Central DistrictCentral DistrictMidfielder, Forward


Shay Linke

height: 190cm

weight: 79kg

D.O.B: 08-05-2003

Leagues: SANFL League, SANFL Reserves, SANFL Under 18s

Image Credit: Cory Sutton/SANFL

POSITION: Midfielder/Forward

SNAPSHOT: "A strong runner with a great endurance base, Linke outworks his opponents and uses his size to mark and accumulate possessions between the 50 metre arcs."

Tanunda product Shay Linke has risen through the ranks at Central District this year, playing all three grades and notching six games of SANFL League football. Linke drew some interest at the end of the 2020 season with a strong performance in the SANFL Futures game and carried that momentum into 2021, where he dominated the first three weeks of the Under 18 competition. His 27.7 disposals and 10 marks a game earned him the Round 2 Player of the Week and a call up to Centrals' Reserves side. After a month of solid Reserves football, Linke earned himself a SANFL League debut against West Adelaide, which resulted in just the third win for the Dogs in 2021. Linke didn't look out of place, as his size and running ability translated comfortably to the level. It was a productive finish to the year for Linke, playing in three finals for a strong Centrals Reserves outfit, who eventually went down to a dominant Glenelg team in the Grand Final. A representative berth for South Australia's State Under 19 side and a strong performance to win the 2km time trial at the South Australian AFL Draft Combine capped off a big year for Linke, who has positioned himself as a potential candidate for the AFL Draft in late-November.


+ Endurance
+ Running patterns
+ Overhead marking
+ Clean hands
+ Work rate


- Speed
- Impact by foot
- Explosiveness

Linke was most productive operating through the midfield and on the wing this season, where his elite aerobic capacity enabled him to outwork his opponents right across the ground. This work rate allows him to create separation and accumulate uncontested marks between the 50-metre arcs. When Linke pushes back off his mark and lowers his eyes he's a typically safe user by foot and allows his team to maintain possession of the football.

At 190cm, Linke's size is a unique, complementary piece to his running ability and although by appearance his frame is slight, he possesses enough strength to lay physical tackles on the opposition and compete against bigger bodies. These physical tools also make him competitive in the air where he's a capable contested mark and strong above his head. Occasionally, when stationed in the forward half at senior level, Linke has been able to hold his own in the air against seasoned and more physically developed defenders, showing an ability to mark or hang in the contest and bring the ball to ground.

Linke is competent inside the contest, particularly as an extractor and distributor by hand. He's a capable first-possession winner and uses his size and strength to deliver the football to teammates on the outside. He's a strong tackler and capable of applying defensive pressure to smother kicks and stifle the oppositions attempts to exit the stoppage.

Not overly quick, Line would benefit by adding a touch of speed off the mark. His lack of explosiveness limits his impact at stoppage as it makes it difficult for him to immediately create separation from opponents, meaning a lot of his clearances are skewed by opposition pressure. This is something that will become an even greater challenge at AFL level. Equally, this limits his overall impact defensively. Whilst his effort can never be questioned, Linke's lack of pace means that he is often unable to apply effective pressure outside of the contest, as his speed prevents him from chasing down opponents and impacting their disposal.



Linke's size and endurance are very much desirable traits and that combined with his overall work rate and aerial capability, form an intriguing skillset. He could potentially draw interest towards the back end of the National Draft or as a rookie selection. If he doesn't find a home at an AFL club in 2022, Linke is well placed to play some consistent SANFL League football, with further physical development to play an important part in attracting an opportunity at AFL level.

SANFL League

2021Central District44206420003607132167.33.310.

SANFL Reserves

2021Central District12153174440060029241151210.14.414.

SANFL Under 18s

2021Central District6023832900100131882320.07.727.
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