Just three rounds to go until ten teams kiss another year goodbye and start focusing on either the end of season trip or the surgeries they’re going to need before Round One, 2020.

Last season we saw one of the more boneheaded decisions ever by an ageing superstar when Lance Franklin put off surgery until AFTER he went away for a holiday, meaning he missed the start of pre-season, the middle of pre-season and most of the end of pre-season.

So he didn’t have a pre-season, but I bet that holiday rocked! Who else will make dumb mistakes this off-season to fill column space? Will Jordan de Goey undo a season of almost staying out of trouble? Will a group of bikies show up to a pre-season training run due to… no apparent reason? I’ve got a few players I’m keeping an eye on, but in the meantime, we’re here for The Mongrel’s Player Power Rankings.

This will be the last one of the 2019 season with weightings attached. Following Round 23 we will be publishing our full list of the top performers of the season without any bonuses for more recent performances.

Before we continue, I must give a huge shout out to our friends at Vinyl Media, without whom this article would not be possible. If you need a decal or wrap on your car, some signage for your business, or a large printing job done, Vinyl Media are your guys. Tell them The Mongrel sent you, and hopefully they won’t charge you double. I think they like me…

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Now, if you’re new to this, please give yourself a refresher. We compile these rankings fortnightly. 100% weighting is given to players for points scored over the previous four rounds, with previous rounds weighted at 50%.

1st Rankings – published after R4

2nd Rankings – published after R6

3rd Rankings – published after R8

4th Rankings – published after R10

5th Rankings – published after R12

6th Rankings – published after R14

7th Rankings – published after R16

8th Rankings – published after R18

The weighting system reflects players who are both surging, and have a good body of work behind them. It allows for a lot of movement within the rankings, and can see players make huge runs based on four weeks of really good footy.

The four positions are rated differently. Defenders are assessed on things like Rebound 50s, Intercept Possessions, and One-Percenters, amongst other things. Mids for Inside 50s, clearances and both number and quality of disposals. Forwards for tackles inside 50, contested marks, and score involvements. And Rucks are scored on hit outs, clearances and sneaking forward to snag a couple of goals. Disposal efficiency is a big factor for the backs, who can accumulate easily, and also for outside mids. There are heaps more criteria used, and bonus points are awarded to those players who statistical targets in wins, but I’m not here to give it all away. This is our system, damn it!

I’m not saying this is the definitive system for ranking players – it has several flaws I’m already looking to adjust in the off-season, but this is where we’re starting, and I reckon we’re getting a great picture of who is in red hot form, who is starting to slip, and who never really got going this season.

As a side note to those wearing yellow and black glasses… I am aware that Dylan Grimes is a wonderful defender – you are preaching to the choir on his merits as a defender. However, given this is a formula using statistics across a number of criteria to rank players, Mr Grimes, or Grimey as he is called by people who’ve never met him, is one of those players who is low-stats/high impact. As such, it makes it very difficult to assess him and include him without turning this into a system that deals with opinion over cold, hard fact. As such, we can look at it this year as a rankings system that assesses those who contribute across a range of statistical categories. Next year  I will look to add a criteria based around how poorly opposing forwards fare against a particular defender, but I fear I’ll need to pay for the privilege of that.

Champion Data don’t come cheap.

So let’s start with the defenders.

 DEFENDERS

1 – BACHAR HOULI

2 – HARRIS ANDREWS

3 – JAMES SICILY

4 – DANIEL RICH

5 – RORY LAIRD

6 – JAKE LLOYD

7 – TOM STEWART

8 – SHANNON HURN

9 – DANE RAMPE

10 – ZAC WILLIAMS

ANALYSIS

Quite a leap for Bachar, who sat seventh in defenders last time around. His last two weeks have been sublime, notching 31.5 touches per game over the fortnight, including 26 uncontested touches as he ran riot this past weekend.

Harris Andrews is in here on the basis of two things, and they are two things he does exceptionally well – intercept, and spoil. Those two categories make up the most of his accumulated points.

Shannon Hurn has fallen quite a way down to eighth after missing time over the past month. His early season work holds him in good stead, but he needs a big week or two in the run home.

Zac Williams at 10 is one of the several players with points allocated in different positions. For the past couple of weeks he has been running through the GWS midfield, and as a result you will see him hit the top 50 overall higher than a couple above him in the defenders list.

WHO’S KNOCKING ON THE DOOR?

Brodie Smith, Nick Vlastuin, Mark Blicavs and Jack Crips are the contenders poised to move into the top ten, with one big performance from anyone named good enough to displace Williams given his current role in the guts.

