Round 1 of the Hostplus SANFL League season is fast approaching, so there’s no better time to unveil the preseason TopSport SANFL Top 50.
After selecting his Top 50 players at the end of last season, SANFL Media Producer Zac Milbank has chosen his Top 50, inclusive of the bevy of star recruits set to take part in the 2022 Hostplus SANFL League campaign.
Form across the 2021 season was used as the chief factor in the ranking process, with selection in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year and West End State team weighing heavily together with placings in the Magarey Medal, Shearman Medal and Club best-and-fairest awards.
High rankings in statistics such as total disposals, marks, contested marks, goals, clearances and tackles were also taken into account, along with Champion Data ranking points.
So here they are, selections 11 to 30 of the TopSport SANFL Top 50 set to excite the fans in 2022.
Stay tuned as the remainder roll out across the SANFL website and social media channels in the coming days.
Locked in as Central District’s sole captain for 2022 after sharing the mantle with Luke Habel for the first time last season.
The latest member of SANFL’s treasured 200 club posted an ultra-consistent season in 2021, ranking fifth in the competition for clearances as he continued his prowess at the stoppages.
This resulted in the Bulldogs veteran winning the 2021 Norm Russell Medal as club best-and-fairest.
Dual Eagles premiership ruckman Jarrad Redden has played a major role in his team’s success across the past two seasons, culminating in his influential display in the 2021 SANFL Grand Final.
Now, the loyal veteran will receive some much needed support from super-fit ruck recruit Seb Guilhaus, who has returned for 2022. This could even lead to coach Jade Sheedy resting Redden at various points in the minor round, to ensure he is fresh for finals.
A master at palming the ball at the stoppages, Redden finished fifth in his club’s best-and-fairest count last year while also ranking fourth in the competition for total hit outs.
Davis should benefit greatly from the presence of Patrick Wilson this year, particularly when playing through the midfield.
After a slow start to 2021, Davis’ strong form mirrored that of his team as the Double Blues narrowly missed a berth in the major round.
It resulted in the former Panther placing eighth in the Shearman Medal as voted by SANFL coaches and fourth in the Magarey Medal.
The delisted Brisbane Lions giant was chased hard by at least four SANFL clubs before deciding on Woodville-West Torrens as his destination.
Keen to spend the majority of his time in attack, Ballenden is being viewed as the chief structural answer to filling Jack Hayes’ void inside attacking 50m.
Measuring in at a sizeable 200cm and 101kg, the 23-year-old will be aiming for a big season to push his case for an AFL recall.
One of coach Jade Sheedy’s favourites, Rowland had spent considerable time training as a midfielder this summer with the view of potentially playing as a big-bodied midfielder in 2022.
With the late arrival of Essendon recruit Dylan Clarke, this may not eventuate as originally planned but regardless, Rowland will again be a super valuable player for the reigning premier.
A member of the West End State team last year, Rowland finished sixth in the Eagles’ best-and-fairest while also winning the Bob Quinn Medal as best afield on Anzac Day.
Tom Lewis would have been heartened by Adelaide naming him as a Covid top-up player for 2022, as he chases his AFL dream.
Sturt’s strongly-built left-footer took his game to another level in 2021 with selection in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.
Winning the 2021 Powerade Breakthrough Player award, Lewis led the competition in tackles while also securing a top-10 placing in the Magarey Medal.
It is no surprise Joseph Sinor has again been locked into the Eagles’ leadership group, such is his reliability and willingness to lead by his selfless actions.
Sinor is a player who flies under the radar in the Eagles’ premiership-winning midfield.
He is rated extremely highly by those internally at Oval Avenue, placing him third in last year’s club best-and-fairest while significantly being named as Woodville-West Torrens’ best finals player in a premiership season.
Matt Allen stepped his game up a notch in 2021, resulting in him being named in Glenelg’s 2022 Leadership Group.
After emerging to be the competition’s best genuine wingman last year, Allen was not surprisingly selected in that position in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.
The damaging left-footer averaged 21 disposals, six marks, three tackles and a goal to be placed ninth in the Bays’ best-and-fairest award.
Announced as deputy vice captain at Central earlier this week, Presbury now ranks as one of the best ball-users, particularly by foot, in the competition.
Last year, he enjoyed a breakthrough season on an individual level, averaging 25 disposals at an exceptionally high efficiency rate of 89 per cent.
Earning a debut in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, Presbury also finished runner-up Central best-and-fairest while placing seventh in the Shearman Medal.
Several SANFL clubs had a crack at swaying Brand from returning to Richmond but in the end, the delisted Sydney Swan stayed true to the red and black.
