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 41 to 50, stay tuned to the SANFL website as more are revealed in the lead up to the season openers on Friday March 29.
41) Max Proud (Glenelg)
Elevated to be the Tigers’ vice-captain, Proud produced a career-best season in 2018, which culminated in him winning the club’s best-and-fairest award. A versatile defender, who can play on talls and smalls, Proud is not afraid to display his trademark courage in the air. The 27-year-old is finally injury-free after previously being held back by a series of frustrating ailments.
42) Sam Baulderstone (Norwood)
The dual premiership ruckman may not be at the peak of his powers as he was during the club’s 2014 premiership campaign but he can still influence the outcome of a match in the centre square. Has the ability to palm the ball with great control and direction, which opens up the play for the Redlegs’ star-studded midfield.
43) Chris Hall (Woodville-West Torrens)
The former Fremantle Docker is one of the most consistent midfielders in the competition, such is his output in the Eagles’ deep midfield rotation. Runs extremely hard to earn his possessions while also being able to play across half back, half forward, or the wing.
44) Alex Barns (North Adelaide)
Players of Barns’ height (198cm) and skill level are a rare breed, highlighting his importance to the Roosters. Pictured at the top of the page, the 25-year-old kicked 8 goals in Round 8 last year against his old team Port Adelaide to underline his game-breaking ability. Made his debut in the West End State team against the WAFL.
45) Nick Hayes (Woodville-West Torrens)
The former Brisbane Lions rookie has been a major factor behind the Eagles’ minor round success with his clever decision-making inside 50m. An extremely difficult player to match up on at 188cm and 84kg, Hayes could easily be deployed into his team’s midfield which could easily spark a rise up in the Top 50.
46) Alex Spina (North Adelaide)
North Adelaide’s vice-captain was last year’s hard luck story, missing the Grand Final victory after breaking his collarbone in the Preliminary Final. On that occasion, the former Crows rookie displayed tremendous courage but he is also valuable to coach Josh Carr with his ability to play multiple roles, in defence, midfield or attack.
47) Trent Goodrem (Central District)
The 2009 Jack Oatey Medallist is still a vital player for the Bulldogs despite being in the twilight of his career. The triple premiership utility – who is now a member of the SANFL 200 Club – has led from the front with Roy Laird’s young group since being named captain in 2015.
48) Joseph Sinor (Woodville-West Torrens)
The 2017 Powerade Breakthrough Player will be looking to build on his finish to last year’s campaign, which included the final eight games including the major round due to a broken leg suffered in the 2018 trial match period. At this best, he is one of the best rebounding defenders in the competition, raking up possessions at will by reading the play with ease.
49) Tom Harms (Sturt)
A prodigious kick of the football, Harms – 187cm and 83kg – can play on most sizes in his position as medium defender. Winner of last year’s P.T Morton Medal as the Double Blues’ best-and-fairest, the curly-haired backman goes about his business with minimum fuss.
50) Lewis Hender (North Adelaide)
Elevated to be joint vice-captain with Alex Spina in 2019, Hender can turn a match on its head in a matter of minutes. A regular figure in SANFL’s Mark and Goal of the Week, the classy left-footer improved his consistency in 2018 to finish with 42 goals for the season.