I know, I know! It’s way to early to talk of such things, but I figure we have the Guru’s best 22 and the AFL injury list so we can have a fair stab at the likely make-up of the teams for the opening round.
In any event, I am only looking at the statistical trivia associated with the elite top 100 players at each club and no one is likely to use this information to choose their likely winners in Round 1.
As I intend to give a small amount of history on the past players whose records are equalled or passed by the present crop, I have split my article into parts covering the games in order.
Round 1 starts on Thursday week with a battle between two long established clubs, Carlton and Richmond, but the statistical contrast between the two could not be more stark.
The struggling Carlton team will start with a maximum of four top 100 game players and no prospect of this list being expanded during the season.
Richmond will start with a remarkable nine top 100 players and the prospect of two more joining the list before season’s end.
On the AFL’s all-time top 100 lists, evergreen Blue Kade Simpson will equal former Melbourne and Adelaide player Scott Thompson on 308 games and equal 58th position.
Thompson played one last game for Adelaide in 2017 and retired as the eighth greatest game player at the club.
Amongst the AFL goalscorers, Jack Riewoldt would appear certain to pass ex-Tiger Michael Roach to become outright No.4 on the Tigers’ top 100 list, and outright No.30 in the AFL.
Riewoldt will also achieve a traditional milestone when – along with Carlton’s Marc Murphy – he plays his 250th game.
At Carlton, it means Murphy will pass ‘Percy’ Jones, one of my favorite AFL characters of all time. A Tasmanian, Peter Jones played from 1966 to 1979 and certainly knew how to celebrate a goal.
Matthew Kreuzer will also move up the list, passing Phillip Pinnell, a team mate of Percy Jones who played in the 1970 Premiership and two other Grand Finals and finished his career at Melbourne, and David Glascott, who came from Thomastown in 1981 and played in three premierships for the Blues.
Kreuzer may also kick that goal that will take him to equal 100th place on the goalkicking list, level with Chris Judd and Chris Yarran. Kreuzer kicked his 89th goal in Round 14 last year against Collingwood but played only two more goalless games for the season, so the long wait continues.
The fourth member of the top 100 club, Ed Curnow, will pass the iconic Charlie Davey who kicked six goals in his first game in 1927 but played mainly as a ruckman and represented Victoria on 17 occasions.
He was appointed captain of the club in 1935, but had to retire in 1937 due to a persistent knee injury at the age of 27.
Curnow, if he plays against Richmond, will move to 144 games and join Davey’s replacement as captain, Ansell Clarke on that number. Clarke had joined the Blues two years after Davey.