You get a lot of that in RL. NSW Cup tips can be done reliably by counting the number of NRL top 25 players in the opposing teams. Also explains some wide variations in form. Unfortunately, it did not explain Newtown's thrashing 60-10 at the hands of Auckland last Saturday.
It is interesting to note the gap in calibre between a fulltimer in the VFL (i.e. an AFL listed player on the fringe of seniors who probably won't get a senior game) and a fulltimer in the SANFL (bloke who could move to an AFL club but may not be worth it because probably won't get a senior game).
In Qld, there are blokes that could walk it into an NRL squad in Sydney but probably would spend the whole year in NSW Cup. Hardly worth uprooting your family and career. I imagine some Heaps Good (TM) South Aussie would feel the same way.
I wouldn't have thought there'd be many. Main list players get a minimum $60k a year and guaranteed 2 year contract, and that's if they don't play a game (for anyone, including state league). Even if they play 20 state league matches for the year, they're looking at $80k or so. If they play 20 games of AFL, it goes up to over $100k.
Rookie listers are not as lucrative (base about $35k + match payments), and players would be more likely to turn that down. But the vast majority of state league players under 25 who thought they would be good enough to make the grade would give it a crack. The upside is huge - even a fringe 22 player would be on at least $150k a year
for their 2nd contract. If you're a regular you'd be looking at $250k a year.
That's a big pile of money for someone not at the top of their profession. No wonder those Olympic sports don't stand a chance.