AFL 9 months ago

Alex Docherty's Top 50 AFL Players Pre-2017 Part 4: 20-11

  • Alex Docherty's Top 50 AFL Players Pre-2017 Part 4: 20-11

    PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08: Matthew Boyd of the Bulldogs celebrates winning the Second Elimination Final match between the West Coast Eagles and the Western Bulldogs at Domain Stadium on September 8, 2016 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

With the another AFL premiership season almost upon us, I'd thought I'd bring back the ever-so controversial Top 50 AFL players today on Bulldogs Centre. I loved doing it and it recieved a lot of feedback too, some positive, some negative. That is the beauty of putting together a top 50.

Like there was last year when I did two sets of top 50s - one pre-season and one post-season, I found it so hard to settle on a top 50, but I eventually did, with many apologies to players from every club. 

For those wondering what I based the top 50 on, I've blended together past successes, along with 2016 form and projected 2017 form. There might be some bias here and there for some players, but I've tried to keep it as unbias as possible.

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In case you've missed any of the three parts prior to today, here are players 50-21:

50. Tim Membrey (St. Kilda)
49. Dale Morris (Western Bulldogs)
48. Jack Viney (Melbourne)
47. Easton Wood (Western Bulldogs)
46. Dayne Zorko (Brisbane Lions)
45. Zach Merrett (Essendon)
44. Sam Docherty (Carlton)
43. Jeremy Cameron (GWS)
42. Jack Ziebell (North Melbourne)
41. Patrick Cripps (Carlton)
40. Andrew Gaff (West Coast)
39. Luke Dahlhaus (Western Bulldogs)
38. Dayne Beams (Brisbane Lions)
37. Callan Ward (GWS)
36. Luke Shuey (West Coast)
35. Dyson Heppell (Essendon)
34. Robert Murphy (Western Bulldogs)
33. Rory Laird (Adelaide)
32. Michael Hurley (Essendon)
31. Dylan Shiel (GWS) 
30. Daniel Talia (Adelaide)
29. Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne)
28. Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn)
27. Cyril Rioli (Hawthorn)
26. Toby Greene (GWS)
25. Jack Steven (St. Kilda)
24. Heath Shaw (GWS)
23. Jeremy McGovern (West Coast)
22. Lachie Neale (Fremantle)
21. Dustin Martin (Richmond)

For explanations click below for the following parts:

Part One: 50-41
Part Two: 40-31
Part Three: 30-21

So without further ado, here is the fourth part of the five-part series as we go through positions 20-11. As always there are some players very stiff not to crack the top 10. Tomorrow will be the top 10 reveal.

20. Adam Treloar - Collingwood
Career Games: 101
Career Goals: 61

Came to Pies at the end of 2015 from Greater Western Sydney and exceeded what the club expected from him, and then some. Treloar averaged a career-high 30.5 disposals a game – fifth in the AFL in disposals – across all 22 games for the Pies to finish 2nd in Collingwood's best and fairest count and finished equal fifth in the Brownlow votes. At 24 years of age, he's already one of the AFL's elite ball-winners with his ability to win both contested and uncontested possessions well documented.

19. Matthew Boyd - Western Bulldogs
Career Games: 282
Career Goals: 87

Since Luke Beveridge took over the Western Bulldogs as head coach, Matthew Boyd's move from the midfield to half-back has proven to be a revelation. Over the past two seasons, Boyd has averaged 27 disposals and five rebound 50s a game, with his kicking a noticeable improvement as opposed to when he was a ball magnet in the midfield, but his hardness towards the ball hasn't changed a bit. His inclusion in the All-Australian team verified how important he was in defence last year when captain Robert Murphy went down with his knee injury early on.

18. Dan Hannebery – Sydney
Career Games: 170
Career Goals: 82

One of three Sydney midfielders that consistently put in unbelievable seasons. In 2016, Hannebery didn't miss a game and averaged over 30 disposals a game for the second-straight year, which included 17 games in which he recorded 30 disposals or more. A lot of people undermine Hannebery's ability to win the ball on the wings because of how tough he is in the stoppages. Is considered one of the game's more complete on-ballers. 

