Part 1 of the six-part series comprises the five players the Adelaide Crows, Brisbane Lions and Carlton Blues can least afford to lose in 2021, plus each side gets one honourable pre-draft mention.
Boom recruit Patrick Dangerfield may have just shaded skipper Joel Selwood for best afield honours as Geelong’s biggest names turned it on in a 69-point victory over the Brisbane Lions at Simonds Stadium.
The expectations surrounding Dangerfield since his arrival from Adelaide in the off-season have been massive.
To date, he has matched them and then some.
The statistics don’t do justice to the 26-year-old’s impact on the match, although they do hint at the all-round nature of his contribution.
Twenty-seven disposals – 17 of them contested – three goals, four tackles and a hitout is a great evening’s work in anyone’s language, coming two weeks after he was clearly best afield in the season-opening victory over Hawthorn.
Selwood led all comers with 35 disposals against the Lions and Tom Hawkins booted a game-high four goals in the 18.17 (125) to 7.14 (56) victory.
Geelong had the contest well in hand when they led by 38 points at halftime, before extending the margin to 39 at three-quarter time and 69 at the final siren.
Brisbane are one of three teams – along with Carlton and Fremantle – yet to claim a win in 2016.
They did not lack for endeavour on Sunday evening, without ever threatening to get close enough to be any chance of causing an upset.
Former Cats Allen Christensen and Josh Walker both had games to forget.
Brisbane’s better players included Tom Bell and Mitch Robinson, both of whom have joined the Lions from other AFL clubs in the past couple of years.
But Robinson’s match ended on a sour note after he was reported for engaging in rough conduct against Selwood.
Geelong are travelling well at 2-1 ahead of an MCG date against Essendon on Saturday while the Lions return home to take on Gold Coast.