NT Thunder’s love affair with Central Australia continues with today’s announcement that Abe Ankers has committed to play for the club in the 2019 NEAFL season.
It will be the reigning Ilett Medallist’s fourth season for Thunder, where he is expected to notch up his 50th game, given his current tally of 49 games and 29 goals.
One of only three players to play every game last season, Ankers averaged 26 disposals, eight clearances and ran an average of 12.3 kilometres across his 18 appearances.
An elite midfielder, who has won an award at the end of season club champion event every year he has played with Thunder, the 23-year-old has been in fine form for Waratah in this season’s NTFL.
Based in Alice Springs, Ankers travelled some 66,000 kilometres last season, showing great commitment, and captained the team in its sole Alice Springs outing. He was also recognised and rewarded with his first NEAFL Team of the Year selection honours.
With two games in Alice Springs scheduled this season, NT Thunder Head Coach Darren Reeves said the team would get a lift out of Abe’s signing.
“It’s outstanding news to have Abe re-sign for the 2019 season, the boys love him and from what I’ve heard already, really look forward to playing in Alice with him.
“Following on from a remarkable 2018 season we look forward to him taking his game to another level this year. There is no doubt in my mind he is capable of doing that and also bringing other players along with him.
“There are a lot of strengths to Abe’s game that put him up in the top number of midfielders in the NEAFL, but one of those we want to see get even better is his ability to hit the scoreboard.
“We’ve got no doubt he can do that and more in the upcoming season. He has come back from a holiday refreshed and played some excellent footy over the last two weeks for the Tahs, and I can’t wait to get into some work with him,” he said.
Ankers indicated he had turned down other offers to stay with the club and the teammates he loves and had finals footy firmly in mind.
“You have to fully commit to the club; I love doing that because I love the club…the playing group is a big part of the reason I signed on. I love the playing group and the people around the club. The volunteers we have are unreal, and you want to see them every week.
“The club is awesome for me, (partner) Celine and my family as well. They do everything to help out and make things as easy as possible.
“We didn’t get the results we wanted in 2018, and we want to turn that around this year. I want to be part of that,” he said.