Last Tuesday night, October 13, a modest young man from Crystal Brook became the toast of South Australian football when he was presented with the 2020 Magarey Medal.
Midfielder Campbell Combe, in his second season at North Adelaide FC, became the 17th Rooster to win SANFL’s fairest and most brilliant individual award.
He polled 19 votes, made up of six first preferences and one third preference, to count out Glenelg’s Matthew Snook on 17 and Sturt’s James Battersby on 16.
Combe is the first North player to win the Magarey Medal since James Allan in 2011.
He admitted winning the highly prized award took him by surprise.
“Yeah absolutely, I was very surprised,” he said.
“I didn’t give myself a real chance to be honest, I thought blokes like James Battersby would poll well, but to finish ahead of them was a real surprise.”
It is a dream come true for the talented left-footer who came up through the ranks at Crystal Brook FC.
The list of coaches who shaped his career during the junior grades include local success-stories Phil Stevens and Joel Head.
While rating his father, Phil, as the biggest influence on his career, Campbell said he was fortunate to experience the accomplishments Crystal Brook had during the period under coaches Shane Arbon and Luke Slattery.
“I really enjoyed playing under both of them,” he said.
“They were both slightly different the way they went about it, but were both as good as each other and they were very, very enjoyable times.”
His stellar career culminated in a run of three premierships and three Sunday Mail medals, he represented the Northern Areas Football Association (NAFA) in Landmark Cup teams in 2015/16/17 and 18, and featured in the Northern Zone teams in 2015/16 and 17 before heading to the SANFL and joining North Adelaide in 2019.
So, what is next for Campbell Combe after three Mail medals and a Magarey medal?
The Brownlow perhaps?
“Oh, I don’t think I have any interest in that to be honest,” he said, rejecting any suggestion he could be lured into nominating for the upcoming AFL draft.
“I’m 25 now and I’m pretty happy with what I’m doing at work on the farm and am just really enjoying my footy playing for North Adelaide under (coach) Jacob Surjan.
“He’s coached us to an outstanding year, I can’t speak highly enough of him,” he said.
Meanwhile, NAFA president Andrew Bowley said it was a proud moment for Campbell Combe, the Crystal Brook Football Club and the association.
“I think everyone within Northern Areas is very happy, excited and proud of Campbell for winning this year’s Magarey Medal and also playing in the SANFL grand final last weekend,” Bowley said.
“Campbell has been a very talented footballer from a very young age playing at Crystal Brook.
“He has always worked hard on his skills and it is great to see him rewarded for that with the medal.”