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The Roar



Forget the Brownlow – these are my top ten players of 2021

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Roar Rookie
20th September, 2021

The loss of Mike Sheahan’s legendary top 50 list has left a void in how to rank the best players. Enter yours truly.

My list will give insight into who has performed brilliantly this year and predict how they could go in 2022.

10. Sam Walsh (Carlton Blues)
Every round Walsh has lived up to his No. 1 draft pick status, and he’s still playing as though he is in a dream. He has kicked many amazing goals this year and should surely win Carlton’s best and fairest.

9. Toby Greene (Greater Western Sydney Giants)
Setting aside the brutal suspension, Greene has played so well this year, drawing comparisons to Collingwood’s Scott Pendlebury in the way that he can waltz through the opposition without being tackled. He has also loved to drift forward, and he has done so, averaging 2.5 goals a game.

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8. Luke Parker (Sydney Swans)
Luke Parker has been a key player for Sydney this year, helping them knock over some really good teams by becoming a great midfielder for the red and white.

7. Joe Daniher (Brisbane Lions)
After a knee injury ruled him out of playing for the better part of two years, he has exploded into some great form. Consistently giving defenders headaches, he averaged 1.9 goals per game. The Coleman Medal would be in his sights next season.

6. Christian Petracca (Melbourne Demons)
Demons supporters have loved this bloke speeding out of their midfield every single week this year. He has provided the Dees with great run and carry, as he tends to back himself and run for 20 or so metres before spearing the ball into an ominous forward line. He may get even better in the 2022 side.

Christian Petracca of the Demons celebrates a goal

(Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

5. Darcy Parish (Essendon Bombers)
After a breakout season, Essendon’s Darcy Parish earns himself a top-five finish. He has led the Bombers throughout this year to help them become a formidable team, feeding off of Nick Hind and Sam Draper’s ruckwork to set up goals for Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Devon Smith. Expect Parish to contest the Brownlow again next year.

4. Jack Steele (St Kilda Saints)
An already dangerous Jack Steele has elevated himself to the next level this year. After coming to St Kilda from the Giants, he has been a real weapon for the Saints, being their main man for clearances. He started the Brownlow in a slowish way but after round 12 began polling well.


3. Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs)
The Bont was one of the frontrunners for this year’s Brownlow, and he definitely deserved it. He has been in two separate Bulldogs grand final teams, and it could be two premiership teams if Melbourne don’t show up next Sunday. He has played very consistently this year apart from a minor slump in form late in the season.

2. Clayton Oliver (Melbourne Demons)
Clayton Oliver is an incredible player with very good contested ball skills. He feeds off of Max Gawn’s ruckwork and Petracca’s roving exceptionally well. The only reason he’s not first on my list is that, without him, Melbourne can still win games.

1. Ollie Wines (Port Adelaide Power)
Ollie Wines is the best player in the AFL. He is a midfield beast who can tear teams apart. He sets up goals, delivers inside 50 and kicks a few of his own. He has also not had one noticeable form slip this year, therefore being very consistent for the Power. Without him, they would have far less skill out of the middle, having to rely on Travis Boak and Sam Powell-Pepper to do what he was doing. This earns him the No. 1 slot.