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Round 8 player ratings in the race for the AFL's MVP

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Roar Guru
14th May, 2021
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Four weeks ago, I published an update on the individual and team ratings accumulated by our band of merry men and women at Following Football.

With Round 9 just getting underway, it’s time to take another look at where things stand after eight rounds.

As I’ve said before, we use 23 sources of voting and evaluations of AFL players each week: several teams of the week, Brownlow-style voting, best-on-grounds, fantasy scoring, statistical leaders and AFLCA voting.

The wide range of data allows us to be fairer to all the positions from front to back, although five of our six MVP winners have matched the Brownlow medalist, the exception being Max Gawn over Tom Mitchell in 2018, and to plumb for roster depth as well as acknowledging the stars for being stars.

Every player who plays points in our system, but the difference between Lance Franklin kicking a bag and a medical sub coming on to be a warm body in the fourth quarter of a runaway is tremendous.

Franklin and Papley

(Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

So let’s start with the individuals this time around. Part 2 will examine the team-level numbers. Here are the top five from each team, as well as all players who are currently in the top 100 league-wide.

Also included in parentheses is where they placed league-wide after four rounds. If you want some ability to compare your team to normal, consider that if 18 teams had players evenly spread around, each team would have one player in the top 18, a second in the top 36, a third in the top 54, a fourth in the top 72, and a fifth in the top 90. An average team would have five and a half players in the top one hundred.

Adelaide
1st – Taylor Walker, 241.5 points, number two overall (was number one after Round 4).
2nd – Rory Laird, 142.5 points, number 33 (was number 16).
3rd – Ben Keays, 103 points, number 63 (was number 307).
4th – Lachie Sholl, 96 points, number 71 (was number 31).
5th – Rory Sloane, 91.5 points, number 77 (was also number 31).
6th – Paul Seedsman, 82 points, number 91 (was number 114).

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After Round 4, Reilly O’Brien was number 68 and Tom Doedee was number 89.

Brisbane
1st – Hugh McCluggage, 249 points, number one overall (was number 39 after Round 4).
2nd – Daniel Rich, 163 points, number 19 (was number 36).
3rd – Jarryd Lyons, 147.5 points, number 30 (was number 74).
4th – Charlie Cameron, 94 points, number 72 (was number 274).
5th – Harris Andrews, 93 points, number 73 (was number 106).

After Round 4, Eric Hipwood was number 89. It’s easy to see this team’s had a good month, but McCluggage may have had the very best month.

Carlton
1st – Sam Walsh, 202.5 points, number ten overall (was number 28 after Round 4).
2nd – Harry McKay, 174 points, number 14 (was number 17).
3rd – Jacob Weitering, 115.5 points, number 52 (was number 114).
4th – Liam Jones, 106 points, number 61 (was number 23).
5th – Adam Saad, 87.5 points, number 85 (was number 139).
6th – Ed Curnow, 86.5 points, number 87 (was number 66).
7th – Patrick Cripps, 85 points, number 89 (was number 45).
8th – Sam Docherty, 78.5 points, number 99 (was number 108).

After Round 4, Darcy Fogerty was number 96. I don’t know which is more surprising: Carlton having eight top 100 players or Cripps only being seventh on the team.

Patrick Cripps

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Collingwood
1st – Darcy Moore, 149.5 points, number 27 overall (was number 20 after Round 4).
2nd – Brodie Grundy, 143 points, number 32 (was number 26).
3rd – Jordan de Goey, 87 points, number 86 (was number 101).
4th – Jack Crisp, 81 points, number 92 (was number 85).
5th – Scott Pendlebury, 73 points, number 114 (was number 98).

After Round 4, Taylor Adams was number 54 and Jeremy Howe was number 75.

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Essendon
1st – Zach Merrett, 170.5 points, number 16 overall (was number 21 after Round 4).
2nd – Darcy Parish, 167.5 points, number 17 (was number 40).
3rd – Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, 117 points, number 50 (was number 121).
4th – Jordan Ridley, 116 points, number 51 (was number ten).
5th – Cale Hooker, 80.5 points, number 95 (was number 96).
6th – Jake Stringer, 79.5 points, number 96 (was number 78).

I don’t know why I find the pairings so appealing: first/second, third/fourth, and fifth/sixth, all within one place of each other.

