It is the debate which rages on the terraces at SANFL venues throughout metropolitan Adelaide.
Who are the best players in the Statewide Super League?
At the start of the season, SANFL Media Producer Zac Milbank named his Top 50 players.
Now, he has joined forces with SANFL Budget Editor Peter Cornwall to refine the list to incorporate the string of stunning performances throughout the minor round and on the big stage in September.
Below is the cream of the crop for 2019 – the Top 10.
Each player chosen needed to play at least 10 matches this year to qualify.
Wow, do you reckon this bloke has taken SANFL by storm? Delisted by West Coast after last season, the former Norwood youngster did it all in 2019.
A Magarey Medal, R. O Shearman Medal, Digital Pass Player of the Year Award and most importantly, Premiership Medal.
There wasn’t much the 22-year-old didn’t achieve in his first full Statewide Super League season.
He earned 26 touches and seven clearances in his first game for the Bays – against old club Norwood – but he didn’t dominate in the early part of the season after suffering a minor hamstring strain.
But since Round 7, in Glenelg’s last 12 games he has been their leading possession-winner in 10, averaging 33 per game for a season average of 29.1.
A big contested-ball winner but also able to run and carry and with elite kicking skills Partington also performed strongly in the major round, kicking important goals against the Magpies in the Second Semi-Final and Grand Final, the latter in the clip below.
If he had played every game in the 2019 campaign, the former Sturt young gun and Melbourne skipper may have been adding a Magarey Medal to his long list of footy honours. This year’s A. R McLean Medallist as Magpies Best and Fairest was sidelined for five games – he suffered a laceration to his leg that became infected during the middle part of the season – but he still averaged 31 touches per game to go with seven marks, six tackles and five clearances. A top-level ball user and wonderful team player, Trengove was named in the centre of The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.
If you are looking for someone to crash into a pack and come out of it with the footy, the Crows’ star midfielder is the man. Wilson loves being in the thick of it, getting his hands dirty and setting his side on its way evidenced by him averaging 5.4 clearances this year. The Sturt premiership on-baller averaged 27 touches a game, 17 of them kicks that usually end up deep in attack. Also in the top 10 for tackling, Wilson averaged a hefty 114 Dream Team points which was bumped up by taking more than seven marks a game in 2019. A fitting winner of Adelaide’s State League Best and Fairest award, the 24-year-old was named as ruck rover in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.
One of the biggest ball magnets in the Statewide Super League, the Double Blues running machine reads the play well – whether from half-back or on the ball – finds space and uses the ball efficiently, continually setting Sturt in motion. Named on a wing in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, the former Power linkman won the P. T Morton Medal as Sturt’s Best and Fairest. Colquhoun accumulated more possessions (523) than any other player in the league, averaging 29 per game to go with his eight marks and six tackles. If Dream Team points are your measure of a player, Colquhoun is clearly No. 1 in the SANFL, averaging a whopping 124.
Plenty of pundits are saying Glenelg wouldn’t have won its drought-breaking premiership without Jesse White and it became increasingly difficult to argue this thought after the major round. Edging out Luke Partington for the J. H Ellers Best and Fairest Award, the 31-year-old almost symbolically put the Bays on his back as he virtually rucked single-handedly in September. White’s three finals performances were stunning, capping off a year in which he finished with the second-most hit outs in the League while posting averages of 16 disposals, five clearances and three tackles. Will be difficult for the Tigers to replace in 2020 after he announced his retirement at season’s end.
The Panthers co-captain is an inspirational leader and dual Magarey Medallist Cross remains a match-winner – even though he is spending more time up forward these days. It didn’t stop the 32-year-old from claiming a fourth Knuckey Cup as the Panthers’ Best and Fairest while also earning a berth across half-forward in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year. Hit the scoreboard with 26 majors to be South’s leading goalkicker while also posting impressive averages of 24 disposals, four marks, four tackles and five clearances. Set to soldier on in 2020 much to the delight of the Navy Blue faithful.
Two Magarey Medals, three Fos Williams Medals, four Best-and-Fairests … and Kirky just keeps on keeping on. Courageous, a skipper who leads wonderfully by example and the perfect team man, if it’s on his right or left foot it doesn’t matter, he sets his side on its way with exceptional skills and vision. Filled his stat sheet with impressive all-round averages of 24.5 disposals, five marks, four tackles and four clearances in yet another consistent SANFL season.
Returning this season after a year exploring the world, big man McBean hit the heights as SANFL’s leading goalkicker. The Ken Farmer Medallist showed just how big an influence he can have by bagging nine goals against the high-flying Crows in the second round and on his day is just about unstoppable. Selected at full-forward in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, the 24-year-old showed tremendous grit to play under duress in the finals series which included carrying a snapped plantar fascia while collecting 19 disposals and five marks in the Grand Final. Quick on the lead, he is an exceptional set shot for goal – you would back him in even from deep in the pocket.
The hard-running wingman just kept on getting the ball – and he was even doing it when the injury-hit Redlegs suffered four successive losses in a mid-season slump. Third in the SANFL for possessions (averaging 28), kicks (18 per game) and in Dream Team points (averaging 108), Johnston provides a tough match-up for opposition coaches while standing at 194cm. Named on the wing of The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, the former Rooster was sorely missed in the First Semi-Final when he was a late withdrawal due to injury.
Glenelg’s unheralded skipper etched his name into club folklore when he became just the fourth Bays’ premiership captain. Also named as captain of The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year while taking his place at centre half-back, the 28-year-old was fearless in the way he would regularly put his under-sized body on the line in marking contests to stem the tide. Took the most marks in the Statewide Super League this year to average more than eight per game while also posting averages of 22 disposals and 4.5 rebound 50s. Will be very difficult to replace in 2020 when he spends a year in the Riverland as part of his medicine degree before returning in 2021.
1) Mitch Grigg (Norwood)
2) Matthew Panos (Norwood)
3) Zane Kirkwood (Sturt)
4) Joel Cross (South)
5) Nick Liddle (South)
6) Cam Sutcliffe (Port)
7) Matthew Wright (Adelaide)
8) James Battersby (Sturt)
9) Tom Keough (West)
10) Josh Scott (Glenelg)