Well, we’ve ten in the books, and I’m back with the next ten. All year I’ve compiled stats and sorted through rankings to end right here, with the final 50 of the Mongrel Punt’s Player Power Rankings for 2019.
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. Listed below are the entire fortnightly rankings for you to peruse at your leisure… like you’ve got nothing better to do, right?
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
9th Rankings – published after R20
Okay, we up to speed? Good.
What are The Mongrel Punt Player Power Rankings?
I’m glad I asked. It is a statistical-based analysis that rates players based on criteria relative to the positions they play. Without going into too much detail, every week, players accumulate certain statistics. As they reach certain trigger points each week, points are awarded.
For example, defenders are assessed on disposals with a certain efficiency applied, as a lot of the ball they receive is uncontested across half back, and it is expected that they’ll hit targets. They’re also assessed on intercept possessions, one percenters/spoils, rebound 50s and metres gained. Throw in votes from the Mongrel team as well as the coaches votes and you get a pretty decent snapshot of those players who are having a big impact.
Forwards, mids and rucks all have categories of their own they’re assessed on. It means that players are being rated on the areas of the game they’re actually there to provide. It’s no use throwing things out there that are not applicable. Ben Brown is not going to get many Rebound 50s. Dane Rampe is not going to get many tackles inside attacking 50. Players are only rated in stats pertienent to their roles.
Is it perfect? No, no, no… not by a long shot.
Before I get the standard complaints, it is worth noting that this was a trial run. I will be making adjustments in the lead up to 2020 and they’ll include a higher trigger for clearances for rucks, and lower triggers for defenders in regard to both tackles and rebound 50s. they’re the areas I found I was being a little harsh and perhaps I expected a larger output from those blokes.
I thought about changing things up mid-season but for the time being, I stuck with the system I employed right from Round One to ensure integrity across all rounds.
If youre looking for ranks 50-41, you can find them right here.
Players 40-31 are here
Righto… let’s get to the next ten.
30 – BACHAR HOULI (RICHMOND)
I have to admit, I was a little surprised when Bachar Houli’s name was announced as part of the official 22 for the All-Australian team last week. He missed three games early on in the season before bouncing back to amass ten 30+ disposal outings for the season.
Tag-teaming with Nick Vlastuin, Houli was the finesse man to Vlastuin’s grunt. Like a classic power and speed combo, Vlastuin’s intercept ability, and Houli’s penchant for tucking the ball under the arm and streaking through the middle of the ground made for some damaging forward thrusts.
That’s actually a great name to use on a dating site – Damaging Forward Thrusts. Surely some would be tempted to see if they could handle it. I’ll sling it to Joe Ganino and he can report back after using it.
Anyway, back to Houli; he finished the season brilliantly, as the Tigers staked their September claims. No slouch in the intercept department, himself, Bachar notched 10+ in that category on five occasions throughout the season for a total of 4-1 in the Tigers’ favour in those outings.
29 – JAKE LLOYD (SYDNEY)
All I’ve heard since a couple of weeks out from the end of the season is how bad a player Jake Lloyd is. People have called him a seagull, a scavenger and a bottom feeder… okay, I threw that last one in there because I wanted three nasty names; not two.
But that is beside the point – Lloyd’s job in the Sydney back six is to find space and hurt teams on the rebound, and that is exactly what he did all year. Taking his impressive 2018 form and building on it, Lloyd was +3.0 in disposals this season after winning the Swans best and fairest last year. His 30.8 disposals per game, at close to 80% efficiency makes him a devastating weapon when the Swans work the ball into his hands on a turnover.
Usually when you get a defender getting that much ball across half back they tend to waste a fair bit of it chipping sideways, but Lloyd gets and goes. He was ranked first in the league for metres gained, with a wonderful 532 per game. Not only was he hitting his targets, he was hitting his long targets.
Every team has their whipping boy at different times, and it seems to me as though Lloyd is just that for Sydney fans. Many have told me they don’t rate him at all. I don’t think they completely understand that Lloyd is simply playing the role allocated to him by John Longmire.
