The Roar’s 2018 AFL top 50: 10 to 1

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    It’s not officially an AFL preseason until a group of The Roar‘s AFL experts come together to create the most necessary list in sport: the top 50 AFL players for 2018.

    This exercise has been around for some time now. We started doing it as a group four seasons ago, which would make this the fourth annual Roar AFL top 50.

    Unlike other top 50s, personal biases can play only a small role in the final order. But they still play a role, as will be revealed over the rest of this week when Jay Croucher, Josh Elliot, Madelyn Friend and Cam Rose run you through spots 11 through to 50. I have the easiest task of all: telling you who are the ten best players in the league heading into the 2018 season.

    We go in reverse order for precisely this reason: if we were counting from 50 to one, essentially the list would be a wrap at the close of play on Wednesday given the best of the best are a somewhat known quantity. Starting with the top bracket and working our way down is more interesting. But fear not, this group of ten counts up from ten to one.

    There has been some change at the top of The Roar AFL top 50. Three players have dropped out – one to the teens, one to the 30s and another to the 40s – bringing three new entrants. One of them, Josh Kelly, has come from the clouds as far as this list goes, making his list debut as a top ten player.

    Our panel was unanimous on the top five players. Every voter had the same five players at the very top of their respective lists, just in a slightly different order. The top ten was also quite similar: Jay, Madelyn and I had nine of the ten in our own lists while Cam and Josh had eight. Croucher’s list was the closest to the pin: he nailed the top eight except that his fourth and fifth picks were inverted and his ninth man was tenth and his tenth seed ended up in 11th overall. The man knows football.

    Nobody picked the same ten players in their own top ten. Who made it in? And which Brownlow medallist – there are only five of them in the league – has been given the true highest honour in the sport: the number one spot in The Roar AFL top 50? Let’s find out.

    10. Rory Sloane
    Adelaide’s number one man, Rory Sloane enhanced his reputation in two ways last year. First was his scintillating start, worth 12 Brownlow votes in the first six games. Second was the way he dealt with a hard tag applied by most coaches following said scintillating start to the year.

    Sloane modified his game, becoming the enabler for the rest of Adelaide’s on-ball parade. His positioning, blocking and bullocking at stoppages doesn’t show up on the stats sheet, but it’s telling Sloane still averaged 13.6 contested possessions from Round 9. That would have seen him finish inside the top ten if it was his full-season mark.

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    9. Gary Ablett Jr
    The injuries don’t help. Gary Ablett Jr, Geelong’s own, is one of the best five players in the game. But this list is about what’s coming, not what’s been. Playing 49 games in four seasons (88 games) does not bode well for Ablett’s ability to play a full year. That he’s still rated this high shows how much impact he has when he’s on the field.

    Ablett averaged 33 touches and 7.6 clearances a game in his last year at Gold Coast, huge marks for anyone, let alone a 33-year-old with a series of niggling injuries.

    (Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

    8. Scott Pendlebury
    The sun still rises in the east, water remains decidedly wet and Scott Pendlebury continues to average 28 disposals a game in the Australian Football League. Pendlebury has never been a mass accumulator – he’s only topped 40 touches once in his career – but he doesn’t need to be. Time moves slower when he has the ball in hand, and even slower for Pendlebury himself, who seems to make the best decision every single time.

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    7. Marcus Bontempelli
    Pendlebury’s heir, Marcus Bontempelli, looked a little less ethereal in the Dogs’ down year. Possession counts don’t do a lot for the Bont, because, like Pendlebury, it’s more about what happens with the ball.

    Bontempelli’s favourite situation is running three steps ahead of a congested passage of play, breaking free of an opponent – pre or post-ball delivery – and delivering it to a teammate to advantage. His skills on the deck are other-worldly for a man standing over 190 centimetres tall.

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    6. Josh Kelly
    The bolter of our list, Kelly surged from outside the top 50 right to the brink of the top five after a stunning fourth year in the league. Indeed, the Giant didn’t garner a single vote from last year’s panel, which looks like a gross oversight.

