By: JESS WEBSTER
Rising Star Bertoli-Simmonds named Bombers captain
NEAFL Rising Star winner Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds has created history as the youngest player to be appointed captain of the Redland Football Club.
The 21-year-old midfielder was named skipper at the Bombers’ guernsey presentation function at the Victoria Point Sharks Club on Thursday night.
Bertoli-Simmonds announced himself as the competition’s brightest young talents last season when he beat a high-quality field to claim the league’s Rising Star winner – the third year in a row Redland has produced the award recipient.
The former Morningside junior, who won a NEAFL premiership as a 17-year-old top-up player with Brisbane in 2013, was elevated the Bombers leadership group for the first time last year, where he averaged 23 disposals per match and was ranked second in the competition for tackles.
Bertoli-Simmonds, who replaces the injured Tom Salter as captain, told the club’s website he was thrilled to take on the responsibility.
“This is something that is very much appreciated,” he said.
“I am really excited about the season ahead with the new level of professionalism and the game plan that is being executed.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of leading the team and working with Saltsy (Tom Salter) and others in the leadership group.
“We’re fit and firing and can’t wait to get stuck in.”
Bertoli-Simmonds, the son of 1987 QAFL Grogan medallist, Terry Simmonds, came through the Brisbane Lions Academy and made his NEAFL debut as a top-up player in 2013.
Since joining Redland in 2015, he hasn’t missed a match and reached his 50th NEAFL game milestone last season.
Bertoli-Simmonds will be supported by vice-captain Brad Howard, and deputy vice-captain Clay Cameron, this season.
The Bombers will take on Canberra in the opening round of the 2017 on April 1.
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