The AFL official data specialists, Champion Data, have released their annual ‘Prospectus’.
Included in the reports a list of the AFL’s elite players, categorised by position and overall standing in the league. As is always the case with these things, it causes much debate.
The guidelines within which Champion Data classifies a player as elite is ‘within the top 10% of players in their position (where they play the majority of game time)’.
With the list definitely comes some shocks with the likes of Joel Selwood not included amongst the AFL’s elite midfielders as he ranks at number 12.
There are also some surprising inclusions amongst the ‘elite’ of the AFL:
- Daniel Rich has been ranked as an elite general defender in the league having been number 1 for the most combined inside 50s and rebound 50s.
- Jack Crisp is another shock inclusion as an elite general defender with his intercept possessions and pressure putting him amongst the best
- Daniel Menzel, a player who struggled to hold his place in the Geelong forward line, has been ranked 3rd for goals and kicking that elevates him to elite status
- Christian Petracca ranked elite as a mid-forward. His ability to collect contested possessions elevates him to elite status
As is the case, with the shock inclusions comes some controversial exclusions;
- Zach Merrett only ranked as above average for midfielders mostly due to his kicking efficiency below average
- It appears that the kick rating is what is costing some of the competitions best midfielders with Josh Kelly also rating as above average due a low kick rating.
- Tom Mitchell was first in the league for assisted metres gained and only failed to hit the 30 disposal mark once but couldn’t crack the elite.
Each club’s elite players is listed below:
Brodie Smith, Eddie Betts, Rory Sloane, Taylor Walker, Tom Lynch, Rory Laird
Daniel Rich, Dayne Zorko
Jeremy Howe, Scott Pendlebury, Jack Crisp
Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Michael Hurley
Patrick Dangerfield, Daniel Menzel, Gary Ablett, Sam Menegola
Tom Lynch, Aaron Hall
Jeremy Cameron, Toby Green, Zac Williams, Lachie Whitfield
Cyril Rioli, Ben McEvoy, Luke Breust
Christian Petracca, Jake Lever, Tom McDonald, Jayden Hunt
Justin Westhoff, Patrick Ryder, Chad Wingard, Charlie Dixon, Robbie Gray, Travis Boak
Shane Edwards, Alex Rance, Dustin Martin
Dan Hannebery, Josh Kennedy, Tom Papley, Dane Rampe, Lance Franklin
Elliot Yeo, Josh Kennedy, Nic Natanui, Luke Shuey, Shannon Hurn, Jeremy McGovern