SANFL Player Focus: Benny Barrett (South Adelaide)

PORT Adelaide has an exciting Next Generation Academy prospect on its hands in South Adelaide’s Benny Barrett. The 174cm midfielder-forward led all comers as his Panthers were beaten after the siren in a dramatic SANFL Under 18s clash with Glenelg on Thursday night.

Barrett, a state Under 16s representative, has been on the radar for a few years and was part of South Adelaide’s 2023 Under 18 premiership side. He posted the fifth-best 20 metre sprint time (2.873 seconds) during preseason this year to further highlight his credentials.

The 17-year-old’s turn of speed is a obvious asset, though the crafty left-footer also applies defensive pressure and thrives at ground level. Having stuffed the stats sheet in Round 2, Barrett’s game was put under the microscope for this week’s SANFL Under 18s Player Focus.

South Adelaide-logoSouth AdelaideMidfielder-Forward

Benny Barrett

Height: 174cm

Weight: -

DOB: 01-05-2006


2024 SANFL Under 18s: Round 2
Glenelg 12.9 (81) def. South Adelaide 11.9 (75)

#6 Benny Barrett (South Adelaide)
Stats: 23 disposals (17 kicks, 6 handballs), 4 marks, 6 tackles, 10 clearances, 9 inside 50s
Centre bounces: 2/7 Q1 | 5/6 Q2 | 2/3 Q3 | 5/8 Q4 | 14/24 overall


Barrett was thrown straight into the starting centre bounce mix, positioning on the attacking side of the stoppage next to Glenelg’s Lucas Camporeale. He took little time to get his hands on the ball too, spreading to receive from the opening centre break.

His power and speed were immediately evident with several instances where he’d shark the loose ball and wheel away on his favoured left side. While darting, the polish on his kicking fell a touch short, particularly when turning to go inside 50.

Barrett also rotated forward and translated his energy around the ball to the attacking 50. His best moment was a trademark sidestep to escape traffic and handball off to Jesse Nye, who slotted South Adelaide’s first goal of the game.


Having only attended the first two of an overall seven centre bounces in term one, Barrett was present for five of six in term two. In that time, South Adelaide evened the ledger heading into the main break after taking advantage of what was the scoring end.

With the same centre bounce role and matchup to start off, Barrett again showcased his speed to break away cleanly from stoppages. He also displayed a good level of competitiveness to rip the ball free and lay a couple of strong lock-up tackles.

Able to snatch the ball in dispute, Barrett forged slick paths to the outside and was in good positions to launch inside 50, but could only really hit grass or opposition defenders with his clearing kicks – whether off a step under pressure or in space.

A snap on goal from the lively small fell short and wide of the mark while he rested in attack, though much of Barrett’s impact was felt forward of centre. Up to half time, he looked most dangerous when driving his legs and putting Glenelg on the back foot.


The scoring began to slow down in term three, but Barrett proved a lively stoppage asset for South Adelaide. While less prevalent at the restarts, he won a good amount of his overall 10 clearances from ball-ups around the ground in the second half.

Barrett’s ground level craft also continued to come to the fore, getting to the fall of the ball and scooping it up cleanly. In open play, he looked to keep it flowing with quick releases on the end of little bursts of speed, helping South go end-to-end fluently.

While productive, he could still have been more effective in his clearance method by driving his legs or looking to chain possessions with a give-and-go style. Given his strong athletic traits, adopting those kind of repeat efforts could enhance his ability to penetrate defences.


Barrett ran out the game in his midfield-forward rotation, continuing to rack up loose balls and impact at stoppage. While his kicking was hit or miss throughout the game, Barrett’s six handballs were just about all effective and could be a handy connection piece for him going forward.

Unfortunately, after snatching the lead with just over two minutes left to play, South Adelaide conceded two goals at the death to cough up a six-point loss. The final blow came after the siren as Ned McCarthy clunked a big mark and converted from the goalsquare.

The reigning premiers are now 0-2 to start season 2024, though Barrett has turned out in reasonable form to kick off his top-age campaign. With a game-high 23 touches, 10 clearances and nine inside 50s, he had a major say at the source by using his speed and ground level craft to advantage.


Barrett is among the small prospects who are capable of posting strong numbers through midfield at the junior levels, but may not end up there should he get senior or AFL opportunities. His ground level game and turn of foot translated well on Thursday night though, as he stuffed his boots in a tight loss.

He has traits, as outlined above, which lend to being an effective small forward. As a high flanker, he could still get involved as an extra at stoppage and use his speed on the way back to goal. Barrett also has the ability to hit the scoreboard and could be dangerous closer to goal.

In terms of strengths, his speed and agility are certainly difficult to contain and he provides great energy around the ball. When it comes to improvement areas, sharpening his end product will make him all the more damaging as a player who can break lines and use the ball in wide-open space.

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