Essendon’s Round 1 performance was one of the hardest to read of any club, making them a tough team to get a read on ahead of the AFL’s June 11 restart.
In Part 1 of this article, I discussed the likely impact on the AFL top 100 elite in season 2020.
I would now like to zone in on the individual clubs and discuss likely changes to the membership of the top 100 at each team.
The top 100 game-players is much easier to predict as only one game can be played each time a player is picked to play, whereas the amount of goals a player can achieve in one game can vary from zero to ten or more.
Obviously a mountain of goals in a season can result in a rapid rise to top 100 status whereas the number of games played can never be more than 26 in a season, and only then if the player plays in 22 home-and-away games and four finals, a feat achieved by very few in a season.
On this basis, there will be no change in the members of Geelong’s top 100 game-players and very little chance of a change in Richmond’s top 100 as Kane Lambert would need to play 26 games to make the list.
At Carlton, Collingwood, Hawthorn and North Melbourne, only one player can play enough games to make the list.
Levi Casboult – who has yet to sign a contract to continue with Carlton next year – needs to play ten games to draw level with Percy Dakin, Alex Marcou and Adrian Hickmott in 99th position. Brodie Grundy needs to play 14 games to draw level with James Clement and Ray Shaw.
Both these achievements would not result in any of those players losing their place in the club’s top 100 in 2020, but rather they would drop to equal 100th on the list and be at danger of losing their place in 2021.
At Hawthorn, however, the recently retired Ryan Schoenmakers – who did not play a game in 2019 – is level with 1960s player Ron Nalder in the 100th position and seven games to Ben McEvoy would see both players dislodged from the top 100 list.
A similar situation occurs at North Melbourne where 11 games to Luke McDonald would cause the exit of both Kevin McMahon and Darren Steele from the top 100 game-players list.
Essendon, Melbourne and Western Bulldogs all have two players with potential to make their club’s top 100 game-players list.
At Essendon, it appears very likely that Tom Bellchambers (five games) and Zack Merrett (eight games) will climb into the Bombers’ top 100 game-players of all time, but no player will be eliminated from the list as Ken Timms, Adam Ramanauskas and the recently retired Mark Baguley will slip to equal 100th on the list from their current equal 98th position.
Melbourne will probably see the departure of four top 100 game-players from the list in 2020 if Max Gawn and Jack Viney stay healthy and in form. Before the season is half over, the three occupants of the number 100 position – Glenn Lovett, Jack Collins and Garry Baker – will be replaced by Gawn and shortly after a member of the 1897 team, Charlie Young, will disappear off the Demons’ top 100 game-players list 123 years after he first made it.
Although two members of the current team at Western Bulldogs could join recent new members of the Bulldogs’ top 100 game-players list, it is no certainty that they will.
Tory Dickson has not been given a contract yet and needs six games to make the list whilst Caleb Daniel will probably fall just short of the required total as he needs to play every game and for the Bulldogs to play four finals for him to make up the 26 games he needs to become an elite player.