Originally from Berri in the Bloods’ Riverland recruiting zone, the 27-year-old not only boasts AFL experience with the Swans but also the Hawks, as noted by coach Brad Gotch.
Measuring in at 198cm, Brand can play at either end of the field but is most likely to settle at centre half-back, where he looms as a commanding presence in 2022.
Entering his second season at Brighton Road, the former West Adelaide utility has transformed himself into one of the competition’s most respected midfielders.
Runner-up in Glenelg’s best-and-fairest last year, Turner also earned a spot in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year while ranking first in the competition for inside 50s, fourth for clearances, seventh in disposals and third in tackles.
Eagles premiership forward Daniel Menzel has certainly proven there’s still plenty of life left in his 30-year-old body despite enduring an horrific run with injury at AFL club Geelong and Central District.
Managed just one game for the Bulldogs in his return to SANFL in 2020 but certainly repaid the faith shown in him by the Eagles after being named forward pocket in last year’s The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.
Finished equal runner-up in the Ken Farmer Medal with 44 goals for the season, including four in his team’s Grand Final victory.
Glenelg welcomes Jordan Murdoch back to the Bay after playing 122 AFL games for Geelong and Gold Coast since departing at the end of 2011.
The booming left-footer is set to start the season playing off a half-back flank, where he will use his kicking skills, together with his penchant for running with the footy.
Off the field, the 30-year-old will also educate the Tigers’ youngsters in a development coaching role.
Curtailed by an untimely hamstring strain in the 2021 finals series, South Adelaide veteran Broadbent will be hoping his 32-year-old body holds firm in 2022.
The former Power defender shone on the national State League stage with a stunning performance for the West End State team, earning him the 2021 Fos Williams Medal as best afield.
Extremely consistent for the Panthers in being named at half-back of The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, he was last year named in his team’s best players on 10 occasions from 17 matches.
Set to continue as Sturt skipper in 2022, Battersby has thrived on shouldering the midfield load for Sturt, particularly since the retirements of Aidan Riley, Zane Kirkwood and the season-ending injury to Pat Wilson last year.
The former Crows rookie finished third in his team’s best-and-fairest last year after being named in The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.
Earning a top 10 placing in the Shearman Medal, Battersby finished sixth in the competition for most disposals at an average of 27 disposals.
Speculation mounted in the off-season that Voss may land himself on an AFL list as a mature-age recruit, such was the strength of his 2021 campaign.
While it didn’t eventuate, the 21-year-old will have another opportunity to impress with the Double Blues in 2022.
Voss received high praise at season’s end from his coach Martin Mattner last year, who declared: ”“He is one of the smartest players I have ever seen play the game of footy. That is AFL, SANFL, everything.”
The son of Carlton coach Michael Voss won the 2021 P. T Morton Medal as best-and-fairest while also being named at half-back of The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.
North Adelaide’s captain will proudly continue in his role but with a twist in 2022.
In a new tradition at Prospect, Spina will be the first Roosters skipper to don the cherished No.10 guernsey in honour of club legend Barrie Robran.
With his No.21 jumper now locked away, Spina will be hoping to continue his reading of the play impressively in defence last year to earn vice-captaincy of The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.
Runner-up in the 2021 Barrie Robran Medal as North’s best-and-fairest, Spina was also a vital cog in the back seven for the West End State team.
With Glenelg premiership backman Chris Curran hanging up his boots in the off-season, Haines now assumes the mantle as the competition’s most dangerous defender.
Haines posted an outstanding campaign in 2021 which resulted in selection in both the West End State team and The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year.
Placing runner-up in the 2021 Knuckey Cup as South’s best-and-fairest, Haines also finished fourth in the competition for most disposals – illustrating how many attacking forays he sparked last year.
Former Brisbane Lions-listed midfielder Corey Lyons has joined the Bays for 2022, desperate to prove himself in the best State League competition with his consistency in finding the footy.
The younger brother of Lions star Jarryd Lyons, the 23-year-old averaged 29 disposals for Brisbane in the NEAFL and 27 disposals for Aspley last year in the shortened VFL competition.
Standing at 184cm, Lyons looms as a huge addition to Brett Hand’s centre square combination, with many judges tipping him to be in the running for this year’s Magarey Medal.
There’s a strong chance Wilson will enter the TopSport SANFL Top 10 by season’s end as he presents himself as a virtual recruit for Sturt in 2022.
Crippled by a shoulder injury suffered during a trial game last year, Wilson was unable to lace up the boots in a year of frustration on the sidelines.
South captain Matt Rose has tipped the big-bodied midfielder to win this year’s Magarey Medal, something which is well in play should Wilson steer clear of the medical room in 2022.
Sign up to see all the news from around the SANFL each week – directly in your inbox!