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Top five AFL players: 21 and under

(AAP Image/David Crosling)
Roar Guru
31st January, 2016
101
3980 Reads

In making this list players must be aged 21 years old or younger right now, and I tried to hit a sweet spot of past performance and future potential.

Jesse Hogan
Big forwards who can clunk marks and kick goals at an elite level like Hogan are the unicorns of the AFL. He is a foundational player who you can build a great team around.

In his first real season of AFL he finished third in the competition for contested marks and kicked 44 goals. He achieved this while virtually being starved for opportunities in the barren wasteland that is the Demons’ forward line.

If the Demons can get the ball into their forward 50 at even a respectable rate it’s frightening how good Hogan could become.

Ollie Wines
Wines is the most established player of this group whose first few seasons rival any of the great midfielders.

Already one of the best contested possession winners in the game, Wines brings the grunt and quads to the Power midfield.

A durable player who, prior to his dislocating his shoulder in Round 18, had played every game possible since being drafted, and is the fastest player to notch 50 AFL games for the Power.

He has risen to the occasion when it matters most, having some of his best games during the pressure of finals.

Marcus Bontempelli
In an era which holds tall, big-bodied midfielders at a premium, Bontempelli is the most physically imposing midfielder in the game.

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Like Anthony Koutafides and Matthew Pavlich before him, ‘The Bont’ at first glance looks out of place lining up in the middle, until you see him brush aside tacklers and drill a kick to a forward.

Despite his size he is still more than willing to get down and dirty with the little guys and is a ferocious tackler.

A proven a match winner with a knack for kicking the big goal, with a good head on his shoulders that has seen him named to the Dogs’ leadership group.

Jaeger O’Meara
There were never any growing pains for O’Meara who was a gun the moment he stepped onto an AFL field. He is a player who is all class with the ball and a real workhorse without it.

We didn’t get to see O’Meara last season after he suffered a rare patella tendon rupture, which admittedly does sound a little worrying.

However the word is he should be right for Round 1 and as long as he can get back to full health he is a very special player.

Jake Stringer
Stringer is a nightmare to match-up in a one-on-one contest which makes him such a dangerous forward.

Too quick and agile for the tall defenders, too tall and strong for the small ones and too smart and brilliant for the rare ones who can match him physically.

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He has already been named an All-Australian after slotting 56 goals last season while only just starting to feel fully recovered from the badly broken leg he suffered as a 16-year-old.