Mike Sheahan’s top 50 AFL players is one of the most anticipated columns year in year out in the Herald Sun.
It creates discussion everywhere, from the bars at pubs all around the country to around the office water cooler.
With that in mind, Inside Football’s Brett Anderson, along with input from a few Southern league brains, has taken a look at the playing stocks of the SFL and put together his top 40 players for season 2013.
Over the past three days we have listed players 40-11 and all that is left to do is reveal the ‘best of the best’.
So without further adieu… the top 10.
In an age with athletes all over the place, “Ozzie” is somewhat against the grain in that he is just a pure footballer. One of the smartest players running around in suburban football, Larsen has made a huge impact since joining the Vampires from Bacchus Marsh. Whilst other teammates receive more fanfare and plaudits, typically it’s the unassuming Larsen that gets East rolling.
One of the most decorated players in the competition, there isn’t a great deal that Roberts hasn’t achieved in his football career. A fearsome competitor and one of the best readers of the ball in local footy, Roberts simply makes the Heighters tick. Entering the twilight of his fine career, no doubt he’d love to cap it off with a Demons flag.
Bruno returns to the SFL in 2013 after a year at Sandringham, but in a controversial move, has decided to call McKinnon Oval home, rather than the Peanut Farm. All contention aside, Bruno is one of the finest players in the competition and will only serve to further strengthen a mighty Doggies midfield. Along with the recruitment of James, Bruno has made St Pauls an unbackable flag favorite.
Arguably the finest player outside of Division One for quite some time, Fermanis has had a crack at both Noble Park and Sandringham, but loyalty has always seen him call the Districts home. A powerful unit in the midfield, bursting out of packs, or a nightmare matchup when resting forward, Fermanis holds Oakleigh’s premiership hopes in his own two hands.
The former number one draft pick is still a Rolls Royce. Returning to his junior club half way through 2012, Johnstone nearly lead the Heights to that elusive Division One flag, only to fall agonizingly short. All reports suggest he is in fine fettle and set for a big full season at Beazley Reserve.
In most parts, Simon would simply be known as the son of former Richmond champion, Royce. But in the SFL, Royce is known as “Simon’s dad”! Hart starred in his first year in the competition with East Malvern booting 90 goals and helping them achieve a quick return to Division 1 by way of the flag.
Athletic ruckman whose mobility around the ground sets him apart from the rest. Has been an outstanding addition since crossing from Noble Park midway through 2011. Should have won the league medal last year before a broken leg at training deprived the Dogs of their most important piece.
(St Kilda City)
With the likes of Poyas, Quinn, Bruno, Hassan, Silver and Jacobs in the Saints lineup at stages over the past seven seasons, it is easy to overlook the bloke who is as tough as old boots on the half back flank. But since their departure, SFL fans have been able to gain a greater appreciation for the City skipper.
Arguably the most consistent player in the competition over the past three seasons, the Vampires midfield tyro causes all sorts of headaches around the stoppages, and also when pushing forward. Fit as a fiddle, and with a work ethic and appetitive to win the ball Melbourne players could only dream of. A well-deserved league medal is the only thing missing from Williamson’s trophy cabinet.
The star spearhead is the number one player in the SFL for season 2013. James, who booted 98 goals in both 2007 and 2008 for the Doggies, returns to the kennel after four seasons away with Catani (99 goals in 2009) and Kilcunda Bass (148 in 2011, 93 in 2012). With young gun Matt Kreymborg off to the VFL, if there was a question mark over the Dogs, it was up forward. James answers that question… and then some!
*** PLEASE NOTE***
Heath Barnes (St Pauls) and Steve Murphy (Chelsea Heights) were not considered for the list, as they are not 100% confirmed starters in 2013 according to information gathered.
The entire top 40 …
1 – Luke James (St Pauls)
2 – Dean Williamson (East Brighton)
3 – Gary Johnstone (St Kilda City)
4 – Andrew Gilbert (St Pauls)
5 – Simon Hart (East Malvern)
6 – Travis Johnstone (Chelsea Heights)
7 – Paul Fermanis (Oakleigh District)
8 – Jay Bruno (St Pauls)
9 – Ash Roberts (Chelsea Heights)
10 – Peter Larsen (East Brighton)
11 – Rhett Moor (Chelsea Heights)
12 – Andrew Jansen (East Brighton)
13 – Liam Wilson (St Pauls)
14 – Dean Francis (East Brighton)
15 – Sam Anstey (Mordialloc)
16 – Liam Bowman (East Brighton)
17 – Philip Smith (Chelsea Heights)
18 – Chris Graham (Cheltenham)
19 – Peter Mercoulia (St Pauls)
20 – Ben Douthie (East Brighton)
21 – Darren Walsh (Chelsea Heights)
22 – Aaron Purvis (Clayton)
23 – Mark Jamieson (East Brighton)
24 – Brad Gilder (Chelsea Heights)
25 – Tim Quick (St Kilda City)
26 – Luke Bartholomew (Dingley)
27 – Adam McIntyre (St Pauls)
28 – Dan Marshall (Highett)
29 – Jarryd Allan (St Pauls)
30 – Daniel Vaughan (Cheltenham)
31 – Scott Lawrie (Bentleigh)
32 – Mathew Kennedy (Clayton)
33 – Kenton Hall (St Pauls)
34 – Chris Morrison (Clayton)
35 – Mark Tasiyan (St Kilda City)
36 – Ben Fahey (Cheltenham)
37 – Brody Hodic (Cheltenham)
38 – Aaron Sawers (Dingley)
39 – Chris Worner (Hampton)
40 – Steve Arvanitis (St Kilda City)
Do you have a comment to make regarding the Top 40? Head to www.facebook.com/SouthernFootballLeague to see what others are saying about this list!