    Kelly does a lot of his work on the outside – he played on the wing for the first three years of his career – but with four preseasons under his belt added the size required to play in the centre. His lateral quickness and long boot make him an impossible match-up for any team looking to contain and control his influence.

    (AAP Image/Brendan Esposito)

    5. Alex Rance
    Inarguably the best defensive player in the game, Alex Rance continues to mount a case for ‘best defender ever’ status. Like a lot of other players at the pointy end, Rance’s value isn’t in the ones and zeros; it’s in what he does to bend the will of opposition teams.

    Yes, he’s got a phenomenal one-on-one win rate and is one of the only guys in the league you’d trust to nullify an opponent that has space to work in, but what we can’t measure is how Rance changes his opponents’ behaviour. The eye test says he’s a force unlike any other in the league.

    (Justine Walker/AFL Media)

    4. Nat Fyfe
    Speaking of which, the Nat Fyfe Doubters Club lost almost all of its members in the second half of last season. An injury-hit slow start – and, guys, Fyfe averaged 14 contested possessions, 5.2 clearances and 25 disposals – gave way to a return to planetary destruction after a midseason break.

    Between Round 15 and Round 23, Fyfe averaged 28 disposals, 6.9 clearances, 16.4 contested possessions and, crucially, 2.6 contested marks per game. The clearance figure is a little lower than in his Brownlow year, but otherwise, he was back. A full preseason post-two broken legs and there’s nothing to suggest those nine rounds are not his benchmark for 2018.

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    3. Lance Franklin
    Another 70-goal year, another Coleman medal and another 20-plus vote Brownlow Medal run. Lance Franklin’s fourth year as a Sydney Swan suggests he is no closer to slowing down than I am to retiring.

    Franklin added to his hall of fame induction tape with another long-running goal. Every time he gathers the ball on the left wing it feels like something incredible is about to happen.

    With an uncluttered Sydney forward line looking likely, Franklin should enter this year with another 70 goals on his mind. That would take him to seventh on the all-time leaderboard ahead of Leigh Matthews and Matthew Lloyd.

    (AAP Image/David Moir)

    2. Patrick Dangerfield
    Patrick Dangerfield had a better year in 2017 than he did in 2016, yet he didn’t win the Brownlow nor maintain his spot atop The Roar AFL top 50. He was a unanimous number two, too. That’s pretty rough.

    On account of some tactical flair from Geelong coach Chris Scott, we learnt Dangerfield is one of the most potent forward-50 marking options in the game; too fast for a key defender, too strong for a more nimble mid-sized option.

    He got near enough to 30 touches and two goals a game that we might as well call it accomplished. Add to that his continued dominance as Geelong’s leading midfielder and, well, it took a lot to displace him from number one seed.

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    1. Dustin Martin
    There’s not a lot more that needs to be said about Martin beyond a list of his achievements: premiership player, Norm Smith medallist, All Australian, AFL Players Association MVP and Brownlow medallist. No-one has ever done that before in a single season, and these awards have been around for some time now (the newest is the MVP, first awarded in 1982).

    Martin always threatened to become one of the best players in the game, but the best? I don’t think anyone saw his 2017 season coming. We’re left with no choice but to shower him with the praise that comes with being named the best player in the game today.

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    So that’s that for now. Players one to ten are almost always the least controversial picks in a top 50 list, and this year proves no exception. But 11 to 20 and beyond? That’s where it gets interesting.

    Ryan Buckland
    Ryan Buckland

    As an economist, Ryan seeks to fix the world's economic troubles one graph at a time. As a sports fan, he's always looking one or two layers beneath the surface to search for meaning, on and off the field. You can follow Ryan here.

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    The Crowd Says (149)

    • February 12th 2018 @ 7:38am
      I ate pies said | February 12th 2018 @ 7:38am | ! Report

      Bont will be number one by the end of this year.

      • Columnist

        February 12th 2018 @ 11:20am
        Ryan Buckland said | February 12th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

        I think we all said that at the start of last year. He had a bit of a down year (in his career arc at least – still a stellar year), where the players around him all were incredible. I wouldn’t be surprised, though.