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MIDFIELDERS

1 – JACK MACRAE

2 – ADAM TRELOAR

3 – NAT FYFE

4 – LACHIE NEALE

5 – TIM KELLY

6 – TRAVIS BOAK

7 – PATRICK CRIPPS

8 – BRAD CROUCH

9 – DUSTIN MARTIN

10 – TIM TARANTO

ANALYSIS

If we required evidence that sustained excellence is rewarded under this system, I reckon the top ten here is a great indicator. As we’ve seen players surge to make claims on high spots throughout the season, these guys have been magnificent throughout.

Macrae’s last two months have been amazing. He has not dipped below 30 touches once and has exceeded 40 twice. As great as Marcus Bontempelli has been in terms of impact, Macrae has been just as great in terms of consistency.

Many will argue that Cripps at seven is too low, but he was hurt by missing games, and tends to have one big game and quieter one to follow. As there is an emphasis on the past four weeks, this can hurt him a little.

Good to see Treloar rating so high. His first half against Gold Coast was monstrous. He really took the foot off the accelerator after half time, but had already got close to hitting statistical triggers by the end of the second quarter.

WHO’S KNOCKING ON THE DOOR?

Dion Prestia, Marcus Bontempelli, Clayton Oliver and Elliot Yeo are all just sitting marginally outside the top ten. Particularly impressive is Yeo, who rarely hits the 30-disposal trigger for points, but really racks them up in other categories, with his tackling a huge feature of his game.

FORWARDS

1 – TOM HAWKINS

2 – JEREMY CAMERON

3 – GARY ABLETT

4 – JACK DARLING

5 – TOM LYNCH (RICH)

6 – BEN BROWN

7 – CHARLIE CAMERON

8 – LUKE DAHLHAUS

9 – AARON NAUGHTON

10 – ANTHONY MCDONALD-TIPUNGWUTI

ANALYSIS

A big week in the last fortnight for Tomahawk helped him emerge from his funk, and with Jeremy Cameron missing this week (and possibly next?) with injury, the door is open not only in this race, but in the race for the Coleman Medal.

Jack Darling’s charge has been wonderful to watch. Contested marks and plenty of goals have him, along with Tom Lynch (Rich) as the form power forwards of the second half of the season.

Gary Ablett remains in third, buoyed by a very strong first half of the season, but people tend to have short memories with that kind of stuff, to the point I’ve heard people question whether he should still be in contention for the AA team. Short answer – yes he should.

WHO’S KNOCKING ON THE DOOR?

Robbie Gray, Tom Lynch (Adel), Brody Mihocek and Jeremy Finlayson are all thereabouts. Lynch is a strange one – this system is set up for him to excel, but games missed due to injury see him sit outside the top ten. He gathers disposals, marks, inside 50s and score involvements with high frequency – he just needs to stay on the park more often.

Mihocek is a warrior and continually bobs up when Collingwood need him. He has been the most consistent presence in the Magpies’ forward half this season, which is both encouraging and damning of their set up this season.

Connor Rozee is also in the mix, and could have possible cracked the top ten if not for his wayward 2.5 effort in front of goal this past weekend.

RUCKS

1 – BRODIE GRUNDY

2 – ROWAN MARSHALL

3 – MAX GAWN

4 – REILLY O’BRIEN

5 – JARROD WITTS

6 – BEN MCEVOY

7 – TODD GOLDSTEIN

8 – STEFAN MARTIN

9 – SCOTT LYCETT

10 – MATTHEW KREUZER

ANALYSIS

While Grundy is the story every fortnight, this week the headlines go to Rowan Marshall, who jumps past Max Gawn and into second overall.

I’ve been impressed with Marshall every time I’ve seen him this year. Unlike others of his age/development he simply does not concede defeat against established rucks. He plays to his advantage, goes body to body with them to make life difficult and earns his disposals and clearances the old fashioned way – he earns them.

Reilly O’Brien at fourth is the other story. Had anyone mentioned that both he and Marshall would be in the top four rucks in any system at the commencement of 2019, you would have been laughed at. Well, this is ‘only’ the Mongrel Power Rankings, but here we are.

WHO’S KNOCKING ON THE DOOR?

It’s slim pickings in the ruck after the top ten, with Shane Mumford – the clear leader in free kicks against in the league, Tom Hickey and Rhys Stanley the next best.

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THE TOP 50

(Previous ranking in parenthesis)

 50 – STEF MARTIN (36)

The forgotten ruckman in the discussion about quality big guys. Has not missed a game in 2019, and has had six clearances in each of the last two games.

