By Peter Argent
Ex-Broken Hill Bulldogs player Kobe Mutch has been one of the recruiting coups of the off-season across the SA state league football, being collected by South Adelaide for their 2023 campaign.
An AFL footballer and a SANFL premiership player at Woodville West Torrens, Mutch started his football with the North Broken Hill Bulldogs, before playing TAC Cup Under 18s football with the Bendigo Pioneers.
He was selected by Essendon with pick number 42 in the 2016 AFL national draft, playing five games at the top level, before coming across to SA at the start of the 2021 season.
Now at the peak of his powers, Mutch, 24, (he turns 25 next March) had been a consistent on-baller for the past couple of years at Oval Avenue.
The 188cm, 86 kg, classy player who can play both inside and outside roles through the midfield, averaged 22.2 disposals and 4.6 tackles across the 15 games he played in the ’22 campaign in the Eagles’ tri-colours.
Mutch arrived in SANFL football at the start of the ’21 campaign and after an injury-frustrated first two months became a key component for Jade Sheedy’s troops.
In 2021 he averages 20.9 possessions and 4.9 tackles, with his season culminating in a Grand Final victory over the pre-game favourites Glenelg by 67 points.
Mutch was outstanding in the ’21 SANFL season decider, finishing with 26 touches and 12 tackles.
The Panthers are excited about having a player of Mutch’s calibre coming to Flinders University Stadium, Noarlunga.
“Kobe is a wonderful acquisition to our club,” South Adelaide senior coach Jarrad Wright told the Barrier Truth.
“He is an inside midfielder, who can also play on the outside, and fits perfectly into our on-ball demographic as well.
“Kobe and his partner live at Noarlunga currently and he’s starting a course at Flinders University as well. We are looking for support for our ’21 Magarey Medalist Bryce Gibbs and Kobe’s mix of skills works perfectly with this midfield group we’re building for 2023.
“He is also a strong leader and moving right into the prime of his career, so he is capable of being a long term asset for our club – certainly a 100-game play and a member of our next premiership tilt.”
Mutch confirmed it had been a tough four or five weeks making this call.
“Currently I work as a SSO at a school at Seaford and we’re based down south of the city,” Mutch explained.
“South reached out and made a lot of sense to move across to the Panthers. My partner, Mikeala is an occupational therapist working in the district and we’re looking to purchase a property as well.
“It’s an exciting venue to play on for the majority of your season and has the same dimensions as Adelaide Oval.
“You’ll need to get yourself in good nick and I’m looking forward to the pre-season ahead.
“Making this decision does not reflect on the Woodville West Torrens Football Club in any way and I will always be indebted for the opportunities they afforded me.”
South Adelaide have been competitive over the past decade, without being able to make it to the SANFL Grand Final.
They are looking for a breakthrough first flag in the club history since the famous win under the late Neil “Knuckles” Kerley back in 1964.
This is currently the longest streak in SANFL history between premierships.