football since his return from Lockhart. Admittedly, he did not play on a wing but he had to squeeze into the midfield somewhere.
George Kendall (MCUE)
Kendall continued his rise with an outstanding season, winning the Goannas best and fairest and finishing in the top five in the Jim Quinn Medal. An exciting talent, the 19-year-old dominated a number of games from the hardest position on the ground, centre-half-forward. He finished with 46 goals from 16 games.
Joe Redfern (Coolamon)
Another big year from the Hoppers forward. He started the year well, had a brief lull in the middle and then finished the season with his best football. A strong mark and very athletic for his size, Redfern kicked 65 goals for the season and led Coolamon's rise.
Jake Barrett (Coolamon)
Barrett lived up to the hype with a brilliant first season in the Riverina League. His pace and work-rate ensured he won plenty of the football and his ability to break the lines made him dangerous with ball in hand. He also spent a lot of time forward, where he was equally as damaging, finishing the year with 26 goals.
Matt Hamblin (GGGM)
The young gun from Lions delivered on his potential with a fine season. Hamblin's pace and nous, particularly around goal, made him a constant threat for opposition teams. He also showed he had the ability to go through the midfield and make an impact. Kicked 25 goals from 12 games.
Jacob Conlan (Griffith)
Conlan thrived on his first full season back at Exies Oval. He made the key forward post his own at Griffith and won the league goalkicking, finishing with 66 goals from 19 games. Conlan played a big part of the year at centre-half-forward and showed his versatility by being named Riverina League's best in the rep game, playing at centre-half-back.
Jesse Manton (Wagga Tigers)
Manton returned to the Riverina League in 2019 and looked a new player. Tigers tried Manton in attack and he proved almost unstoppable at times with his athleticism and pace proving a formidable combination. He was rewarded for his fine season with the Jim Quinn Medal, plus Tigers' best and fairest in a premiership year.
Jacob Olsson (GGGM)
Another brilliant season from the GGGM big man. Olsson had a lot more competition this season with the influx of some quality ruckman but proved his class by taking the honours virtually every week. The umpires might not recognise him but the coaches do, winning Riverina League's Player of the Year.
Brendy Myers (Wagga Tigers)
Myers made a big return to the Riverina League. The 20-year-old took a little while to find his feet but finished with a flurry of big performances, including a best-on-ground in the grand final. Myers rotated between midfield and deep forward, where his strong mark came in very handy.
Luke Redfern (Coolamon)
A career-best season from the Coolamon speedster. Redfern's pace and ability to break lines often tore opposition teams apart. He also proved more efficient with ball in hand, thrusting the Hoppers into attack. He was rewarded with Coolamon's best and fairest, and finished runner up in the Jim Quinn Medal.
Nathan Byrne (Turvey Park)
Byrne won the best and fairest in his first season back at Turvey Park in a decade. A mobile big man, Byrne gives 100 per cent every week and was a great leader for the young Bulldogs group with an impressive work-rate.
Jordan Hedington (Narrandera)
Arrived early in the season and went on to win Narrandera's best and fairest from just 12 games. Hedington knocked up winning the footy across half-back for the Eagles and was a standout each week.
Bryce O'Garey (Leeton-Whitton)
There is no doubt surrounding O'Garey's standing in the competition but he only reinforced it, leading a young Crows outfit through a tough year. O'Garey missed some football through injury but was in the Crows' best in every one of the 11 games he played.
Nick Ryan (Wagga Tigers)
Another fine season from the fearless Tigers midfielder. Ryan had a lot more contributors helping this season but still stood out with his ability to win the football and his ability to kick a goal. He kicked 37 goals for the year and finished a premiership captain.
Troy Maiden (Wagga Tigers)
When you take a team from eighth spot, having won just two games, to a premiership in the space of 12 months the result pretty much determines itself. A big recruitment drive put Maiden in a strong position but he still made some brave calls that ultimately paid off. Tigers looked in trouble a couple of times late in the season but never panicked and achieved the ultimate success. They also went on to win the flag without a recognised key forward.
The 2019 season brings to an end another fantastic decade of football in the Riverina. To mark the occasion, The Daily Advertiser will be naming its own Team of the Decade from 2010-19. If you have any thoughts or want to have a crack, send it through to email@example.com