 

49 – ED CURNOW (23)

Settling into his role now after a spike in numbers with a move into the midfield. Has had 30+ disposals in three of his last eight games.

 

48 – TODD GOLDSTEIN (46)

Great to hear recent reports that Goldy is looking at staying at North, particularly after a lot of talk about St Kilda and Bulldogs interest.

 

47 – MICHAEL WALTERS (50+)

Points are split between forward and mid for Walters. With mid-season match-winning performances, he should be in contention for an AA half forward slot.

 

46 – JARRYD LYONS (50+)

Really stood up in back to back games as opposition teams targeted Lachie Neale over Rounds 17-18 and had 12 tackles in Round 20, demonstrating a great defensive side to his game.

45 – TOBY GREENE (50+)

Missed a heap of games, but starting to come on now, with a move into the midfield to stem the GWS bleeding in there. Has averaged 30.25 touches over the last four games.

 

44 – ANTHONY MCDONALD-TIPUNGWUTI (21)

Up and down… the season of AMT continues to befuddle and confuse. The highs are so very high, and the lows… they’re occurring too often. Still out of contract – eek!

 

43 – ZACH MERRETT (35)

Has had 30+ disposals in three of his last four games, and provided a great combo with Dylan Shiel v Adelaide in Round 18.

 

42 – BEN MCEVOY (50+)

Continues to battle away for the Hawks, doing a bit of everything. Uncharacteristically, hasn’t hit the scoreboard often at all this season with just eight goals, and none from his last four games.

 

41 – BEN CUNNINGTON (18)

Is hurting his AA chances with recent form. Don’t believe me? Over his last five games, he’s averaging 20.0 touches per game.

 

40 – TOM STEWART (30)

Has slowed a bit from early season form – in line with Geelong’s  sudden decline, I suppose. Still managed 12 rebound 50s in Round 20.

 

39 – AARON NAUGHTON (50+)

Providing contested marking for the Dogs week in and week out at the moment. Has taken multiple contested grabs in five of his last six outings.

 

38 – LUKE DAHLHAUS (17)

Has finally started to fall away after a very consistent year. Maybe he is a bit of a barometer for the Cats? Has had 20+ touches just twice since the bye.

 

37 – LUKE SHUEY (9)

Hasn’t hit stat triggers this fortnight despite being one of the Eagles’ best v Carlton. Still standing up when it matters most.

 

36 – JAKE LLOYD (29)

Won a Swans B&F averaging 27.78 disposals in the backline. Is at 31.21 this season. Back to back best and fairest awards coming up?

 

35 – ANDREW GAFF (22)

Continues to accumulate 30+ disposals but rarely hits the stat sheet in any other area, hence his station around this mark. That said, I’ve liked seeing the Eagles use him one possession back or forward from stoppages. With time, Gaff is a killer.

 

34 – RORY LAIRD (50+)

Has improved his output recently in what would be considered a lesser season on an individual level than his 2017/18 years

 

33 – CHARLIE CAMERON (48)

Keeps bobbing up in the back end of these rankings. Has seven bags of 3+ goals this season.

 

32 – ZAC WILLIAMS (32)

Moved into the midfield by Leon Cameron, Williams has excelled. Had a career-high 32 disposals in Round 20.

 

31 – PATRICK DANGERFIELD (27)

Do you think Danger would be content with his season? I don’t. Playing a good game about one out of every three at the moment, and his kicking efficiency… well, we probably should leave it alone.

 

30 – DANIEL RICH (49)

Has quietly gone about building an AA-calibre season in the Brisbane defence. Career high in disposals in a winning team… selectors should be taking note.

 

29 – BEN BROWN (50+)

Had the best game I’ve seen him play against the Bombers in Round 17 and has been consistently good since. Has averages 3.75 goals per game over the last month.

 

28 – ELLIOT YEO (50+)

Making a late charge, and fixed up Paddy Cripps in the process. League leader in tackles with 10+ on six occasions this season.

 

27 – JARROD WITTS (26)

A complete warrior for the Suns has dominates tap work in almost every game he has played, and gets his share of clearances as well.

 

26 – MARCUS BONTEMPELLI (39)

A bit low for my liking, but understandable as he is an impact player and not an accumulator. Bounced back with 31.5 touches over the last two games after a couple of lean weeks.

 

25 – JAMES SICILY (15)

Great game v Mason Cox a few weeks back, but does so many silly things that… well, it just pisses me off, as I am a Hawthorn supporter, and I find it hard to justify his fake tough guy act.

