Plenty of debate surrounds who are the best players in the Statewide Super League and now, we are finally at the pointy end.
After selecting his Top 50 players in the preseason, SANFL Media Producer Zac Milbank has chosen his Top 50 at the conclusion of the 2020 premiership campaign.
Form across the 2020 season was used as the chief factor in the ranking process, with selection in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, placings in the Magarey Medal, Shearman Medal and Club best-and-fairest awards weighing heavily.
This is to ensure there is meaningful movement of player rankings between each year’s Top 50 list at the start and end of the season.
After counting down the top 40 on the SANFL website and social media channels, here are the Statewide Super League’s Top 10 for 2020.
Could have easily made a case for being ranked No.1 at the halfway point of the season. Moore returned with genuine purpose to the Statewide Super League and he delivered admirably until curtailed by a hamstring strain suffered in Round 11. Despite missing the final three matches of the season, the strong-bodied midfielder finished fourth in the Shearman Medal and runner-up to Campbell Combe in the Barrie Robran Medal. Named in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, the Roosters’ vice-captain was ranked in the competition’s top 10 for clearances.
Like Moore, Jack Hayes’ start to the season was red-hot, ensuring he would be ranked at No.1 in Andrew Capel’s Top 25 at the midway point of the year. Not surprisingly the equal-leader in the competition for contested marks, the high-flying utility displayed his versatility around the ground and in the ruck while averaging 18 disposals, six marks and nearly four tackles per game. Named at centre half-forward in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, Hayes booted 16 goals for the season while placing fourth in the Perce Johns Medal.
Stepped up on the big stage with a game-breaking four-goal effort worthy of the 2020 Jack Oatey Medal. Named on the wing in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, Foote averaged 22 disposals, five tackles and four clearances en route to being runner-up in the Eagles’ Club Champion award. Also managed to hit the scoreboard from the centre square with 12 majors for the season while drawing interest as a potential mature-age AFL recruit.
Last year’s No.1 ranked player, Partington again produced an exceptional campaign which resulted in a runner-up placing in the John H. Ellers best-and-fairest count. Ranked inside the top 10 for the Magarey and Shearman Medals, the Bays’ midfield star was named at half-forward in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year. Placed second in the competition for inside 50 entries while also being inside the top 10 for total disposals as he continued his prolific ball-winning ways.
Broadbent certainly rewarded South Adelaide’s investment in him by claiming the Knuckey Cup as the Panthers’ best-and-fairest. Averaging 21 disposals and six marks, the former Power defender finished seventh in the Shearman Medal. Named at half-back in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, Broadbent was a calming influence for his new club in the position while also providing valuable influence when employed inside the centre square.
One of the most unheralded players in the competition returned to his brilliant best in 2021, proving to be a major catalyst in the Eagles’ 2020 premiership win. Winning the Perce Johns Medal as Club Champion, Sinor also finished sixth in the Shearman Medal and among the only eight players to poll double figures in the Magarey Medal. A member of The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, the 26-year-old placed inside the top 10 for clearances and inside 50s while averaging 22 disposals and six tackles.
Age shall not weary Joel Cross, who finished inside SANFL’s top 10 for disposals, inside 50s and clearances while averaging 23 possessions and booting 15 goals for season. Edged out by one vote, courtesy of Matthew Broadbent, in South’s best-and-fairest count, Cross placed equal fourth in the Magarey Medal and fifth in the Shearman Medal. The 33-year-old was also given the honour of being captain of The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, his eighth selection in the competition’s best 22.
Vice-captain of The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, Battersby enjoyed a stunning personal campaign for the Double Blues in 2020. Winning the P. T Morton Medal as Sturt’s best-and-fairest in his first year as club captain, the 25-year-old averaged more than 25 disposals and five tackles. Boasting an average of 8.5 clearances per game, Battersby led the competition in that category whilst finishing runner-up in the Shearman Medal and third in the Magarey Medal.
Glenelg’s midfield warrior worked tirelessly through the centre square this year while claiming a richly-deserved Shearman Medal as voted by SANFL’s senior coaches. Named in the centre for The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, Snook was edged out for the Magarey Medal by just two votes but posted outstanding averages of 27 disposals, eight clearances and eight tackles per game. Winning the John H. Ellers best-and-fairest, the Bays’ ball-winner was regularly at the bottom of the packs earning the hard ball.
Few would have predicted Campbell Combe would be SANFL’s No.1 ranked player at the start of the season. In his second season since returning from his home town of Crystal Brook, the 25-year-old won the Magarey Medal as SANFL’s fairest-and-most brilliant player. Averaging 23 disposals and seven clearances per game, Combe’s willingness to apply defensive pressure was equally impressive. As a result, he averaged a staggering 10 tackles while applying 140 for the minor round, 27 more than his nearest rival. Winner of the Barrie Robran Medal as North’s best-and-fairest, Combe was fittingly selected as starting rover in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.