OK, now we are getting to the pointy end!
After selecting his Top 50 players at the conclusion of 2020, SANFL Media Producer Zac Milbank has now chosen his Top 50 as we inch closer to the start of the 2021 Statewide Super League 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 as it did in the Postseason.
But to spice things up, a bevy of star recruits signed over summer have been sprinkled in for good measure.
Stay tuned as the countdown continues on the SANFL website and social media channels leading up to Round 1 on April 1.
As we edge closer to the Top 10, here are players 11 to 30.
He may not boast the glittering resume of many of his high-profile teammates but those in the know at The Parade rave about Matthew Nunn’s importance to their success. Evidence of this is Nunn winning the Woods Medal as the club’s most dedicated last year, as well as the Coach’s Team Acts Award. Boasting explosive speed from stoppage, the 23-year-old is also adept at weaving in and out of traffic before carrying the ball across lines. No surprise he’s been named Redlegs’ captain in 2021 in the clip below.
29 – Ben Heaslip (South Adelaide)
28 – Jarred Allmond (North Adelaide)
Stifled by an injury to his posterior cruciate ligament in his knee last year, Knoll is now unrestricted and ready to roll with the Redlegs. The former South Adelaide tall is viewed as the ideal replacement for retired premiership ruck Sam Baulderstone, with his penchant for palming the ball to his fellow midfielder. Winner of the 2019 Fos Williams Medal, Knoll will be looking to rekindle the form which saw him selected at pick No.4 by Sydney in that year’s AFL Midseason Draft.
26 – Kaine Stevens (West Adelaide)
25 – James Tsitas (Woodville-West Torrens)
24 – Sam Wundke (Sturt)
He’s not an official recruit but the presence of premiership captain Chris Curran in a full time capacity this year will make a difference for Glenelg. Only played six League games last year due to a back complaint and a medical placement in the Riverland but if the intercept defender is available for the majority of the season, the Bays will benefit significantly. Has spent more than a decade at the club which is evident in the way he courageously throws his body into contested marking situations.
22 – Cameron Craig (North Adelaide)
21 – Lachie Hosie (Glenelg)
20 – Harrison Wigg (North Adelaide)
19 – Joseph Haines (South Adelaide)
Starved of opportunity – just two AFL games – in his three seasons with Adelaide, Patrick Wilson is itching to continue impacting the Statewide Super League with his beloved Double Blues. Measuring in at 188cm and 89kg, the big-bodied midfielder is a beast at the clearances and can find the ball at will as evidenced by him winning back-to-back SANFL Club Champion awards with the Crows in 2018 and 2019. Importantly, the 26-year-old premiership player will provide significant support to captain James Battersby, who carried a heavy load through the midfield for Sturt last season.
17 – Liam McBean (Glenelg)
16 – Brad McKenzie (Norwood)
Sutcliffe is again set to don the No.1 guernsey for the Magpies after being locked away as captain for 2021. Now back in a full-time capacity with the SANFL squad, the 28-year-old will be an important presence through the midfield for coach Matt Lokan. The former Fremantle defender – who played 113 AFL games for the Dockers and Power – will also spend time in attack where he is a threat on goal as evidenced by his three majors to give his side a pulse in the 2019 SANFL Grand Final loss to Glenelg.
Speculation was swirling that former Crow Riley Knight may sign with North Adelaide but in the end, the Eagles junior returned to Oval Avenue. In a significant boost to the reigning premier, Knight’s presence will not only provide coach Jade Sheedy with someone to run and carry the ball through the middle but also another attacking option inside 50m. Featuring in 55 AFL games for Adelaide, the 25-year-old is entering the prime of his career which should excite all Eagles’ fans.
High-profile North signing Aaron Young looms as a significant difference-maker such is his ability to make an impact in the centre square or in attack. The 28-year-old polled 12 Magarey Medal votes in just five games in 2017 while playing chiefly through the midfield for Port Adelaide. Standing at 189cm, Young is deceptively tall for the role that he plays in attack – often used as a third lead-up marking option who can also cause damage when the ball hits the deck. One to watch in 2021.
12 – Richard Douglas (Norwood)
11 – Andrew Moore (North Adelaide)