 

24 – TOM LYNCH (RICH) (28)

I did not think we’d be talking about Lynch as a potential AA forward this season. His last couple of months have been absolutely outstanding. 3.33 goals per game over his last six outings.

 

23 – REILLY O’BRIEN (33)

Behind Rowan Marshall, he is the second biggest ruck surprise of the season, and with a new deal, he is the future of the Adelaide ruck division.

 

22 – HARRIS ANDREWS (24)

The contest killer. As mentioned above, he is in here on the sheer amount of intercepts and spoils he accumulates

 

21 – JOSH DUNKLEY (37)

Imagine he’d played as a mid all season? I wonder if the Dogs would be in a better spot on the ladder had that been the case? From Round Seven onwards, has averaged 32.30 touches per game.

 

20 – BACHAR HOULI (47)

Probably not the best defender at Tigerland, but as a rebounder, there are not many better. Seems to do as he likes across half back at times, with eight 30+ disposal outings to his name this season.

 

19 – CLAYTON OLIVER (6)

In nobody’s calculations for All-Australian apparently, despite having numbers comparable to last season, and playing in a worse-performed team… which is the argument that seems to work for Patrick Cripps right? That he does what he does in a poor team? One rule for one…

 

18 – JACK DARLING (12)

Slight drop, but has had multiple goals in each of the last six games. Ditto for contested marks as he seems to have found his timing again.

 

17 – DION PRESTIA (40)

He has been thereabouts all season in these rankings, but hits the top 20 for the first time on the back of three consecutive 30+ disposal outings.

 

16 – TIM TARANTO (16)

Has stood up in the wake of the Giants’ midfield injuries to Josh Kelly (yet again) and Stephen Coniglio. Is arguably now the best player from his draft.  Has had 10+ tackles on four occasions.

 

15 – DUSTIN MARTIN (44)

Guess who’s back… back again? Dusty has just thrown together his best three week period since his 2017 season. He has averaged 34 touches in those three weeks, which has vaulted him up the rankings.

 

14 – BRAD CROUCH (13)

Stunning season from Crouch, as Malcolm Blight does his best to sell him off to Gold Coast. This is the first time in his career he has averaged 30+ disposals per game. Genuine AA mid chance this season.

 

13 – PATRICK CRIPPS (38)

Jumps back into the top end of the rankings with one of the most complete inside mid games you’ll see in Round 19, notching the second highest number of clearances ever recorded, with 19 (Paul Salmon has 22 in a game).

 

12 – GARY ABLETT (19)

Have the old legs started to give way, or is Gaz just preparing for an all-out tilt at finals? Was really good defensively this week, with seven tackles and plenty of them inside 50.

 

11 – MAX GAWN (14)

Was really on the charge until injury bit him, climbing as high as number two a month ago. Gawn has his second mouth-watering clash against Brodie Grundy in Round 22.

 

10 – TRAVIS BOAK (7)

Where would Port Adelaide be without him this year? I don’t think it would be a nice place.

A career-high 31.8 touches per game has been one of the genuine highlights for a Power team struggling to come together as a unit on a weekly basis.

 

9 – JEREMY CAMERON (10)

Starts to dip in the rankings, then comes out, slots a bag, picks up 20 touches, and takes marks inside 50 to remind everyone that he’s still around.

Deserves the Coleman, but early season musings about a 100-goal season seem silly now, don’t they?

 

8 – TOM HAWKINS (20)

Is he the AA centre half forward? The AA full forward? It’s going to be hardtop go past Tomahawk as he not only kicks goals, he gets others involved as well.

Second in the league in goal assists, his involvement in plays is what leads to Geelong hitting the scoreboard.

 

7 – TIM KELLY (3)

A bit of a slip, but with a body of work that’s been great since early in the season, Tim Kelly continues to ride high in the rankings.

Gets clearances, inside 50s, contested touches and score involvements. Really looking forward to seeing how the off-season plays out for him

6 – ROWAN MARSHALL (8)

G’day Rowan – welcome to the elite end of the rankings. Regularly hitting 20 disposals per game, Marshall matches it with the big boys of the league, and beats plenty of them too.

Has averaged 6.8 clearances per game over the past five outings – high quality.

 

5 – LACHIE NEALE (2)

The workhorse at the Lions had a quieter couple of weeks, but his overall season has been a testament to his work ethic and ability to thrive under pressure at the coalface.

Getting the most defensive pressure on a weekly basis, Neale has still managed 30.89 touches per game as the centrepiece of the Lions midfield.

