It’s that time of year again!
After selecting his Top 50 players at the start of the season, SANFL Media Producer Zac Milbank has chosen his Top 50 now that the dust has settled on an exciting 2021 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, the Top 50 from 2021, starting with those selected 31 to 50.
Stay tuned as the remainder roll out across the SANFL website and social media channels in the coming days.
The 2015 premiership midfielder ends his SANFL career with a solid season amid difficult circumstances at West Adelaide this year. Placed third in the Neil Kerley Medal as the Bloods’ best-and-fairest while ranking inside the competition’s top 20 for average Champion Data ranking points at 103 per match.
Recruited from Tasmania, Grace impressed in his first season with the Bulldogs to finish fifth in the race for the Ken Farmer Medal. Building a cult following at Elizabeth with his ”mullet” haircut, the key forward is rated highly internally as evidenced by a third placing in Central’s best-and-fairest.
Glenelg’s classy left-footer finished third in the Ken Farmer Medal with a haul of 34 for the minor round while also finishing inside the competition’s top 10 for contested marks. Kicked a game-high four goals for the West End State team in the Croweaters’ win against the WAFL at Adelaide Oval.
The dual Magarey Medallist called time on his illustrious career after battling form and injury in 2021. Despite this, Grigg managed to finish sixth in Norwood’s best-and-fairest while also averaging 106 Champion Data ranking points – placing him inside the top 15 of the competition.
Returning to South Australia after spending the past six years with North Melbourne, Durdin was a rock solid member of Glenelg’s back six. Finishing seventh in the Bays’ best-and-fairest, the 198cm backman also won the club’s Trademark Award.
The former Brisbane Lion booted 16 goals for the Panthers in the first half of the season before being swung into defence in what proved to be an influential move. The 24-year-old now finds himself back on an AFL list at Port Adelaide after placing second in the competition for contested marks and claiming the club’s Trademark Award.
Missed five of the first six games of the season due to a shoulder injury on debut but the Essendon recruit finished strongly to be one of the Eagles’ best on Grand Final day with 26 disposals and two goals. Averaged 21 disposals for the season to ensure the absence of 2020 Jack Oatey Medallist Jordan Foote wasn’t as stark this year.
The West End State ruckman performed admirably when fit in 2021, managing to place fifth in the competition for hit outs despite only playing 15 games. Lead ruckman in the West End State team’s win against WA, Knoll also earned a top-10 finish in the Redlegs’ best-and-fairest before announcing his retirement due to ongoing knee issues.
Arriving at Brighton Road late in the pre-season, Landt only took three Reserves games to earn a berth at League level such was his eye-catching speed and raking left-foot kick. Awarded the Bays’ best first year player award, the St Mary’s signing placed fourth in the best-and-fairest.
Logan Hill’s love for his Bloods comes out in the way he plays, displaying plenty of desperation en route to being joint winner of the Neil Kerley Medal as West’s best-and-fairest. A member of the club’s 2015 premiership, the 33-year-old will be eyeing off his 200-game milestone in 2022 given he currently sits on 186 League matches.
Another key Eagle to be hampered by injury at different stages this year, the lethal left-footer booted 24 goals in 14 games to sneak into the top 10 of the Eagles’ best-and-fairest. Capped his first season off at Oval Avenue with three goals on the biggest stage of all – the Grand Final.
A dominant presence for the Magpies in his 12 SANFL games this year, the key defender was third in Port’s best-and-fairest after being named in the best players on seven occasions. Has since been surprisingly delisted, causing original SANFL club Sturt to reach out to its 2016 premiership player about a potential reunion in 2022 should an AFL opportunity not eventuate.
The unheralded, yet ultra consistent, Hamilton posted his best season at The Parade in 2021 after finishing third in the Michael Taylor Medal as best-and-fairest. Averaged 19 disposals for the Legs while also claiming the treasured Woods Medal as most dedicated club man.
Earning the Roosters’ most consistent trophy upon his return to Prospect this season, Young was equally effective for the Roosters in both the midfield and attack. This is evidenced by his impressive numbers which yielded 22 disposals and a goal a game throughout 2021.
Eagles fans will certainly miss their dual premiership cult hero after Poole announced his retirement at the end of this season. Placing seventh in the club’s best-and-fairest, the power-packed small forward/midfielder unsurprisingly also won his team’s best team man trophy.
Awarded Norwood’s captaincy at the start of the season, Nunn certainly led from the front when fit in 2021. A member of the West End State team, the prolific midfielder placed equal fourth in the Magarey Medal (leading the count mid-season) despite only playing 10 games due to a serious hamstring strain.
The likely No.1 AFL Draft selection certainly backed up the hype surrounding his ability with an eye-catching League campaign, averaging close to 17 disposals and a goal playing primarily as a high half-forward. After making his League debut last year, Horne-Francis was awarded South’s most improved award. The explosive teenager farewelled Panthers fans with a stunning preliminary final performance which yielded 24 disposals, three goals and 11 clearances.
The Glenelg co-captain was again a key pillar in the Tigers’ minor round success, earning a fifth placing in the club’s best-and-fairest. A member of the West End State team, Proud spoke impressively at the Bays’ centenary dinner as he detailed his team’s determination to redeem itself in 2022.
Now a dual premiership captain, Thompson displayed tremendous leadership while playing a vital role in defence to lift his side to consecutive Grand Final triumphs. Finishing ninth in the Eagles’ best-and-fairest, Thompson also donned the cherished West End State guernsey in 2021.
A breakout season for the Panthers’ speedy wingman resulted in him placing third in the Knuckey Cup as the club’s best-and-fairest. The West End State team debutant averaged 22 possessions at an impressive disposal efficiency rate of 86 per cent, culminating in his 27-disposal display in the preliminary final.