The fifth part of this six-part series features the five players that the Port Adelaide Power, Richmond Tigers and St Kilda Saints can least afford to lose in season 2021 plus an honourable mention.
Moving onto the fifth combined team of 2020, we look at the Power, Tigers and Saints.
The fact that the Richmond Tigers won the premiership without one of their most important players due to injury in Nick Vlastuin for most of the game, coupled with the fact that the Geelong Cats had a handy halftime lead, showcased that Damien Hardwick was the best coach in season 2020.
Port Adelaide Power
Travis Boak, Zak Butters, Darcy Byrne-Jones, Charlie Dixon, Tom Jonas, Tom Rockliff
Noah Balta, Bachar Houli, Kane Lambert, Dustin Martin, Jayden Short, Nick Vlastuin
St Kilda Saints
Jack Billings, Dan Butler, Zak Jones, Rowan Marshall, Paddy Ryder, Jack Steele
B: Noah Balta (Richmond Tigers), Tom Jonas (Port Adelaide Power), Bachar Houli (Richmond Tigers, co-captain)
HB: Jayden Short (Richmond Tigers), Nick Vlastuin (Richmond Tigers), Darcy Byrne-Jones (Port Adelaide Power)
C: Jack Billings (St Kilda Saints, co-Captain), Tom Rockliff (Port Adelaide Power), Zak Jones (St Kilda Saints)
HF: Zak Butters (Port Adelaide Power), Dustin Martin (Richmond Tigers), Kane Lambert (Richmond Tigers)
FF: Dan Butler (St Kilda Saints), Charlie Dixon (Port Adelaide Power, Rowan Marshall (St Kilda Saints)
Foll: Paddy Ryder (St Kilda Saints), Jack Steele (St Kilda Saints), Travis Boak (Port Adelaide Power, co-captain)
Noah Balta played every game for the Richmond Tigers from Round 5 onwards in 2020. He had a big impact on the back six and played consistently at a high level.
Tom Jonas finished third in the Port Adelaide Power’s best and fairest in 2020.
Bachar Houli’s leadership was first-class. He also played some decent footy as he averaged the fourth most disposals (including finals) of any Richmond Tigers player in 2020.
Jayden Short won the Richmond Tigers’ best and fairest in 2020 in a season where the Tigers won the premiership, which indicated how consistent he had been.
Nick Vlastuin was a pivotal part of the Richmond Tigers’ back six. He was named in the All-Australian squad of 40 and finished third in their best and fairest.
Darcy Byrne-Jones won the Port Adelaide Power’s best and fairest in 2020. He was named on the half-back flank in the All Australian 2020 team.
Jack Billings led from the front for the St Kilda Saints. He was in extremely good form earlier in 2020 and managed to play every game. He averaged the third most disposals (including finals) of any Saints player and featured in the 2020 finals series.
Tom Rockliff averaged the second most disposals of any Port Adelaide Power (including finals) in 2020. He responded in the right manner after being dropped by coach Ken Hinkley. It appeared to have motivated him to play good footy and he only missed three games for the season.
Zak Jones was one of the best recruits of any team in 2020 as he moved over from the Sydney Swans. He finished sixth in the St Kilda Saints’ best and fairest despite missing three games.
Zak Butters was one of five Port Adelaide Power players that were a part of the All-Australian squad of 40. He finished fourth in the Power’s best and fairest.
Dustin Martin would be a great centre half-forward in this combined team as he showed that he had the ability to play as a forward. He kicked 22 goals in 20 games in 2020 (including finals).
Kane Lambert was extremely underrated. He finished ninth in the Tigers’ best and fairest, which showed that he went under the radar.
Dan Butler was one of two St Kilda Saints players in the All-Australian squad of 40. He was arguably the best recruit of any team as he was traded by the Richmond Tigers.
Charlie Dixon was named at centre half-forward in the All-Australian team. He was an important part of the Port Adelaide Power and is capable of playing in the forward line.
Rowan Marshall featured in all 18 games that the St Kilda Saints played in during 2020. He finished fourth in the Saints’ best and favourite and was pivotal to them reaching the finals. He is probably most suited to being played as a second ruckman and a forward as he showed that he was mobile in 2020.
Paddy Ryder was an instrumental part of the St Kilda Saints playing finals and showed his value to the team when he was sorely missed due to injury in the semi-final against the Richmond Tigers. He formed a great ruck combination with Rowan Marshall. Ryder finished eighth in the Saints’ best and fairest despite missing four games.
Jack Steele won the St Kilda Saints’ best and fairest in 2020 was named on the interchange bench in the All-Australian team.
Travis Boak was selected in the midfield of the All-Australian team and was deservedly named vice-captain. He finished second in the Port Adelaide Power’s best and fairest. He was a great leader and a pivotal part of the team.