Broadview Football Club pays tribute to former Tiger and North Adelaide player Sam De Leonardis
While many celebrated the return of local football on Saturday, the day meant even more to the Broadview Football Club, which played for the first time without a much-loved teammate.
As Broadview players ran onto the field on Saturday there was just one person on their minds.
And when they huddled at the end of the match around a tribute on the grass marked “Della #11 1994-2019”, the same thought remained.
While many celebrated the return of local football on Saturday, the day meant even more to the Tigers, who played for the first time without teammate Sam De Leonardis.
The 25-year-old – a passionate footballer and much-loved member of the club – died suddenly in September last year.
His teammates put in a fitting performance on Saturday as they defeated division two Adelaide Footy League rival Glenunga by 93 points.
Broadview president Shane Hodby said the game and the day was the perfect way to celebrate De Leonardis’ contribution to the club.
“Having such a good win the boys probably thought ‘Della’ was sitting on their shoulder barking at them, as he does,” Hodby said,
“I think for the parents as well, Kyla and Rino, to honour their lad that was a big part of our club was a fitting way for the club to pay it’s last tribute to Sam.
“Because he was such an infectious young man, he touched a lot of people along his way.
“I’m sure he would have been proud with how we honoured him before the game and how the boys played on the day.”
De Leonardis, affectionately known as “Della”, was a star midfielder for the Tigers and also played 20 SANFL games for North Adelaide.
Broadview held a minute’s silence before the match and wore black armbands in his honour.
The players, De Leonardis’ family and supporters then sang the club song around his tribute on the Broadview Oval grass.
Coach Nathan Grainger said he was missed by the Tigers community.
“The day was about remembering him for the wonderful young man he was,” Grainger said.
“He made a positive contribution to the football club and he was a great footballer for both North Adelaide and Broadview.
“He was very loyal and that was something that was brought up … he created such a great vibe around the club and we do miss him.”
De Leonardis progressed through the junior ranks at North Adelaide and made his league debut in 2012 against West Adelaide.
During his time at the Roosters, he booted 10 majors, including a four-goal haul against Glenelg during the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June 2016 and claimed the best-on-ground medal.
He then joined Broadview in 2018, including 10 games in 2019 where he kicked 14 goals and was named in the Tigers’ best players on six occasions.