By ZAC MILBANK
Round 1 of the Statewide Super Women’s League is set to kick off on Friday night so there’s no better way to build up the anticipation than by revealing the top 20 players set to strut their stuff in 2020.
It was no easy task to narrow the list down to just 20 given the continual improvement since the competition’s inception in 2017, with consideration given to selection in last year’s The Advertiser SANFLW Team of the Year, Best-and-Fairests and those with AFLW experience.
And then there are those returning to SANFLW after serious injuries or time off from the game who will no doubt make their presence felt such is their reputation for making an impact.
One of the genuine ball magnets of the SANFLW, Ballard averaged more than 16 disposals per game and four clearances (equal third best in SANFLW) in 2019. Boasting a booming left-foot kick, Ballard may be freed up more this season when team-mate Rachelle Martin is back with the Bloods from AFLW duty.
Another damaging player at the stoppages, former Crow Armitstead averaged in excess of four clearances per game to rank alongside Ballard for third place in the SANFLW in 2019. The 25-year-old’s elevation to vice-captain also illustrates the high regard she is held in by the hierarchy at The Parade.
Placing herself inside the top 10 of the Statewide Super Women’s League for most disposals last year, Walker will again be an important cog in the Eagles’ midfield this season. The former GWS on-baller is coming off an exceptional campaign in the SAWFL, which netted her a premiership and the Dutschke Medal as Division One’s best-and-fairest.
Still holds the mantle of being the most consistent ruck in the competition after leading the Statewide Super Women’s League in hit-outs last season. Selected as ruck in The Advertiser SANFLW Team of the Year, Cutting is also a vocal on-field presence as a member of the Redlegs’ leadership group.
The former West Adelaide captain returns to the SANFLW after having a year off in which she remained close to the action while commentating for SANFL’s Digital Pass in 2019. Eagles coach Tess Baxter reached out to the 27-year-old, who duly responded to play an important role at centre half-back in 2020.
Enjoyed a breakout 2019 campaign in which she averaged nearly 13 disposals at 82 per cent efficiency en route to being named full back in The Advertiser SANFLW Team of the Tear. Is highly-rated by talent scouts, with the 18-year-old expected to be among the competition leaders for rebound 50s after placing second in 2019.
Yet another promising teenager set to shine in 2020, Lee is a natural key forward who loves to take an impressive overhead mark. Made the most of limited opportunities last year to boot nine goals for the Eagles in her debut season while also tallying 23 for SMOSH West Lakes in the SAWFL.
An extremely busy player for the Roosters, Daniel’s experience is vital at Prospect as a key member of the club’s leadership group. A member of the 2019 The Advertiser SANFLW Team of the Year, the 32-year-old finished inside the top 10 for handballs as she loves nothing more than winning the ball for her team-mates in the clinches.
Emerged as one of the best defenders in SANFLW last year while earning selection at centre half-back in The Advertiser SANFLW Team of the Year. Represented both SA and the Central Allies at the AFL National Championships in 2019, so there’s every indication the 18-year-old could go to another level in 2020.
One of Glenelg’s most reliable players, Kellock has been a fixture in the Tigers’ leadership group where she will once again provide on-field guidance in 2020. Named in the back pocket of The Advertiser SANFLW Team of the Year, the 22-year-old also finished inside the competition’s top 10 for rebound 50s in 2019.