Who are the Suns players that should play to their optimum level in season 2021?
To be eligible for selection, a player must have played at least five games in season 2020, so there can be a reference point as far as those players who apply their talent the best at AFL level.
It appears as if all the Suns’ key players have a clean bill of health.
It was tough to leave out players like David Swallow, Sam Day and Izak Rankine, but the reality is good players are going to miss out, because there are only ten players to choose from (plus an honourable mention).
Here are the ten players (plus an honourable mention) who will stand out from the pack in season 2021 in terms of performing to their optimum level.
Honourable mention: Jack Lukosius finished equal ninth in the Suns’ best and fairest in season 2020. Coincidentally he averaged the ninth most disposals of any Suns player, with an average of 16.35 disposals per game in season 2020. He embraced the role of playing as a defender. In particular, his disposal efficiency average will need to improve as it was 70.15 per cent, the 13th highest of any Suns player. If the Suns are to reach the finals for the first time in their history then Lukosius will need to improve in season 2021.
10. Brandon Ellis featured in 16 of the 17 games that the Suns played in season 2020. He managed to finish fifth in the best and fairest in the same season. He averaged the second most disposals of any Suns player with an average disposal efficiency of 72.69 per cent, the seventh highest. He is a player that should continue to show great endeavour in season 2021.
9. Ben King kicked the equal 13th most goals of any player in the AFL in season 2020. That’s admirable, considering there were other players that played finals that kicked more goals than him, due to the fact they played more games, as they featured in the finals. In season 2021, he will be looking to improve on the 25 goals that he kicked in season 2020. If the Suns are to make the finals in season 2021, then expect Ben King to be a pivotal part of that.
8. Noah Anderson featured in every game in his first season at AFL level in season 2020. He finished second in the Rising Star award for season 2020. He proved to be an important part of the Suns’ team as he finished sixth in their best and fairest in the same season. He averaged the eighth most disposals of any Suns player with an average of 16.53 disposals per game. Expect him to improve in season 2021.
7. Lachie Weller had a reasonable season in 2020, but would like to improve in certain areas of his game. Despite playing every game in season 2020, he finished seventh in the Suns’ best and fairest. He did manage to hit the scoreboard, as he kicked the equal third most goals of any Suns player with 12 goals, which was fairly impressive. He averaged 16.88 disposals per game, which was the seventh most of any Suns player. He had an average of 2.82 tackles per game, the sixth highest of any Suns player. He will be looking to improve elements of his game in season 2021 in order for the Suns finish in the top eight and finally play finals.
6. Alex Sexton had a disappointing season in season 2020 as he was omitted in Round 11 and Round 13. Despite that, he still managed to average the second most goals of any Suns player with an average of 1.36 goals per game in 14 games. He appeared to be motivated from being omitted, judging by the last two games of the season in 2020 where he kicked three goals in each game. Expect him to improve on the season that he had in 2020 in season 2021.
5. Jarrod Witts averaged the fourth most hit-outs per game of any ruckman in the AFL with an average of 28.06 hit-outs per game. He didn’t get a rest, as he played every game that the Suns played in season 2020 and finished third in their best and fairest. He would like to get more disposals in season 2021 as he only averaged 10.06 disposals per game in season 2020. Despite that, he has done a great job as co-captain of the Suns. Without doubt, it’s a make or break year for the Suns. They will be wanting to feature in the finals and Witts’ form should play a key part of that coming to fruition in season 2021.
4. Hugh Greenwood amassed the most Brownlow Medal votes of any Suns player in season 2020, with a total of 11 votes. He featured in all 17 games that the Suns played in season 2020 and proved that the Suns made the right decision in recruiting him. He averaged the fourth most disposals of any Suns player with an average of 17.76 disposals per game. Along with that he finished fourth in the Suns’ best and fairest in season 2020 and should gain confidence from that and prove the consistency he displayed in season 2020 wasn’t an aberration, as he should have a stellar season in 2021.
3. Sam Collins had a great season in season 2020, featuring in all 17 games they played in. He was a deserved winner of the Suns’ best and fairest in season 2020. He had the highest disposal efficiency average of any Suns player with 86.88 per cent, which gives a clear indication that he used the ball well. He is the main key defender and by all reports has recovered well from ankle surgery in the off-season. He should prove to be a pivotal part of the Suns team in season 2021.
2. Touk Miller averaged the most disposals of any Suns player with an average of 20.00 disposals per game in season 2020. He finished second in their best and fairest. He featured in every game that the Suns played in season 2020. He averaged the third most disposals per game of any Suns player with 5.18 tackles per game. He should be an important part of the Suns’ midfield in season 2021.
1. Matt Rowell was a revelation in his first season of footy at AFL level.
He only featured in five games in season 2020 due to injury. In Round 5 he was injured after only accumulating two disposals. Despite that, he still managed to amass nine votes out of a possible 12 in the opening four rounds of season 2020. He still averaged the fifth most disposals of any Suns player with an average 17.40 disposals in five games, even taking into account he was injured in Round 5. He finished with a reasonable disposal efficiency with an average of 72.41 per cent, the eighth highest of any Suns player, which is a lot considering he is an inside midfielder. He also averaged the second highest tackles of any Suns player in season 2020 of 5.20 tackles per game. That stat substantiates why he was selected first on the Suns order of merit. He is willing to work hard, even defensively, which shouldn’t change in season 2021. By all reports he has had a good pre-season, which should mean he plays to his optimum level in season 2021.