17. Sam Mitchell - West Coast
Career Games: 307
Career Goals: 67


A champion on-baller for Hawthorn for 15 seasons, Mitchell was traded to West Coast for essentially a box of cookies just days after winning his fifth best and fairest for Hawthorn. In 2016, Mitchell averaged just under 30 disposals a game and in a West Coast midfield that isn't short on talent, I have a feeling that he will continue to put in elite numbers this season. With the way he's been playing, I wouldn't blame you if you didn't know he's 34 years of age right now, he's just a super-smart footballer with great skills and is the ultimate professional.

16. Robbie Gray - Port Adelaide
Career Games: 155
Career Goals: 211

Robbie Gray is currently the three-time reigning best and fairest winner at Port Adelaide and there's a reason why this is so. As well as averaging elite numbers as a midfielder (26 disposals, six clearances, five tackles and four inside 50s per game), he can push down forward and pose as a serious threat down forward, kicking 25 goals last season. Gray's creativity in any part of the ground is a joy to watch and when he's at his best, Port Adelaide often find themselves on the winning end.

15. Gary Ablett - Gold Coast
Career Games: 288
Career Goals: 378

Ablett's form over the last three years have been hampered by injuries ranging from shoulders to knees, which is why he's found himself outside of the top 10. The two-time Brownlow medallist was travelling along nicely last year before a shoulder injury ended his year. Expressed a desire to go back home to Geelong but instead found himself giving up the captaincy ahead of the 2017 season, it's not a bad thing, as this should allow Ablett to focus solely on his footy and with any luck, will return to some blistering form this year, but the time on his career is running out.

14. Rory Sloane – Adelaide
Career Games: 141
Career Goals: 86

A tenacious on-baller who came of age last year following the departure of good mate Patrick Dangerfield. Rory Sloane averaged career-high numbers in disposals (25 per game), tackles (seven per game) and clearances (five per game) to earn his first All-Australian selection in his career and win his second best and fairest award at Adelaide. I know a lot of players underrate Sloane's abilities because he's not playing for a Victorian club, but his influence in the Adelaide engine room will be one of the keys to Adelaide's successes this season.

13. Max Gawn – Melbourne
Career Games: 61
Career Goals: 34

In the span of 12 months, Gawn has emerged to become one of the game's best ruckmen today and it looks like he's got more scope for improvement. In 2016 he led the league in hitouts, averaging 42 a game as well as averaging a career-high 15 disposals, four tackles and three clearances a game and also kicked 16 goals last season, these improving numbers lead to Gawn being named an All-Australian for the first time in his career. If he can improve on these numbers this year, it'll be hard for anyone to topple him as today's number one ruckman.


12. Joel Selwood – Geelong
Career Games: 228
Career Goals: 138

Selwood has been the linchpin of Geelong's midfield over the past decade, and was one of a few unlucky not to crack the top 10. Last year, he had the pleasure of forming perhaps one of the most lethal midfield pairings we've seen in recent memory. Selwood averaged 28 disposals, six clearances, six tackles and five inside 50s per game last year to be named All-Australian for the fifth time in his career and the third time he was named captain of the AA team. Despite his haters, he's considered one of the toughest players going around.

11. Tom Lynch - Gold Coast Suns
Career Games: 102
Career Goals: 190


It's impressive to think that Tom Lynch kicked 66 goals, finished equal-third in the Coleman medal, rightfully earned a spot in the All-Australian team and won the last two club best and fairest awards off a Gold Coast team that has often been decimated by injury. It's scary to think what will become of him when the Suns have a fully-fit roster. Lynch has only missed two games in the past three seasons, making him a durable player and he's amongst one of the game's best contested markers today, averaging just under three contested marks per game. Named one of the Gold Coast's co-captains ahead of this season, he should continue to firm as one of the game's top key forwards. 

Pictures Courtesy Of Getty Images

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