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Xavier footballer impressing on and off the field


It’s been a big few months for Xavier College Year 10 student Dyson Sharp who won the 2023 SANFL U16 Best and Fairest Medal last month.

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After accepting his award at the Magarey Medal presentation on September 11 Dyson went on to win a premiership the following week with Central District Under 16 team and was named Most Valuable Player in the grand final.

From Williamstown in the Barossa Valley, he also impressed during the AFL National Championships earlier this year, claiming SA’s MVP Award and the Kevin Sheehan Medal for best player in championships.

The lanky 16 year old entertained the large audience at the Magarey Medal presentation when he told interviewer Mark Soderstrom that he liked school and that he’d brought his girlfriend of two years instead of his parents.

Speaking to The Southern Cross after the presentation night, Dyson said he was a bit nervous at first about having to make a speech but having an interview first “settled me down a bit” and made the thank you speech a lot easier.

He was planning to go to the event with his dad but Dyson said “he’s not the suit type so he told me to take my girlfriend”.

“She loved it – she was happy to get dressed up,” he added.

Dyson said he had been “kicking the footy around” since he could walk and began playing when he was eight for Barossa District where his dad is “a bit of a club hero”.

At 187cm tall and a “big body mid-fielder”, Dyson said being named MVP of the national championships was a “huge shock”.

“There were some unbelievable stand-out players in the running, so I was really shocked and very proud,” he said.

As for juggling football with schoolwork, Dyson said Xavier had a “great system in place” to give students flexibility and help him find a balance.

His subject selection for Year 11 and 12 has been influenced by an interest in sports science and while his “main goal” is to play AFL, he is also open to studying physiotherapy or similar.

“It’s such a good school I might as well try my best and put my best foot forward,” he said.

Dyson’s immediate focus is to “become faster, stronger and a more explosive player”.

The young Essendon supporter said if anyone had told him at the start of the year that he would be in the position he was in now, he wouldn’t have believed it.

“Honestly, if someone had told me I was going to be in this state I’d tell you ‘no way’.

“I can’t believe all the opportunities I’ve been given, the form I’ve been in.

“I’ve kind of shocked myself, but I’m definitely proud of the work I’ve put in, especially earlier in the season.

“Like I said in the speech, Centrals have really helped me take my game to the next level and guided me in what a professional athlete looks like on and off the field.”

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