        • February 12th 2018 @ 11:53am
          mattyb said | February 12th 2018 @ 11:53am | ! Report

          Bontempelli didn’t have a down year because of some sort of ‘statistical arc’,and his year was far from stellar,serviceable perhaps and his drop off was less extreme than some of his teammates.

          Bontempelli had a down year because he had a different role and couldn’t kick for goal.
          Of course your career ‘arc’ is going to alter if you change roles,because your not going to get as many possessions as a half forward as you do as a midfielder.
          If Bontempelli could kick for goal he could have kicked 50 goals, so we’d be looking at that ‘arc’,because its easier to kick goals from half forward than it is from the midfield.

          Will be interesting what role he plays this year,I can see a benefit in keeping him forward but if he can’t improve his kicking for goal he might be better off going back to spending the majority of his time as a midfielder.

        • February 12th 2018 @ 11:57am
          I ate pies said | February 12th 2018 @ 11:57am | ! Report

          He has only just turned 22. He’s got plenty of upside; still hasn’t filled out for a starter.

        • February 12th 2018 @ 6:48pm
          me too said | February 12th 2018 @ 6:48pm | ! Report

          Very good young player, but must be the most overrated in the game. Should become a top ten player, but hasn’t been one yet.

    • February 12th 2018 @ 7:49am
      JustAnotherVoiceOnTheInternet said | February 12th 2018 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      Solid top 10, the only change I would make is finding a spot for Robbie Gray, probably at Sloane’s expense unfortunately. That bloke is absolute silk, easily one of the best players in the game for mine.

      As a left field addition, I reckon if Dayne Beams ever got a good run with injury he’d be in the top 10 players in the game, the guy is elite in my opinion.

      • February 12th 2018 @ 3:37pm
        Redbacks fan said | February 12th 2018 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

        I agree that Robbie Gray deserves a place in the top 10. As much as I dislike the way he goes about it, he in an excellent footballer. It is only natural though for players who are non-Victorian or who play for the smaller Victorian clubs, to miss out in favour of players for the big Victorian clubs. It is also more difficult too for these players to win awards like the Brownlow and especially the AFLPA MVP.

        We are all biased this way – the more we hear about a certain player the more highly we rate them. The majority of the football media is centred in Melbourne and is aimed at a Victorian audience. It is perfectly understandable that they therefore speak/write more frequently about the most popular Victorian teams and their players. It was particularly evident when Patrick Dangerfield crossed the border into Victoria and became twice the player he was without even playing a game – I notice Gary Ablett has improved his standing considerably from last years #23 ranking. It works both ways though: in South Australia Charlie Dixon and Bryce Gibbs are considered better players than they were when playing interstate. The difference being that far more people around Australia are influenced by the Herald Sun, and SEN than The Advertiser and 5AA.

        This bias is an unavoidable consequence of the football industry and something that should be considered when compiling a list such as this. It would be interesting to see how Jeremy McGovern and Alex Rance would be rated respectively if they were drafted to opposite clubs.

        • February 12th 2018 @ 5:50pm
          truetigerfan said | February 12th 2018 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

          Well Redbacks fan, your own bias and poor us attitude is all too evident. How on earth do you expect to be taken seriously when you bemoan the ‘fact’ it is more difficult for non- Victorian players to win the Brownlow! You lose all credibility there before even considering the rest of this hogwash! Judd, Cousins, Ricciuto, Black, Voss, Akers, to name but a few. All players have the opportunity to play 22 games. Neutral umpires giving votes unless you suggest conspiracy or Vic pressure. Are you really serious? Some people are never happy, I guess.