Fremantle
1st – David Mundy, 227.5 points, number five overall (was number 15 after Round 4, but reached number three after Round 6).
2nd – Andrew Brayshaw, 134 points, number 37 (was also number 37).
3rd – Nat Fyfe, 118.5 points, number 49 (was number 59).
4th – Sean Darcy, 89.5 points, number 80 (was number 78).
5th – Luke Ryan, 77 points, number 105 (was number 128).

After four rounds, Adam Cerra was number 80.

Geelong
1st – Cam Guthrie, 187.5 points, number 11 overall (was number 14 after Round 4).
2nd – Tom Stewart, 152 points, number 24 (was number 63).
3rd – Mitch Duncan, 136 points, number 36 (was number 132).
4th – Joel Selwood, 122 points, number 47 (was number 29).
5th – Tom Hawkins, 101.5 points, number 65 (was number 106).
6th – Jeremy Cameron, 81 points, number 92 (was number 516, along with all others without a game yet).

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(Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Gold Coast
1st – Touk Miller, 172.5 points, number 15 overall (was number 61 after Round 4).
2nd – Hugh Greenwood, 125.5 points, number 44 (was number 49).
3rd – Noah Anderson, 109.5 points, number 56 (was number 43).
4th – Brandon Ellis, 105.5 points, number 62 (was number 98).
5th – Jack Bowes, 93 points, number 73 (was number 41).
6th – Ben King, 83 points, number 90 (was number 155).

So the Suns have more top 100 players than Brisbane, Collingwood, Essendon, Freo, and the Giants.

Greater Western Sydney
1st – Toby Greene, 205.5 points, number eight overall (was number three after Round 4).
2nd – Tim Taranto, 143.5 points, number 31 (was number 72).
3rd – Josh Kelly, 129.5 points, number 40 (was number 142).
4th – Jake Hopper, 97 points, number 68 (was number 89).
5th – Callan Ward, 75.5 points, number 108 (was number 64).

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Hawthorn
1st – Tom Mitchell, 153.5 points, number 23 overall (was number ten after Round 4).
2nd – Jaegar O’Meara, 111 points, number 55 (was number 68).
3rd – Changkuoth Jiath, 90.5 points, number 79 (was number 48).
4th – Jacob Koschitzke, 63.5 points, number 132 (was number 349).
5th – Blake Hardwick, 62 points, number 137 (was number 103).

They had three players in the top 100 in Round 4 and the same three are there today.

Melbourne
1st – Clayton Oliver, 227 points, number six overall (was number six then too).
2nd – Max Gawn, 216 points, number seven (was number seven then too – I see a pattern).
3rd – Christian Petracca, 203.5 points, number nine (was number eight – nope).
4th – Christian Salem, 161.5 points, number 21 (was number 71).
5th – Steven May, 121.5 points, number 48 (was number 55).
6th – Ed Langdon, 112 points, number 54 (was number 57).
7th – Bayley Fritsch, 108 points, number 58 (was number 92).
8th – Tom McDonald, 106.5 points, number 60 (was number 119).
9th – Jake Lever, 97.5 points, number 67 (was number 58).
10th – Kysaiah Pickett, 88 points, number 83 (was number 72).

A month ago, there were nine Swans and nine Eagles in the top 100, but no team has had ten occupying the heights of the top hundred players in the league as the Demons presently do.

Clayton Oliver of the Demons kicks the ball

(Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

North Melbourne
1st – Ben Cunnington, 102 points, number 64 overall (was number 349 after Round 4).
2nd – Jack Ziebell, 98 points, number 66 (was number 111).
3rd – Aaron Hall, 79 points, number 97 (was number 142).
4th – Jaidyn Stephenson, 72.5 points, number 116 (was number 80).
5th – Ben McKay, 50 points, number 170 (was number 201).

Four rounds ago, it took until spot number 192 to reach our fifth Kangaroo. Now, we’ve gotten there in the top 170. And last time, only one player was in the top hundred. Now there are three. That’s progress.

