SANFL cements premier state league status
Sunday, June 01 2008 @ 09:29 am ACST
Contributed by: Brett Northey
The South Australian state league team representing the SANFL has cemented the league's reputation as the best competition outside of the AFL. The interstate match yesterday at Adelaide Oval was SA's tenth win from their last eleven matches, and the emphatic nature of their victory over the Big V should put the debate to rest, at least until the next time the two states meet.
Players from around Australia overlooked in the national draft look to the state leagues in a bid to gain the attention of recruiters, and the status of which league is best has been hard fought for the past decade or so (see Bragging rights for "next best" unresolved). Since the demise of State of Origin, interstate footy has become the domain of the state leagues, and the battles are fought in a cycle, with Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia alternating, with games against other states such as Queensland also in the mix.
When the SANFL last met the VFL, in 2005, the South Australians won by 4 points in Melbourne. Yesterday the result was far more convincing, with SA up by 65 points at the final siren, thanks largely to a nine goal to none second quarter. Best for SA included Clint Alleway (Fos Williams medallist) while Robin Nahas was best for the Vics, winning the Frank Johnson medal.
South Australia (SANFL) 25.11 (161)
Victoria (VFL) 14.12 (96)
Tasmania's players in the VFL are also eligible for the Victorian side, but none were selected. This follows on from another blow to the Apple Isle, with plans for a statewide league to reunite the game there coming unstuck - see Hitch for statewide footy league. Unity in the state must surely be needed to give their AFL bid its best chance - decades of disharmony are probably the biggest reason AFL footy has so far passed them by.
The next interstate match sees Queensland looking to show the improvement in the game in their state, playing probably the third best league in WA. Back in 2002 the Sangropers defeated the Queenslanders by 111 points. The match is next week and to be played in Townsville, the unofficial capital of northern Queensland.