As the start of the 2019 Statewide Super League edges closer, SANFL’s Zac Milbank has selected his Top 50 players.
Weighing heavily on the players’ form and consistency in 2018, other factors were also taken into account in the ranking process such as club best-and-fairest finishes and selection in last year’s West End State team.
Here are players 21 to 30, stay tuned to the SANFL website as more are revealed in the lead up to the season openers on Friday March 29.
21) Jimmy Toumpas (Woodville-West Torrens)
Returns to Oval Avenue where he played in the 2011 SANFL League premiership with the Eagles before spending five years in the AFL system with Melbourne and Port Adelaide. For the past two seasons with the Magpies, the 25-year-old proved to be one of the competition’s most consistent performers across half-back. Will be interesting to see if new Eagles coach Sam Lonergan uses him further up the ground on the wing in 2019.
22) Matthew Nunn (Norwood)
After struggling to retain his place in Norwood’s best 21 throughout his first four senior seasons, Nunn enjoyed a breakout year in 2018 as he slotted into the Redlegs’ midfield rotation for 20 matches. Averaged more than 24 disposals per game while proving to be elusive in spinning out of the way of his opponents. Thrived in the centre square with the majority of the attention on Mitch Grigg and Matt Panos, could he be on equal footing with them by season’s end?
23) Abe Davis (South Adelaide)
The 192cm utility has thrived as a big-bodied midfielder, proving himself as a vital element in the Panthers’ on-ball brigade with Joel Cross and Nick Liddle. Placed third in the Knuckey Cup while also polling the fifth most votes in the 2018 Magarey Medal. Now free of injury, can the former Swans Academy player take his game to a new level in 2019?
24) Justin Hoskin (Central District)
Hoskin, pictured at the top of the page, began his career as a rebounding defender with Port Adelaide but has relished playing as a high half-forward who can push through the midfield with Central District. Strong overhead with clean hands, Hoskin is no stranger when it comes to sinking a long goal from outside 50m or snapping truly from close range.
25) Lewis Johnston (Norwood)
Produced his best season for the Redlegs after being moved on to the wing for season 2018. Racking up 28 touches per game, Johnston was able to find plenty of space while playing further up the ground. Boasting a massive kick, the former Rooster could also still be used as an attacking option inside 50m.
26) Mark Evans (Sturt)
The 2018 Ken Farmer Medallist returned to his best form last year after playing in consecutive premierships for the Double Blues. One of the most accurate set shots in the Statewide Super League, the former Redleg is tough to beat on the lead with his acceleration off the mark while also having a penchant for an opportune goal.
27) Max Thring (North Adelaide)
North Adelaide’s inspirational premiership captain nearly didn’t experience the ultimate after deciding against heading to play with his brother George in Keith at the start of the 2018 season. Staying at Prospect proved to be a wise decision as the gutsy rover led from the front as his team won its first flag since 1991. Boasts an admirable ability to play through the pain after carrying a calf problem throughout last year’s major round.
28) Aidan Riley (Sturt)
Arguably SANFL’s best stoppage player, Riley is a beast at winning clearances such is his strength at ground level. Plays the game so hard, he unfortunately finds himself in the medical room more than he would like, evidenced by his broken wrist suffered in the West End State game. If the 27-year-old stays fit this year – watch out.
29) Jack Hayes (Woodville-West Torrens)
Hayes built on his consistent 2017 by producing a career-best season in 2018 which yielded 39 goals from his 21 games for the Eagles. The 23-year-old uses his long arms to his advantage to often out-stretch his opponents in the air while also following up his work strongly at ground level. Possesses a nice turn of speed for someone standing 194cm.
30) Matt Snook (Glenelg)
Glenelg’s curly-haired midfielder loves nothing more than throwing himself into the fray at the bottom of the pack to win the hard ball for his team-mates. A master of farming out a quick handball to put his fellow Tigers into a position of advantage, Snook is also extremely courageous, as evidenced by him often sporting a bandage around his head by the final siren.