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The order of merit: Melbourne Demons 2021 season

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Roar Guru
28th February, 2021
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Who are the Demons 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. The Demons have some injuries to some key players, notably Ben Brown and Sam Weideman.

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: Adam Tomlinson
He is a player that has shown so much promise over the years, but has yet to deliver on the potential that he has displayed. He can play up forward on the wing or in defence. With Ben Brown and Sam Weideman out, Tomlinson could resurrect his career playing as a key forward. Whatever role he plays it’s pivotal he proves that the Demons’ decision to recruit him from the Giants was the right one.

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10. James Harmes
He is a player that only featured in 13 out of 17 games in season 2020. Despite that, he is a player that always shows endeavour. There’s no doubt that he needs to cement his spot in the Demons’ best 22 in season 2021 if he is to become a household name and reach his potential. He averaged the tenth most disposals and the 11th most tackles in season 2020. Expect him to substantiate why he deserves to be in the Demons’ best 22 for the foreseeable future by having a good season in 2021.

9. Jack Viney
He is a player that has so much hype surrounding him, but has yet to deliver on his potential. He featured in 16 of 17 games in season 2020. Despite that, he averaged the second most disposals, the third most contested possessions and the second most tackles of any Demons player. His disposal efficiency average was 27th of any Demons player with an average of 65.09 per cent, which is a key indicator that he needs to improve in season 2021 if the Demons are to play finals.

Jack Viney Melbourne Demons AFL 2017

(Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

8. Angus Brayshaw
He is a player that has promised so much in previous years, in particular season 2018 where he finished third in the Brownlow Medal. In season 2020 he had a relatively good season, despite only featuring in 14 of 17 games. Despite that he finished eighth in the best and fairest. At times he can make playing footy at the highest level look easy, almost effortlessly accumulating possessions. He needs to improve on his output in season 2021 if the Demons are a threat to finish in the top eight.

7. Jake Lever
He played reasonably well in season 2020. He featured in all 17 games for the Demons. He is a player that has so much potential. He will be a pivotal part of the Demons’ team as he will play probably play at centre half back in season 2021. It’s a make-or-break year for him in season 2021, in order for him to vindicate that it was the right decision for the Demons to recruit him from the Crows. He did have the highest disposal efficiency on average in season 2020 of any Demons player, with an average disposal efficiency of 82.04 per cent per game, which is impressive. He may not have finished in the top ten of the Demons’ best and fairest in season 2020, but expect him to prove that to be an aberration, as the Demons need him at his best if they are to finish in the finals in season 2021.

Jake Lever

(Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Media/Getty Images)

6. Ed Langdon
He is a player that had a good is season in 2020. He averaged the third most disposals of any Demons player with 20.06 disposals per game. He finished fourth in the Demons’ best and fairest. He had the most uncontested possessions at 14.41 per game, which was the 12th highest of anyone in the AFL, which meant that he worked hard to find space. He featured in all 17 of the Demons’ games. He will have to take his game to another level should the Demons make the finals in season 2021.

5. Michael Hibberd
He brings one positive influence to the Demons team. He is willing to work hard. Even though he only played 14 of 17 games he finished ninth in the Demons’ best and fairest in season 2020, and he averaged 15.29 disposals per game in season 2020, the ninth most of any Demons player in season 2020. He is a player that always endeavours to create run and generate a team playing with an attacking intent and season 2021 should be no different.

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4. Max Gawn
He was named on the interchange bench in the 2020 All Australian team despite playing just 14 of 17 games. He averaged the most hitouts of any ruckman in the AFL with an average of 32.71. He averaged the eighth most disposals of any Demons player, with an average of 15.29 disposals per game. The biggest worry with him is his durability, in season 2021, as he doesn’t have much support in the ruck.

3. Steven May
He had a good season in 2020 as he finished second in the Demons’ best and fairest. Along with being a key defender, he could create attacking forays forward as he averaged the seventh highest disposals per game of any Demons player with an average of 16.00 disposals per game. He featured in all 17 games that the Demons played in season 2020. He will need to get slightly better and aim to make the All Australian squad of 40, if the Demons are to feature in the finals in season 2021.

Steven May

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

2. Christian Petracca
He was named in the midfield in the season 2020 All Australian final 22 selections. He averaged the third most contested possessions of anyone in the AFL with an average of 12.71 possessions per game. He averaged the second most disposals of any Demons player with an average of 23.53 disposals per game. He also worked hard defensively as he averaged the third most tackles of any Demons player with an average of 3.24 tackles per game. He kicked the fourth most goals of any Demons player with 15 goals. He featured in all 17 games in season 2020. He is a naturally talented player, who should be pivotal to the Demons’ fortunes in season 2021.

1. Clayton Oliver
He was one of three Demons players that were chosen in the All Australian squad of 40 in season 2020, but the only one of the three that didn’t make the final team of 22. He averaged the most disposals of any Demons player with average of 25.00, which was the ninth highest average of any player in the AFL in season 2020. He averaged the most tackles of any Demons player with an average of 5.41 tackles per game, which was the seventh highest average of any AFL player in season 2020. Above all else he averaged the most contested possessions of any Demons player per game with an average of 13.35 contested possessions per game. He played every game in season 2020, yet he only finished fifth in the Demons’ best and fairest. He polled the second most votes of any Demons player in the Brownlow Medal when 14 votes. In season 2021, he will look to replicate the consistency in performance that he displayed in season 2020.

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