          • February 13th 2018 @ 10:28am
            Redbacks fan said | February 13th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

            Don’t take that as a complaint truetigerfan, its just an observation. I am not suggesting any conspiracy theories but the umpiring group are some of the biggest footy fans in the country. They read the papers, they watch the footy shows, they are influenced by the media the same as the rest of us are. When asked to give Brownlow votes at the end of a game it is only natural for them to think of the star players first. It is often evident when players in their breakout season are overlooked in the Brownlow in favour of the established stars. Matt Crouch was Adelaide’s best and fairest and All Australian yet received only 11 Brownlow votes compared to Sloane’s 20. Kane Lambert was third in Richmond’s best and fairest, only 13 votes behind Dustin Martin yet only received 2 Brownlow votes to Martin’s 36. Thanks to increased media attention we are all now aware that M.Crouch and Lambert are good players and I bet both receive more Brownlow votes next year as a result. When an umpire living in Melbourne (most do as that is where the majority of games are played) who sees Patrick Dangerfield’s face on every article and every footy show all week umpires a Geelong v West Coast game, who do you think will get the 3 votes if Dangerfield and Shuey play identical matches?

            Of course non-Victorians have won the Brownlow and they will continue to do so. I am only suggesting that the lesser lights need to do more in order to win than the big name players do and the big name players come from the big name Victorian teams.

            Again, this is not a complaint so please don’t take such offence to it this time.

            • February 13th 2018 @ 11:17am
              truetigerfan said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

              No offence taken . . . really!

          • February 13th 2018 @ 5:50pm
            Tricky said | February 13th 2018 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

            You do realize that Robbie Gray is a Victorian right?

            • February 13th 2018 @ 5:54pm
              Tricky said | February 13th 2018 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

              Come to think of it all of those players bar Black and Ricciuto are Victorian. So I don’t think it’s SA bias

        • February 12th 2018 @ 9:08pm
          Scott said | February 12th 2018 @ 9:08pm | ! Report

          I couldn’t agree more Redbacks Fan. I reckon McGovern would be higher then Rance if they switched clubs. I’m not willing to say he’s better, they’re prob about equal, but I doubt we’ll see McGovern on this list till after 15. Interesting that the 2 best key defenders (Rance, McGovern) 2 best key forwards (Franklin, Kennedy) and arguably 2 best ruckman (Naitanui, Ryder) are all West Australian. Bring Origin back soon I reckon, before these guys retire

          • February 12th 2018 @ 9:23pm
            Don Freo said | February 12th 2018 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

            Ruckmen? Sandi is still the best….and he’s West Australian too.

            • February 13th 2018 @ 9:33am
              Harsh Truth Harry said | February 13th 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

              Sandilands is 48! Paddy Ryder, Grundy, Gawn, etc etc all way better

    • February 12th 2018 @ 7:56am
      Ditto said | February 12th 2018 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      Is it of any concern that this group of players look a little long in the tooth? Even thinking of players that could replace those chosen, no spring chickens come easily to the mind.

      • Roar Guru

        February 12th 2018 @ 8:08am
        AdelaideDocker said | February 12th 2018 @ 8:08am | ! Report

        Ablett and Pendlebury, potentially, but the others don’t seem that long in the tooth.

        I think to be a top ten player, you’ve gotta be a little older than the mean. It’ll be very rare for someone younger than these blokes to be on this list.

      • Columnist

        February 12th 2018 @ 10:44am
        Ryan Buckland said | February 12th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

        It’s a fair point. I think it’s a product of the system. Players don’t reach their peak until their late 20s in the main, at which time they’ve had 10 years of public exposure and opportunities to win games. It goes in waves.

        You’ll see a number of younger players begin to pop up from tomorrow onwards: 15 of the next 40 – without actually checking numbers, just looking at names – would be 24 or younger.

        • February 12th 2018 @ 11:38am
          Harsh Truth Harry said | February 12th 2018 @ 11:38am | ! Report

          Reach their peak in their late 20’s? How good is Joey D going to be then!

          • Roar Guru

            February 12th 2018 @ 12:24pm
            Dalgety Carrington said | February 12th 2018 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

            It’s a generalisation, not a guarantee.

            Sometimes players do hit their peak in their early careers, get feted as being anything, but don’t quite keep progressing. Sometimes there’s a characteristic that makes their game more complete, that comes with youth, that they lose with age.

            Athletic big men can be an example of this sometimes, as there’s added potential for them to lose their athleticism as they age and subsequently their game becomes less dynamic, which can be hard for them to adjust to.

