2018 was a year filled with plenty of talent on the field, and with plenty of supporters hungry for a State of Origin competition to return, we decided to pick SA’s best for the year 2018. This is the 2018 All South Australian Team, and it’s packed with star quality.
DEFENDERS PICK THEMSELVES
There are around 100 South Aussies competing at the highest level, the third most of any state, so there’s plenty of talent to choose from. Starting with the backs, most spots filled themselves with Eagles’ Premiership skipper Shannon Hurn an obvious choice, along with Crows’ star Rory Laird who has been arguably the best defender of all this year. Phil Davis, Tom Jonas and Heath Grundy have all also had great years for their respective sides, and Bernie Vince takes the last spot on the field, even though his form in his final season was poor by his high standards.
The midfield is stacked, led by star ruckman Brodie Grundy, with gun midfielders Bryce Gibbs (one of the recruits of the year) Brad Ebert, and Jack Redden with want-aways Lachie Neale and Jared Polec rounding out a very powerful engine room. Gibbs and Neale are out and out stars and two of the competition’s best, and Grundy is the league’s most intimidating big man, a centre three that wouldn’t lose too many battles against any other combination.
TOUGH CALLS UP FORWARD
The forward line lacks the fire power of the defence and midfield, but still contains a few stars that would be tough to tackle as a group. Chad Wingard and Justin Westhoff have both had great seasons for the Power, and they’ll be joined by Scott Lycett who misses out on the first ruck spot due to Brody Grundy’s amazing season. All Australian bolter Shane Edwards also earns a spot, with Orazio Fantasia an easy inclusion as interest from his home state grows. Daniel Menzel takes the spot at full forward which was a difficult selection, but the forward line needed some more marking ability.
READ: THE COACHING HOT SEAT
This team has three first choice ruckmen due to an overabundance of talent in SA. If I made this team last year Sam Jacobs would be in the first ruckman’s spot, but this year he has started to show his age, and so ends up on the bench along with teammate Eddie Betts who has also dropped off in form in 2018 but is still one of the competition’s elite small forwards. Paul Puopulo and Travis Varcoe take the last two selections on the bench, both having pretty good seasons with some crucial performances each.
FB: Shannon Hurn (WCE) (C), Phil Davis (GWS) (VC), Heath Grundy (Syd)
HB: Rory Laird (Adel), Tom Jonas (Port), Bernie Vince (Melb)
C: Bryce Gibbs (Adel), Brad Ebert (Port), Jack Redden (WCE)
FOLL: Brodie Grundy (Coll), Lachie Neale (Frem), Jared Polec (Port)
HF: Chad Wingard (Port), Justin Westhoff (Port), Shane Edwards (Rich)
FF: Orazio Fantasia (Ess), Daniel Menzel (Geel), Scott Lycett (WCE)
INT: Sam Jacobs (Adel), Paul Puopulo (Haw), Eddie Betts (Adel), Travis Varcoe (Coll)