And he is playing it bloody well!
28 – LUKE SHUEY (WEST COAST)
Hey, it’s Mr September!
His last five finals have resulted in average stats of 27 disposals, seven tackles and 5.6 clearances. Compared to his career stats, Shuey is +3.22 in disposals, +1.41 tackles and even in clearances. He is one of the few who actually elevates his game in finals. Go back and take a look at those in history to do that – there’s not a heap, and even those renowned as seasoned finals performers have stats trending the wrong way.
Aaaaanyway, Shuey is not a high stats kind of guy, so for him to notch a career-high 26.64 touches per game this season speaks to his increased workload as the Eagles’ number one midfielder. Elliot Yeo fans may argue, but I have Shuey above him. He was close to having a career-number in clearances (-0.02) but it was the way he took over games when the Eagles needed him to that stood out to me,
Round 15 against Hawthorn – wait for there to be a replay on Fox Footy over the summer. Strap yourself in as Shuey takes over the last quarter and puts the Eagles on his back. It was a stirring performance from him that day, and his stat line of 39 disposals, 20 contested touches, nine tackles, 11 clearances and 11 inside 50s was the sort of day you dream about as a kid kicking the footy around in the back yard.
He finished with double figures in clearances four times over the course of the year, and is now ready to strut his stuff on the big stage.
27 – HARRIS ANDREWS (BRISBANE)
Every week I’d sit here and be collating the stats and when it came to defenders, there’d be one bloke bobbing up every week in one certain category. I’d start to assess who the most effective spoiler was in the game and the name of Harris Andrews would inevitably appear.
Though Andrews has been able to improve his intercept ability (up to 7.3 from 6.7 in 2018), killing contests remains his number one weapon. Whether it is one-on-one contests or crashing packs, Andrews has become the pre-eminent spoiler in the league, often opting to see the ball fly out of bounds with a well-timed fist rather than remaining in play.
His selection as All-Australian full back is his first, but for mine he was well on track to take that slot last season before Jeremy Cameron crashed into him and sat him out for weeks.
Andrews’ ascension to one of the best defenders in the game bodes very well for the ongoing solidity of the Brisbane defence. He is the pillar to build around as the Lions embark on what should be a run of sustained success… or at least a run of sustained contention.
26 – TIM TARANTO (GWS)
You want to talk about underrated mids? This guy is sneaking up on everyone, and at just 21 years old, his ceiling is a very high one.
Already in the top five in the league in tackles, Taranto is developing the complete game, and has a few years before he starts peaking, which is scary as hell. The number two pick committed long term to the Giants this season, giving them certainty through their midfield, with Kelly, Coniglio and now Taranto all locked away for the time being. That would have to give Giants supporters cause for long term optimism.
His 2019 was excellent. He was +7.35 in disposals to average 28.13 for the year whilst also increasing his numbers for clearances, tackles and both contested and uncontested touches.
How far can he go? I’d suggest that 30 touches per game will be a formality next season. Another pre-season under his belt, with a bit more strength and endurance added to the Taranto package, and we could see him emerge as a real game changer for the Giants.
25 – JARROD WITTS (GOLD COAST)
The lone Sun in the rankings, Witts topped 1000 hit outs this season, making him just the fourth man to ever crack that number in an AFL season.
With 1008 hit outs for the year, Witts was able to do what no man has been able to do before him in averaging over 45 hit outs to advantage for the season. He added to his stellar ruck work with career-high numbers for disposals (+0.90) and clearances ( +0.95) to give his team good use of the ball in the middle of the ground. Witts also managed career best numbers for contested possessions as he took on a genuine leadership role within the Suns, sweeping to their 2019 best and fairest.
Whilst not a flashy player, Witts’ consistent ability to win both taps and clearances (he had 5+ on ten occasions) has been a real shot in the arm for a Gold Coast team screaming out for senior bodies.
24 – TOM STEWART (GEELONG)
With his second-straight All-Australian berth under his belt, Tom Stewart has become the complete defender at half back for the Cats.