            • February 12th 2018 @ 1:25pm
              Harsh Truth Harry said | February 12th 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

              I have coached young kids from Uner 12’s to under 19’s and boys develop completely differently. Some 14 year olds I’ve coached have mature enough bodies to play seniors, some 19 year olds are still a year or so away from maturing. Jakovich was a freak from his first game so was Timmy Watson at 15.

              • February 12th 2018 @ 2:41pm
                Don Freo said | February 12th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

                Congratulations…although there’s nothing special about that.

            • February 12th 2018 @ 3:18pm
              Harsh Truth Harry said | February 12th 2018 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

              Thanks Don, I knew you’d eventually come around to the Big H!

              • February 12th 2018 @ 10:04pm
                Don Freo said | February 12th 2018 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

                Who is the Big H?

      • Roar Pro

        February 12th 2018 @ 10:51am
        Darren M said | February 12th 2018 @ 10:51am | ! Report

        I think it takes at least 5-6 years for a good player to be considered elite. For them to be considered better than almost every other player, it’s almost always going to be a 27-28 year olds that make up the top 10.

        Overall, I think it’s quite an innocuous top 10 and there would be very few that would strongly disagree with most of them.

    • Roar Guru

      February 12th 2018 @ 8:06am
      AdelaideDocker said | February 12th 2018 @ 8:06am | ! Report

      If you’d ask any ten year old fan who the best players were, these guys are probably the ten you’d get, so that’s probably a good indication that this list is pretty much spot on.

      I personally can’t argue much with it. Good write up, Ryan.

      • February 12th 2018 @ 8:53am
        Ditto said | February 12th 2018 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        AD I’m not arguing with the selections, they do seem reasonably ‘spot on’, but 8 of the 10 on the list were drafted last decade. It seems a whole generation is failing to produce stars that are as good as the previous generation. Are the current generation mostly bland types ?

        • February 12th 2018 @ 9:24am
          Ditto said | February 12th 2018 @ 9:24am | ! Report

          So far there have been 4 players nomlnated by Roarers that could possibly come on to this list. The youngest is Dayne Beams who is 28.

        • February 12th 2018 @ 9:30am
          Another Paul said | February 12th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

          I see your point but I think you’re being a little harsh. It’s pretty crowded at the top currently. Just looking at Bontempelli and Kelly, an individual players performance needs to be stratospheric to join this group and we get 2 from the same draft.(side note, they 2 are great mates, they pretty much spend all their offseasons together. I hope that never turns into Bontempelli moving to GWS because I would have to stop watching football). Now if you look at Dustin Martin, he only joined the top 10 last year after 7 years in the system. So the fact of the matter is, it’s hard to displace a champion, you need lots of experience. I would imagine some from the 2010 – 2012 drafts might make it by the end of this year but no more than 2.

          Scary to think what Bontempelli and Kelly will be like in 4 more years, WOW.

        • Roar Guru

          February 12th 2018 @ 9:42am
          AdelaideDocker said | February 12th 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

          Looking at it optimistically, it means that most of these players are literally getting better with age.

          Looking at it realistically, it means that it takes a while and a helluva lot of hard work (plus many, many good performances along the way) to be considered one of the top 50. I think it’s unfair to believe that any player drafted in the past three or four years to be already firmly in the top 50 players. Yet alone the top 10.

          Now, if the Roar did the best 20 or so young players, that would be an interesting article…

          • Roar Guru

            February 12th 2018 @ 9:59am
            Cat said | February 12th 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

            Throw in some luck with injuries too. Imagine where Fyfe and Ablett might rank if they hadn’t missed huge chunks of time. Dusty and Danger are at the top because they have been able to play almost unhindered.

        • Roar Guru

          February 12th 2018 @ 9:57am
          Cat said | February 12th 2018 @ 9:57am | ! Report

          Players don’t come out of their draft years as the best in the game. It takes years to earn that honor. There are plenty of players that could one day be featured as a top 10 player but they need to prove they can do it for a sustained period.

