One of the pleasures for us stats nuts is to watch the progress of players up through the games-played ranks and goals-kicked ranks.
We love it when champions defy injury and form slumps to join the elite top 100 game players or goal scorers at their club or, for the real elite, the AFL itself.
This season the AFL has nine of its all-time top 100 game players still playing. Injuries have taken their toll on three of the nine this week, so we only have the enjoyment of watching six of the nine display their skills.
Of these six, Luke Hodge is the most senior, and his game in the drubbing the Lions received at the hands of Essendon took him into the top 30 AFL game players, sharing that position with two of the greatest ruckmen of all time, John Nicholls (Carlton) and Barry Round (Western Bulldogs and Sydney).
Gary Ablett (Geelong and Gold Coast) sits three games behind him and joined Ian Nankervis (Geelong), Jude Bolton (Sydney) and Jason Akermanis (Brisbane and Western Bulldogs) in 33rd position.
Kade Simpson, who is in danger of earning the unwanted record of most AFL losses, continued his stellar career in Sunday’s game against the Gold Coast Suns and joined North Melbourne’s Glenn Archer and Adelaide’s Ben Hart on 311 games.
Meanwhile, Eddie Betts (Adelaide and Carlton) remained in 86th position on the list but moved to within one game of the magical 300-game total, and David Mundy (Fremantle) remained one game further back.
Lance Franklin played game 294 on Thursday night and drew level with legendary Richmond full forward Jack Titus and North Melbourne’s dual Brownlow medallist Keith Greig.
Only seven present-day players can claim AFL top 100 goal-scorer status, but one of those, Jack Riewoldt, is out injured. The remaining six are led by all-time No. 8 AFL goal kicker Buddy Franklin, who is now only two goals away from sharing seventh place with former Bombers ace Matthew Lloyd.
Josh Kennedy (West Coast Eagles and Carlton), Eddie Betts (Adelaide and Carlton) and Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn) continue their battle to be first to join or pass Norm Smith and claim AFL top 40 status.
The two Geelong players who complete the list of current-day top 100 goal scorers were both multiple goal scorers in Geelong’s surprise loss at the Cattery to Greater Western Sydney on Saturday, but neither Tom Hawkins (three goals) nor Gary Ablett (two goals) improved their top 100 standing.
Hawkins remains in 60th position, four goals away from current Sydney coach John Longmire. Gary Ablett remains in 94th position, four goals away from former Demon Fred Fanning, who holds the record for the most number of goals in a game (18).
Meanwhile, the likely contenders for a top 100 goal-kicking spot by the end of the 2019 season are Taylor Walker (Adelaide), Luke Breust (Hawthorn) and Jack Gunston (Hawthorn), and they have been joined on the possibles list by Jeremy Cameron, the gun Greater Western Sydney full forward who is taking all before him and leads the 2019 goal-kicking charts.