Black Diamond AFL: Elliott Davey Medal winner Tom Yensch to lead representative squad against Canberra

HONOUR: Black Diamond AFL representative captain Tom Yensch. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
HONOUR: Black Diamond AFL representative captain Tom Yensch. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Tom Yensch arrived in Newcastle last year. Helped steer Cardiff to the 2017 grand final. And received the Elliott Davey Medal for the league’s best-and-fairest player.   

Now the 24-year-old concreter can add another accolade to his growing list, having been named captain of the Black Diamond AFL representative team for Saturday’s clash with Canberra down at Manuka Oval. 

It will be the first time the Hunter side has gone up against the men from the nation’s capital and Yensch, on debut as skipper, will be leading the charge after being appointed by head coach Rowan Bilkey.   

“It was a bit of a shock,” Yensch said.

“Rowan rang me the other week and mentioned, as assistant coach of Cardiff this year, obviously I had some leadership qualities.

“At training he asked if I wanted to be captain and I jumped at it. It will be a great experience. 

“Everyone in the team is a leader, they all know what they’re on about, so it’s very humbling to be skipper.”

Half-forward Yensch, who relocated from Ovens and Murray club Lavington near Albury, said he was pleased with both the selected 22-man squad and the attitude displayed at training this week.    

“I’m really impressed,” Yensch said. 

“It’s good blokes want to play. It’s pretty easy to have the week off if the body is a bit tired. The calibre in there is pretty good as well. Training this week was pretty solid and the ball was zinging around.”

Yensch admitted knowing little about their AFL Canberra opponents.

“You can play a few mental games with yourself sometimes if they are big names,” he said. 

“It’s probably good not knowing who’s in there. We just get in and have a crack.”

Yensch, undefeated with club side Cardiff this season after making last year’s grand final, made his maiden appearance 12 months ago for the Black Diamond AFL squad in a 26-point loss to AFL Sydney at Adelaide Street Oval. They won their four previous outings between 2013 and 2016 – twice against Farrar FL in Wagga Wagga, once over AFL Sydney under 23s and also ACT-NSW under 22s. 

Kick-off is 3pm.