    • February 12th 2018 @ 9:07am
      Steele said | February 12th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

      I’d argue a case for both the Josh Kennedy’s, ones been the premium goal kicker for a few years now, the other a contested ball magnet and arguably the games best big game performer.

      • February 12th 2018 @ 9:58am
        Slane said | February 12th 2018 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        It’s easy to throw out names that are ‘unlucky’. You’ve got to make an argument about who they replace.

        For mine, both Kennedy’s are more one-dimensional than the players listed so I can’t displace anybody. Sydney’s Kennedy is contested ball beast but lacks polish on the outside. The other midfielders on this list have both sides of the game. Likewise for the Eagles’ Kennedy. He is a great kick for goal and is unstoppable when he gets on a lead but he is no Buddy Franklin. He has to take a midfielders spot and I’m not sure he can.

        • February 12th 2018 @ 5:38pm
          Steele said | February 12th 2018 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

          Ok Slane, I’d Argue that for the last three yrs, WCE’s Kennedy averages the most goals per game and its not even close. So I’d argue that if your going to place Rance so high for sustained excellence as a defender, the same applies to Kennedy. I’d also argue that a gun forward is very difficult to find as opposed to a gun midfielder. This list reads like a Brownlow medal. Except JPK isn’t there. And he does considerably well in the Charlie(otherwise known as the midfielders medal). He lacks polish is a casual observers call, as you should know that the very best contested players(these are the guys that win you finals), generally have low disposal efficiency numbers due to their style of play. For instance, Danger and Fyfe have the same percentages. I have these two players above Sloane and Kelly. After that it gets tough.

        • February 12th 2018 @ 8:03pm
          Lyndon said | February 12th 2018 @ 8:03pm | ! Report

          Josh Kennedy west coast in for Gaz. Reckon gaz will have a good year but not top 10 good.

        • February 13th 2018 @ 8:15pm
          deccas said | February 13th 2018 @ 8:15pm | ! Report

          Josh Kennedy is just better than Sloane. I’d be happy to say better than ablett too given his injury problems, but I could accept people not thinking the same.

          Kennedy is pretty tidy on the outside, he isn’t a penetrative and long kick like the best outside players, but he is tidy. But he is the best contested possession player in the league. Has something like 4 or 5 of the top ten most contested possessions in a season. I don’t think anyone else is in there twice.

    • February 12th 2018 @ 9:42am
      Brian said | February 12th 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

      Ablett the biggest surprise for me. Would you really take him over Kennedy, Parker, Grey or Crouch. The last season he was better then Grey or Kennedy was probably 2013 or 2014 so its a big call to rate him better this year.

      • Roar Guru

        February 12th 2018 @ 9:52am
        Cat said | February 12th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

        The only query on Ablett is how many games he will play. If you look at his statistical rankings last year, he is still very much one of the best in the game when he plays.

        • February 12th 2018 @ 10:11am
          Brian said | February 12th 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

          But isn’t being able to play a crucial part of contributing to your team? So Daniel Wells will be in the top 50 for sure.

          • Roar Guru

            February 12th 2018 @ 10:34am
            Cat said | February 12th 2018 @ 10:34am | ! Report

            Of course it is, that’s why Ablett has slipped to the bottom of the list. He did still manage to win a B&F while only playing 14 games last year.

            • February 12th 2018 @ 11:26am
              spruce moose said | February 12th 2018 @ 11:26am | ! Report

              Speaks more on the trough talent list at the Gold Coast than it does of Ablett prodigious talents there…

              • Roar Guru

                February 12th 2018 @ 11:37am
                Cat said | February 12th 2018 @ 11:37am | ! Report

                Except if you look at Ablett’s stats compared to the league he still stacks up.

