Freelance Photojournalist and prolific SA country football writer Peter Argent, state selector and Murray South East Regional Director Scott Duncan and SA Country coach Steve Lubke, undefeated for four years during this period, have spent the off season selecting the unofficial Think! Road Safety SA Country Team of the Decade (2010-2019).
The full team will be unveiled in a four-part series. This week – the forward line.
By Peter Argent
The Think! Road Safety SA Country Team of the Decade forward line evoked plenty of discussion, with the lad from Owen, Todd Miles, and Penola legend Adam “Hogget” Merrett securing the key posts.
The SA Country captain in 2018, Miles, who has the distinction of representing both the SANFL West End State Team and SA State Country in the same decade, is named as the deputy to the energetic and vibrant Brian Fenton (announced in last week’s centre line up).
Miles played a key role in both Barossa Districts’ 2016 and 2017 premierships in the Barossa, Light and Gawler Football Association. Playing under duress during the ’17 finals series, he won the Hurn Medal as best on ground after a superb grand final performance.
Merrett started his career as a defender before moving forward, having now kicked upwards of 900 goals for the Eagles.
Along with All Australian honours as a defender back in 2008, Merrett kicked six goals in SA Country’s emphatic win over WA in 2015 in Perth. He would also coach the SA Country team as well.
Starting alongside Merrett in the full forward line are Crystal Brook champion left footer Campbell Combe and flexible, strong-marking Scott Wendleborn.
Along with a decade from Ironbank, Wendleborn had a couple of seasons with Myponga-Sellicks and a year at Tanunda. He will coach Encounter Bay when the 2020 gets underway.
One of his game rotations at SA Country level was ruck rover to centre half forward to wing.
Port Adelaide Magpies 100-game League footballer from Crystal Brook, Luke Slattery, played alongside three members of this forward line.
“Campbell (Combe) is a competitive beast,” said Slattery, a premiership teammate and coach at ‘The Brook’.
“Along with winning the ball and using it well, his best asset was when he didn’t have it or when it was in dispute.
“His pressure applied; chasing, tackling and harassing was a real feature of his game.
“I played with ‘the Wiz’ (Miles) in a premiership with Hamley Bridge before I went to Alberton.
“He has developed into the most versatile big man in country football.
“Todd could win a game in ruck, go down back and shutdown a key opposition forward, or move into attack and take marks and kick goals.
“I also had a season with ‘Hogget’ at Port.
“Very versatile, he was dangerous at both ends of the ground.
“His use of the ball was exquisite and so very strong – like a bull.”
Half forward Myles Warmington, who is originally from Western United in the Far West and collected the Barry Stringer Medalist in 2016, spent the most part of the decade with the Meningie Bears.
An effervescent player, he has the capacity to create and also impact on the score board, loving to celebrate a major.
Originally from Horsham, Marcus Burdett played a number of seasons with Willunga in the Great Southern League and also has become an accomplished Gaelic footballer.
With silky smooth skills, Burdett rarely wasted a possession and was ultra-consistent.
Along with representing SA Country regularly, he also donned the “Big V” jumper at one National Country Championships.
Next week: the Think! Road Safety SA Country Team of the Decade back line.
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