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 31 to 40, stay tuned to the SANFL website as more are revealed in the lead up to the season openers on Friday March 29.
31) Matt Rose (South Adelaide)
Rose, pictured above, joins dual Magarey Medallist Joel Cross as co-captain of the Panthers in 2019. Highly-respected internally, Rose is slowly gaining the accolades he deserves outside of Noarlunga as evidenced by his selection, and solid performance, for the West End State team last year. A dashing half-back who uses it well, the 27-year-old could easily play a midfield role if called upon.
32) Jesse Lonergan (Woodville-West Torrens)
Measuring in at a sizeable 184cm and 91kg, Lonergan looms as the ideal midfield fit for the Eagles’ mosquito fleet in the centre square. The Tasmanian played 60 AFL games for the Gold Coast from 2013 to 2018, forging a reputation as a bullocking ball magnet at NEAFL level for the Suns.
33) Aidan Tropiano (North Adelaide)
The Sandover Medallist’s game translated seamlessly from the WAFL to the SANFL, with the Roosters midfielder a key cog in helping his team win its first premiership since 1991. What Tropiano lacks in pace, he more than makes up for with his attack on the ball and willingness to apply defensive pressure.
34) Jared Petrenko (Woodville-West Torrens)
Endured a patchy season for his lofty standards in 2018 due to an involvement in the House Rules TV program which stifled the former Crow’s pre-season campaign. Also set back by a knee injury, Petrenko is looming as a semi-recruit for the Eagles this year with his ability to break the lines and hit the scoreboard from the midfield. Versatility is also a key advantage for the 29-year-old, who only played nine League matches last season.
35) Cameron Shenton (Norwood)
When you speak of versatility, it is hard to go past Cam Shenton. The former St Kilda utility can perform multiple roles for Redlegs coach Jarrod Cotton, something which also helped earn him a berth in the West End State team. Nice foot skills, coupled with an ability to carry the ball across lines, makes the 28-year-old one of the toughest players to predict when opposition coaches plan to confront Norwood.
36) Chris Curran (Glenelg)
Now the sole skipper at Glenelg, Curran enjoyed a career-best season in 2018 as he joined Andrew Bradley as co-captain. Finally injury-free, the medium-sized defender showed tremendous courage with his willingness to go back with the flight of the ball to take intercept marks. Back pocket in last year’s The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year, Curran leads from the front with his attitude and care for his team-mates.
37) Jonathan Beech (West Adelaide)
A fan favourite at Richmond, Beech has the ability to turn a match on his day such is his skill and penchant for hitting the scoreboard from the midfield. The 28-year-old from the Riverland is also a regular on SANFL’s Mark of the Week segment, with his hanger against Port in Round 7 last year being voted as Mark of the Year (see above).
38) Sam Colquhoun (Sturt)
The West End State player is a genuine ball magnet for a defender, regularly racking up disposals while streaming off the half-back line. Sturt’s premiership backman plays a valuable role as a distributor for his team-mates further down the field while also not being afraid to gain significant ground with his run and carry.
39) Chris Schmidt (West Adelaide)
After a year playing for North Albury, West Adelaide’s 2015 premiership captain has returned to the Statewide Super League and looks in good shape to have an impact this season. The 30-year-old provides plenty of experience for the Bloods’ youngsters, with directional voice on the training track and in the heat of battle.
40) Brad McKenzie (Norwood)
A beautiful kick of the football, the left-footer is not surprisingly used by the Redlegs as a kick-in specialist after an opposition behind. The former North Melbourne defender is creative with his disposal off half-back, often showing poise with ball in hand under pressure.