                – Ranked 2nd in Inside 50s Per Game
                – Ranked 3rd in Kicks Per Game
                – Ranked 2nd in Disposals Per Game
                – Ranked 9th in Contested Possessions Per Game
                – Ranked 19th in Uncontested Possessions Per Game
                – Ranked 5th in Effective Disposals Per Game
                – Ranked 1st in Clearances Per Game
                – Ranked 1st in Centre Clearances Per Game
                – Ranked 5th in Stoppage Clearances Per Game
                – Ranked 4th in Score Involvements Per Game
                – Ranked 10th in Metres Gained Per Game

              • February 12th 2018 @ 11:41am
                Harsh Truth Harry said | February 12th 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

                yeah impressive stats Cat but the key wording you use there is “per game”. None of those stats mean much if he aint out on the park. Still a questionable recruitment for a club who prematurely cleared out Bartel, Stevie J, etc for being too old then recruit a 34 year old.

              • Roar Guru

                February 12th 2018 @ 1:59pm
                Cat said | February 12th 2018 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

                Look at the final years of Bartel, Chappy, Johnson and you will see statistically they were all very clearly in decline. Ablett very clearly is not. Injuries are a conern, I do not dispute that but the ability is still there for Ablett, the others it was fading fast.

              • February 12th 2018 @ 4:06pm
                Tom M said | February 12th 2018 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

                Ablett still possess the ability to win a game off his own boot, either up forward or through the middle, the others mentioned unfortunately did not.

            • February 12th 2018 @ 3:31pm
              Harsh Truth Harry said | February 12th 2018 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

              Come off it Cat! I could win the Suns B and F at 68!

              • February 13th 2018 @ 12:12am
                Don Freo said | February 13th 2018 @ 12:12am | ! Report

                If we go on your posts…and especially your top 10…I doubt you have ever played a game. Maybe, by the time you are 68, you’ll work out what it is all about.

        • February 12th 2018 @ 11:39am
          Harsh Truth Harry said | February 12th 2018 @ 11:39am | ! Report

          He will be lucky to play 8 games. Your fitness staff Cat aren’t any better than the Suns I hate to tell you and he is a year older.

          • February 12th 2018 @ 11:59am
            I ate pies said | February 12th 2018 @ 11:59am | ! Report

            They did alright during the glory years, when Thompson’s team that moved on to Essendon were there…

      • February 12th 2018 @ 9:55am
        truetigerfan said | February 12th 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        Not a big call at all, Brian! Kennedy and Parker are great players, yes, but had relatively ordinary years in 2017. Crouch, yeah okay . . . needs to play to the level he reached last year for a few more years yet. And Grey . . . great display as a small forward but really? Gazza’s been right up there year in year out. Walks into the top 10. I suggest you look at his remarkable achievements and stats, ’tis you making the ‘big call’.

        • February 12th 2018 @ 10:52am
          Brian said | February 12th 2018 @ 10:52am | ! Report

          Gazza been an absolute great. My understanding is that this list is purely a forecast of the best 10 players to be in 2018, the past being totally irrelevant other then as a predictor of the future.

          • February 12th 2018 @ 11:11am
            truetigerfan said | February 12th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

            ‘ . . . the past being totally irrelevant other then (sic) as a predictor of the future.’ Hardly irrelevant then as it predicts, on past form, that these guys, if they reproduce that form, are the best in the game. Makes more sense to use the past to predict the future rather than guess using potential as a guide.

        • February 12th 2018 @ 8:56pm
          Steele said | February 12th 2018 @ 8:56pm | ! Report

          Nah, true tiger your wrong about that. Kennedy did not have an ordinary year. Your not watching obviously.

        • February 13th 2018 @ 3:17pm
          Brendon the 1st said | February 13th 2018 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

          Gray is a three time all Australian, twice for a midfield role and once as a small forward, so yeah, I’d have him over Sloane any day of the week.

      • Columnist

        February 12th 2018 @ 11:19am
        Ryan Buckland said | February 12th 2018 @ 11:19am | ! Report

        We essentially frame the list as: coming into 2018, who is the best player in the league for the season ahead? It’s not an assessment of future production beyond 2018, unless you think a player is going to make a huge leap.

        In that respect, Ablett’s 15-18 games in the coming year were judged more valuable than 22 games from Kennedy et al. All four of those players you’ve raised there will be in the list before too long.

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