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Who needs to up their game in 2021?

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Roar Guru
3rd January, 2021
1365 Reads

This team has been formulated with players that need to up their game in 2021.

Check out what the team would look like, comprising only one player from the 18 clubs.

For this exercise there’s one captain: Angus Brayshaw of the Melbourne Demons, who would benefit from being given the captaincy. It would make him a better player, and hopefully he can recapture his 2018 this year.

Team of players who need to up their game in 2021: starting 18

Adelaide Crows: Daniel Talia
Brisbane Lions: Grant Birchall
Carlton Blues: Michael Gibbons
Collingwood Magpies: Brodie Grundy
Essendon Bombers: Jake Stringer
Fremantle Dockers: Rory Lobb
Geelong Cats: Shaun Higgins
Gold Coast Suns: Jack Lukosius
Greater Western Sydney Giants: Stephen Coniglio
Hawthorn Hawks: Sam Frost
Melbourne Demons: Angus Brayshaw (captain)
North Melbourne Kangaroos: Jared Polec
Port Adelaide Power: Hamish Hartlett
Richmond Tigers: Daniel Rioli
St Kilda Saints: Tim Membrey
Sydney Swans: Oliver Florent
West Coast Eagles: Luke Shuey
Western Bulldogs: Hayden Crozier

B: Grant Birchall (Brisbane Lions), Daniel Talia (Adelaide Crows), Sam Frost (Hawthorn Hawks)
HB: Hayden Crozier (Western Bulldogs), Jack Lukosius (Gold Coast Suns), Hamish Hartlett (Port Adelaide Power)
C: Jared Polec (North Melbourne Kangaroos), Angus Brayshaw (Melbourne Demons), Oliver Florent (Sydney Swans)
HF: Jake Stringer (Essendon Bombers), Tim Membrey (St Kilda Saints), Shaun Higgins (Geelong Cats)
FF: Daniel Rioli (Richmond Tigers), Rory Lobb (Fremantle Dockers), Michael Gibbons (Carlton Blues)
Foll: Brodie Grundy (Collingwood Magpies), Stephen Coniglio (Greater Western Sydney Giants), Luke Shuey (West Coast Eagles)


Grant Birchall had an average season in 2020 and will be looking to improve on it when 2021 is up and running. He needs to substantiate Brisbane’s decision to recruit him.

Daniel Talia has to prove that he should be in the Adelaide Crows best 22 in 2021. In order to this he needs to play at an optimum level in 2021.

Sam Frost will want to improve on his eighth-place finish in the Hawthorn Hawks best and fairest for 2020. In 2021 the Hawks will need him to improve with James Sicily suffering an injury. Despite that, he should benefit from the recruitment of Kyle Hartigan from the Adelaide Crows, who will most probably play full back.

Hayden Crozier should finish in the top ten of the Western Bulldogs best and fairest in 2021. He failed to do so in 2020. He will need to improve in 2021 to justify his spot in the team. If he does so, the Bulldogs will benefit. There’s plenty of upside in him.

Jack Lukosius of the Gold Coast Suns finished equal ninth in their best and fairest in 2020. He did manage to have a bit of consistency, but not enough. In 2021 he will need to improve for the Suns.

Hamish Hartlett of the Port Adelaide Power has plenty of work to do if he is to get better. Despite playing every game in 2020 he failed to finish in the top ten of the Power best and fairest. If he performs at the level he is capable of, there should be no doubt that he finishes in the top ten in the Power best and fairest.

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Jared Polec of the North Melbourne Kangaroos needs to be at his best if his side are to improve as a team in 2021. Although he missed four games, he should have finished in the top ten of the Kangaroos best and fairest. Hopefully he plays to his full potential in 2021.

Angus Brayshaw of the Melbourne Demons has a make-or-break season ahead of him in 2021. He must recapture the form that got him to third in the Brownlow Medal Medal count in 2018. He was such a pivotal part of the Demons making it to the preliminary finals in that season. He has age on his side, as he is only 24. It’s now or never for him and the Demons.

Oliver Florent finished tenth in the Sydney Swans best and fairest in 2020. That’s despite the fact that he played every game and averaged the sixth most disposals of any Swans player. His possible improvement is only one aspect of the Sydney team that could do with rectifying.

Angus Brayshaw of the Demons kicks on goal

Angus Brayshaw (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Jake Stringer should be considered a matchwinner. The Essendon Bombers won four of ten games he played in during 2020. Despite being hampered by injuries, he will want to improve. He kicked five goals in the six losses that he was a part of as opposed to the nine goals he kicked in the four games the Bombers won with him in the team. He could almost be thought of as a bit of a barometer in 2021 based on his goal kicking stats of 2020, but he needs to be more consistent.


Tim Membrey averaged 1.11 goals per game in 18 matches in 2020. He needs to have a better season in 2021 as he should be aiming to at least finish in top ten of the Saints best and fairest.

Shaun Higgins, now of the Geelong Cats, would be disappointed that he finished eighth in the North Melbourne Kangaroos best and fairest. He was recruited by the Cats for a reason. He has the potential to help them improve and prove he is still a quality player in 2021.

Tim Membrey

Tim Membrey (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Daniel Rioli needs to improve on his consistency that he displayed in 2020. He averaged only 0.67 goals per game in 18 matches that season. That sums it up. He is capable of being better in 2021. Hopefully the talent he possesses comes to the fore and he kicks more goals.

Rory Lobb averaged just 0.59 goals a game in 2020. He is a forward/second ruckman, so he needs to kick more goals. Despite playing every game in 2020 he failed to finish in the top ten.

Michael Gibbons of the Carlton Blues needs to justify his spot in the team based on his form in 2020. He averaged just 0.73 goals per game in 15 matches. He is capable of kicking many more goals and will need to do so in 2021.

Daniel Rioli

Daniel Rioli (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Brodie Grundy finished equal seventh in the Magpies best and fairest in 2020. He needs to improve. Despite featuring in every game, his performance wasn’t up to the standard that he is capable of playing. Hopefully that occurs in 2021.


Stephen Coniglio of Greater Western Sydney finished tenth in the Giants best and fairest count in 2020. That’s despite the fact he missed only one game and averaged the third most disposals of any GWS player in that season.

Luke Shuey played 13 of 18 matches in 2020. He did have a slightly injury-interrupted season, but he needs to improve purely from a performance perspective, as he should do in 2021.