Heidelberg welcomes back a flag hero for the 2023 Premiership defence
The Koutoufides name is back in the Northern Football Netball League, Heidelberg signing a son of a gun and welcoming back a flag hero.
AFL Hall of Famer Anthony came through the ranks at Lalor and now his son Jamie returns to the game with incumbent Division 1 Premier Heidelberg.
In a big boost to their flag defense, the Tigers have also welcomed back 2016 Premier League player and 2017 Best and Fairest winner Tom Sullivan.
Sullivan returns to the Goulburn Valley league after two seasons with Tatura and wins the 2021 club champion award.
Koutoufides has focused on basketball for the last four years and last year enjoyed an impressive singles season for Coburg in the Big V Division 1 competition.
He led the team and finished 16th overall in points per game, shot 49.2 percent from the field, led the club in rebounds and ranked fourth in steals.
Koutoufides, returning after several seasons, will be given time to adjust but Heidelberg coach Vinny Dattoli saw promise.
“He hasn’t been in footy for four or five years, but he’s training exceptionally hard and it will be interesting to see how he does in practice games with his feel and footy IQ,” said Dattoli.
“He’s doing some good things on track but obviously that has to be replicated in a game.
“Basketball has dominated his youth development, but as we all know, (footy) is in his DNA.
“He will play in the practice games but I don’t know if it will be in the seniors.
“I think for his own development he needs to crawl before he goes and not push him into anything. As we know footy is a 360 degree sport so he needs to understand how to protect himself.”
Jamie’s brother Lukas is one of Victoria’s brightest up-and-coming talents having been accepted into the Basketball Victoria Future Development Program 2022-23.
Meanwhile, Sullivan is an excellent addition to the Tigers, who have lost star forward Josh Minogue and NFNL Reserve League’s best and fairest runner-up, Max Jones.
The Tigers have also secured VFL Coburg-listed youngster Max Thompson from Old Carey.
Dattoli is enthusiastic about Sullivan’s ability to influence games all over the floor.
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“Tommy returned about four or five weeks ago and has been a very handy pickup for us,” he said.
“He’s a fast player and can play multiple roles, which comes in handy in today’s footy.
“He will give us a lot of flexibility which will complement our game plan nicely.”
Heidelberg kick off their season in Division 1 by raising their Premiership flag at Heidelberg Park against derby rivals North Heidelberg on April 15.
Originally posted when Heidelberg welcomes back a flag hero for the 2023 Premiership defence
https://www.codesports.com.au/afl/heidelberg-welcomes-back-a-flag-hero-for-2023-premiership-defence/news-story/2f4e701e0ebb662a8b4e0b4877098564?nk=33fa580ab6f946c76d55ad53016f564d-1678235583 Heidelberg welcomes back a flag hero for the 2023 Premiership defence