He was +3.27 disposals per game this season, whilst increasing his rebound 50 stats by 2.84 per game, becoming the go-to man for Geelong to launch into attack from the back half. With just three years in the AFL system, how the 26 year old was able to slip through recruiters’ fingers for so long remains a mystery, but as much as Geelong owe Matthew Scarlett over the years, the discovery of Stewart adds another debt to the pile.
Stewart reads the ball beautifully, and can do the spectacular just as well as the grunt work. He set himself up for a great 2019 with a huge first four weeks, where he averaged 10.5 rebound 50s.
If there has been one knock against Stewart in recent times it’s been that his numbers have taken a dip in finals. His four finals appearances have resulted in a 1-3 record, with a 35% drop in output from him. He will be looking to rectify this on Friday night as he leads a Geelong back six against a stacked Collingwood forward line.
23 – LUKE DAHLHAUS (GEELONG)
All season, this bloke was the fly in my ointment with this system. He continually worked up the ground as a high half forward, got himself into position to be in score involvements, tackled inside 50 and despite not being a marquee name by any stretch this season, provided a reliable small forward presence whose pressure and willingness to do the hard stuff paved the way for his more high profile teammates.
Playing much closer to home than he had in years previous, Dahlhaus hit 20 touches in six of the first seven games, providing the spark for the Geelong forward half. His combination with Ablett, Gary Rohan, Tom Atkins and Gryan Miers breathed new life into what had become a somewhat stagnant.
He was one of two Cats forwards to notch over 18 touches per game this season, and the little bald fella alongside him in the forward line goes a bit of alright as well.
22 – TOM HAWKINS (GEELONG)
The All-Australian full forward, provided the Cats with the complete forward package this season, not only slotting the expected 50+goals, but also dishing out plenty of goal assists along the way as well.
Hawkins sat second in the league in direct goal assists and ranked second overall in score involvements as well. When the ball found itself in Hawkins’ mitts, good things tended to happen for the Cats.
It was the 2011 Grand Final that Hawkins stamped himself as a bonafide forward powerhouse, and the Cats will be looking for something similar if not the same from him this year. Older, wiser and more willing to distribute rather than dominate, himself, Hawkins now knows where and when to pull the trigger in terms of taking his own shots at goal, and when to pass off to those in a better position.
With a fleet of hard working small/mid-sized crumbers at his feet, Hawkins’ contested work, whilst not his strong suit, will be important to bring the ball to ground and ensure the Cats have the chance to lock the ball in.
21 – BRAD CROUCH (ADELAIDE)
His brother squeezed in toward the tail end of the 50, but the excellent overall season from Brad Crouch was always going to see him finish much higher.
Integral in keeping the Crows in the hunt for a top eight berth, Crouch ranked fifth in the league in total disposals as he collected possessions at will in the Adelaide midfield. At one stage he had a six game streak of 30+ disposal games which held him in good stead in these rankings.
With trade winds starting to blow in the city of churches, there is speculation that Crouch may be on the move. Right now he has plenty of currency, having returned from injury this year to produce career-best numbers in disposals (30.3) but his 64% disposal efficiency was the worst of his career, indicating that he was having to win a lot of his own ball at stoppages and in contested situations.
If you were the Crows, would you try to move him? There were only nine players in the game who averaged 30+ touches this season, and the Crows have one in Crouch. At his best, his brother matches those numbers. Do you break up the Beatles? Do you allow push Brad and Matt in separate directions for the “betterment of the team”?
This is going to be one helluva trade period.
And there we go – the first 30 players are now done. The big 20 up next
Got anything to add? By all means hit us up on our socials. I’m sure as the numbers trickle down to the top ten, people will be quite vocal about who is missing and who is too high. I’m open to discussing it, as always.
Once again, we’d like to thank our friends at Vinyl Media for seeing the oak tree in the acorn with The Mongrel Punt. As a foundation sponsor, we are extremely proud to be associated with you, and hope for a long, prosperous relationship.