 

4 – NAT FYFE (11)

The best contested ball winner in the game? I know there are some other contenders, but it’s hard to argue against Fyfe. This season, he has always looked the most desperate in contested situations, throwing himself in with reckless abandon.

With career-high numbers in disposals and contested touches, it’s easy to see why a second Brownlow is being heavily discussed.

 

3 – ADAM TRELOAR (5)

Such consistency in the midfield for Collingwood, I would not hesitate to say that Treloar has been the only Magpie mid, in a collective that was mooted as the greatest ever, to actually improve on his 2018.

His 34 touches per game are a career-high and whilst others in the Collingwood midfield have faltered, he refuses to do the same.

 

2 – JACK MACRAE (4)

No one can hold a candle to Macrae over the last couple of months. Unlike other surging players, Macrae has maintained his momentum and continues to produce at the highest level in the league for a mid.

At 36.87 touches per game over the last eight weeks, it’s about time Macrae got some recognition.

1 – BRODIE GRUNDY (1)

And in a result that surprises absolutely no one, the man who was on top in Rankings 1-8 tops the list in Round Nine as well. Grundy continues to impress with not just ruck work, but his ability to work at ground level.

Tackles, clearances, disposals… Grundy does it all.

ANALYSIS

So, we have seen that this system really works for ruckmen that do more than just win taps, huh? With Grundy cemented at number one, and the jump of Rowan Marshall into the sixth spot, it indicates I may have been a little lenient with awarding points to big blokes who earn clearances – expect that to be a little more difficult next season.

Likewise, with defenders, I think thresholds for points will be lowered for them next season. that said, looking at Alex Rance’s 2018 stats, he would be a complete monster in this system. It will be interesting to see how he goes next season.

It’s still a little too midfield-dominant for my liking, but this has been a good lesson as to what to tweak for 2020.

With three weeks remaining in the season, the next list produced will be the complete 2019 Power Rankings with no weighting over the last four weeks. It will give us our total top 50 over the entire season, so there is plenty of room to move as we enter the home straight.

Ablett needs a big game, as do Gawn and Clayton Oliver. Their seasons are better than their seasons suggest.

Bontempelli probably deserves to be rated top ten overall in any list ever! That said, he seems to continually finish games one stat away from trigger points, which is frustrating because I want him to finish highly due to the way he plays and the impact he has.

That said, if I produce a final list and Jack Macrae sits second (it could happen!) I’ll be thrilled. He is so often not mentioned in regard to elite mids, and his last two seasons have been spectacular.

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WHO’S OUT? (PREVIOUS RANK LISTED)

DAYNE ZORKO (34)

JAEGER O’MEARA (42)

LACHIE HUNTER (41)

LINCOLN MCCARTHY (45)

MARK BLICAVS (50)

SCOTT LYCETT (43)

SHANNON HURN (25)

STEPHEN CONIGLIO (31)

Amazing to see Hurn drop out after being ranked right in the top ten earlier in the year. Injuries and a more even spread of defensive responsibilities have seen him take a holiday from our top 50.

Some other big names to drop out are Jaeger O’Meara, who has had his fair share of the ball, but tends to get a lot of his kicks under pressure – he efficiency suffers as a result.

Stephen Coniglio finally succumbs to injury in the rankings about a month after getting hurt.

Lycett’s omission didn’t help him much – thanks Ken!

WHO’S KNOCKING ON THE DOOR?

Matt Crouch, Dom Sheed, Shannon Hurn, Dayne Zorko  and Jacob Hopper all hover just outside the 50, with names like Mihocek, Robbie Gray and Dylan Grimes not far away either.

If you want to know where your favourite player ranks, hit me up and I’ll let you know.

WHICH TEAMS ARE BEST REPRESENTED?

BRISBANE – 7

GEELONG – 7

RICHMOND – 4

GWS – 4

WESTERN BULLDOGS – 4

WEST COAST – 4

COLLINGWOOD – 2

MELBOURNE – 2

PORT ADELAIDE – 2

HAWTHORN – 2

ESSENDON – 2

NORTH MELBOURNE – 2

ADELAIDE – 2

CARLTON – 2

SYDNEY – 1

FREMANTLE – 1

ST KILDA -1

GOLD COAST SUNS – 1

So there we go – another fortnight; another Mongrel Player Power Rankings. Again, big thanks go to Vinyl Media for their continued support. Without them, this column doesn’t happen.  If you could give them a like on their Facebook Page, which would be a real help for both them, and us, I’d really appreciate it.

See ya in two weeks. Stay Mongrel.