It’s always fraught to project milestones to be achieved in the upcoming football season.
Most will obviously be achieved by long-serving players who are well advanced in their football careers, so the aspect of ageing needs to be added into the mix with form and fitness to come to a reasonable assessment of the number of games likely to be played by these elite top 100 players.
While the national draft and some other changes to lists can still be expected, it’s possible for any top 100 games milestones to be achieved at only the two fledgling clubs.
At the AFL level the current leading game player and oldest player in the league, Hawthorn’s Shaun Burgoyne, could move from his current seventh position to fifth on the AFL’s all-time top-100 game players list, passing along the way Simon Madden and Robert Harvey.
Gary Ablett will equal Luke Hodge in 17th position in his first game for the season and with a stellar year could be knocking on top ten come finals time.
The other seven top 100 AFL players will all move up the list and should be joined by Melbourne’s Nathan Jones as the only new entrant into this elite group.
With the sacking of top-ten player Richard Douglas, David MacKay becomes the leading current game player, and he should become top ten, passing Graham Johncock, Ben Ratten and Michael Dougherty along the way. Meanwhile, Rory Sloane, Taylor Walker and David Talia should all pass the 200-game total.
Daniel Rich is already in the top ten and with a good season could slot into No. 4 position behind three champions: Simon Black, Luke Power and Jonathan Brown.
Kade Simpson should pass John Nicholls and climb into third position on the list, but he’s too far behind the top two of Craig Bradley and Bruce Doull. Marc Murphy, currently equal No. 8 with Geoff Southby, should pass Anthony Koutoufides but may not catch Justin Madden.
Scott Pendlebury is a big chance to finish the season as Collingwood’s greatest game player. He currently sits only five games behind Gordon Coventry and 12 behind club leader Tony Shaw. Steele Sidebottom is a chance to be in the top ten by the end of the year.
There are no top-ten champions among Essendon’s current players, but David Zaharakis can be in the top 20 by season’s end and Cale Hooker should join the 200-game club.
Stephen Hill should move up one place to eighth, overtaking Paul Hasleby but David Mundy will remain No. 2 Docker game player, still well adrift of legend Matthew Pavlich.
Captain Joel Selwood should bring up his 300th game early in the season and go on to pass John ‘Sam’ Newman and Jimmy Bartel to become the third greatest game player for the Cats. Gary Ablett should bring up 250 games for Geelong.
Gold Coast Suns
Touk Miller should become a top-ten player and Jack Martin and Sean Lemmens should become 100 gamers, but Jarrod Harbrow will still be the No. 1 game player.
Greater Western Sydney Giants
Shane Mumford, Aiden Corr and Sam Reid are all potential game centurions for the Giants.
Shaun Burgoyne will complete an impressive record by becoming a top-20 game player for the Hawks while still a top-20 game player for Port Adelaide. Paul Puopolo and Ben Stratton could both become 200 gamers.