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Port Adelaide
1st – Travis Boak, 182.5 points, number 13 overall (was number four after Round 4).
2nd – Ollie Wines, 167.5 points, number 17 (was number 35).
3rd – Karl Amon, 133.5 points, number 38 (was number 167).
4th – Dan Houston, 108 points, number 58 (was number 34).
5th – Zak Butters, 93 points, number 73 (was number 18 with the same number of points).
6th – Orazio Fantasia, 92.5 points, number 76 (was number 34).
7th – Aliir Aliir, 91 points, number 78 (was number 68).

Port’s tied with the Dogs for the third most players in the top 100 behind Melbourne and Carlton.

Richmond
1st – Dustin Martin, 151.5 points, number 26 overall (was number five after Round 4).
2nd – Shai Bolton, 149 points, number 29 (was number 132).
3rd – Jack Riewoldt, 109 points, number 57 (was number 55).
4th – Jayden Short, 88 points, number 85 (was number 49).
5th – Shane Edwards, 86.5 points, number 87 (was number 179).

Kane Lambert was number 92 after Round 4, and Jack Graham was number 100 once all the votes were in. They had five in the top 100 then, and they have five in the top 100 now. That is consistency.

Dustin Martin

(Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

St Kilda
1st – Jack Steele, 158 points, number 22 overall (was number 12 after Round 4).
2nd – Jack Billings, 124.5 points, number 45 (was number 38).
3rd – Zak Jones, 89 points, number 82 (was number 325).
4th – Tim Membrey, 81 points, number 92 (was number 41).
5th – Dougal Howard, 78.5 points, number 99 (was number 75).

Max King was number 77 after Round 4, while his twin bro Ben was out of the top 100. Today, it’s the other way around. Taking bets as to where they’ll be positioned after Round 12.

Sydney
1st – Callum Mills, 185 points, number 12 overall (was number nine after Round 4).
2nd – Luke Parker, 129.5 points, number 40 (was number 13).
3rd – Tom Hickey, 128 points, number 42 (was number 52).
4th – Errol Gulden, 97 points, number 68 (was number 22 with 88 points).
5th – Lance Franklin, 79 points, number 97 (was number 218 with 17 points).

After Round 4, Isaac Heeney was number 44, Sam Wicks was number 47, Tom Papley number 65, Chad Warner was number 80, and Braeden Campbell was number 85. Can you tell how the Swans’ fortunes have shifted since Round 4?

West Coast
1st – Andrew Gaff, 163 points, number 19 overall (was number 67 after Round 4).
2nd – Tim Kelly, 149.5 points, number 27 (was number 53).
3rd – Jack Darling, 132 points, number 39 (was number 92).
4th – Nic Naitanui, 127.5 points, number 43 (was number 27).
5th – Dom Sheed, 123.5 points, number 46 (was number 80).
6th – Oscar Allen, 115.5 points, number 52 (was number 51).

I’m fascinated by how the Eagles have nobody in the top 18 – but six guys in the top 54. That is balance. After Round 4, Shannon Hurn was number 62 and Luke Shuey was number 88. Tom Barrass was tied for number 92.

Tim Kelly of the Eagles celebrates a goal

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Western Bulldogs
1st – Marcus Bontempelli, 236 points, number three overall (was number 24 after Round 4).
2nd – Jack Macrae, 233 points, number four (was number two – is still top four and yet second on his own team).
3rd – Adam Treloar, 152 points, number 24 (was number 25).
4th – Josh Bruce, 141.5 points, number 34 (was number 18).
5th – Josh Dunkley, 141 points, number 35 (was number 30).
6th – Tom Liberatore, 97 points, number 68 (was number 150).
7th – Bailey Smith, 89.5 points, number 80 (was number 33).

I am surprised to see five players in the top 35 overall but only two more in the rest of the top 100. Tim English was number 46 after Round 4, and Aaron Naughton was number 80.

Overall, Melbourne has the most top ten (three) and top 100 (ten) players, with Carlton next with eight top 100 players. Third, with seven each, are the Power and the Bulldogs. Tied for fifth are Adelaide, Essendon, Geelong, West Coast, and most surprisingly the Gold Coast, with six top 100 players each.

On the other end of the scale, Hawthorn and North Melbourne are the least frequent users of top 100 homes for their players with three each, while the Giants, Saints, Dockers and Magpies are next with just four players each on the list.

In Part 2, I’ll take a look at many different statistical ways to compare the 18 teams in the comp and use those to make some forecasts about the next eight weeks or more.

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