Well, we’ve got 40 in the books, and I’m back with the final 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
Players 30-21 are here
Players 20-11 are here
Righto… let’s get to the final ten.
10 – JEREMY CAMERON
The Coleman Medal winner slots comfortably into the top ten, providing enough high-scoring games along the way to maintain a positing in the mix all the way through the ranking periods. He flew out of the gates and had people speculating whether he was capable of topping the ton this season, but a few lean weeks saw him drop back to the pack and even lose the lead to Ben Brown as the end of the season loomed.
But Cameron finished in style, with a nine-goal bag to secure the Coleman and score big in the final game of the season. With a prelim final on the horizon, Jeremy Cameron is an x-factor that could tear the game apart. It’s been a long while since a key forward took over a finals game, but if anyone in the current competition can do it, Cameron is best equipped.
9 – PATRICK DANGERFIELD
Danger came home like a train, racking up big numbers over the last three weeks to surge into the top ten overall. His 34 disposal and four goal blast against the Blues reminded everyone just how potent Dangerfield is, and over the final three weeks of the season, he averaged 29.75 touches and two goals.
If Danger is within five votes of the Brownlow with three weeks remaining during the count, I reckon you could safely pencil his name in as the winner. He started the season strong, fell away slightly after the bye (reflecting the form of his team) and came rampaging home with a display of power football.
Does he have two massive games in him to roll to a flag with the Cats? I can’t wait to find out.
8 – ROWAN MARSHALL
Rowan Marshall snuck up on everyone this year. As the Saints searched high and low for a ruck for next year, Marshall basically had to club them over the head with a clipboard with his stats printed on it for them to realise that they already had within their ranks.
Marshall was one of the few big guys that were able to match it with the big two ruck s this season, and with just 23 games under his belt as I write, who knows what his ceiling is? He had 20+ disposals on eight occasions, and had 6+ clearances himself in 12 games. In short, he was a machine that hummed along so economically that many didn’t even realise he was motoring past them until it was too late. He is an aerobic beast, works tirelessly, and with 28.45 hit outs per game, was not only able to match it with players like Todd Goldstein at ruck duels, but was also able to beat him around the ground.
Marshall is one to watch. He jumped out of the box this season and made people sit up and take notice. It’ll be interesting to see how Brett Ratten can construct his midfield around the young big man and make it all work.
7 – GARY ABLETT
Ah, the old fella. He had the sort of start to 2019 that only the most optimistic Cats supporter would have hoped for. Completely embracing the role as a permanent forward, Ablett’s impact over the first half of the year was unequaled, and he was far and away the front-runner for a record-breaking ninth All-Australian selection. Up until Round 12, Gaz was averaging an impressive two goals per game, but it was his all-round game that was his strength. He was heavily involved in a large number of Geelong scoring chances, and his kicking to position was a sight to behold.
In one game he had three direct goal assists in the first quarter, with Gary Rohan the main beneficiary of his excellence via foot.
Gaz may have dropped away in the second half of the season, but by the half-way point he had accumulated such a number of points that he was continually around the top of the table. The odd good game in the second half would bolster his numbers overall, and in the end, a string finish to the season, with 28 touches and three goals in the final round were enough to ensure him a top ten spot.
It is interesting to hear talk about whether Gaz will go on next season. If his result in these rankings is anything to go by, he definitely has the capacity to remain a potent forward 50 weapon.
Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone?
6 – NAT FYFE
Statistically, Nat Fyfe had just as good a season as his Brownlow year. That should tell you something. Let’s run down the two seasons and compare.
In 2015, Fyfe had 28.80 disposals, 4.35 inside 50s and a mammoth 8.65 clearances per game. He added 17.80 contested touches per game. Jump to 2019 and Fyfe was +0.35 in disposals, +0.35 in inside 50s, -1.10 in clearances and -0.25 in contested possessions.
The difference between the two season is that in 2015, Fyfe was on a good team. They were 15-5 with him on the park, whereas the Dockers were 8-12 with their captain out there this year. Is it enough to drag him to a second Brownlow? It’s very possible.
Fyfe started the season like a train, racking up 30+ disposals in six of his first seven games, and his ability to hit double figures in clearances as well as notch six individual games where he had 20+ contested possessions powered him into the top ten. The All-Australian captain led by example on the field, and at one stage looked as though he was ready to threaten our number one overall man’s place at the top of the table. Not many did that at any stage this season.
5 – ADAM TRELOAR
Consistent and unsung, many are stuck in the thinking that Adam Treloar is the same player he was a few years ago when he would burn teammates and hack the ball. He is no longer that player – not by a long shot, but you really don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, do you.
Treloar was incredible this season. In a year where Collingwood was speculated to have the greatest midfield in history at their disposal, a range of issues plagued their on-ballers, to the point where Treloar and Scott Pendlebury carried significant loads.
Treloar led the league in disposals, yet was unable to make the All-Australian team, despite topping 30+ disposals in an amazing 18 games. Treloar has received little respect this season, be it from AA selectors or the football media. Often seen as someone who runs a hundred miles per hour and kicks to whatever is ahead of him, Treloar has shown a more mature, patient side of himself as he has been just as instrumental in Collingwood’s late season charge into the finals as anyone, and when the team wasn’t going so well, he was the most reliable midfielder they had.
His spot here in the top five is well-deserved.
4 – JACK MACRAE
Just as we look at one disposal-machine, another pops up. So, why does Macrae finish above Treloar in these rankings? I’m glad you asked.
Whilst the consistency of Adam Treloar cannot be faulted, it was the ability of Jack Macrae to impact the game in more than just disposals that held him in good stead in this one. He scored big when the Dogs won, and he added big numbers in clearances, tackles and contested possessions to the mix as well. Whilst I praised Treloar’s improved kicking, Macrae still has him covered in that regard, running at 74% efficiency for the season as opposed to Treloar’s 71%. Not much in it, but when you’re talking about two players so evenly matched in statistical output for the season, every little bit counts.
Macrae’s finish to the year powered him home. In the final 11 games of the home and away season, Macrae was like a machine, collecting a massive 37.09 touches per game. With eight of them wins for the Doggies, Macrae was absolutely flying.
I was thrilled to see him rewarded with an All-Australian blazer this season. He operates in the shadow of Marcus Bontempelli, but as it stands, Macrae is starting to cast a pretty hefty shadow of his own.
3 – MAX GAWN
Overshadowed by a fellow big man this season, Gawn’s struggles to drag a disinterested or uninspired team to be competitive should be commended. I don’t think it is a stretch to state that at times this season, Gawn appeared as the only player on the park who actually gave a shit about the way Melbourne was traveling.
He was powerful in the air, sitting ninth overall in contested grabs, and third overall in hit outs. Gawn looked to be ready to make a move to claim top spot after completely obliterating Brodie Grundy in their Queen’s Birthday clash where he added 11 clearances and 19 contested touches to his career-high 34 disposals, but an injury in Round 15 sent him to the bench and caused him to miss a game – from there, he was too far back to make an impact.
Gawn is one of the few men in the game that can have a significant impact without having a heap of the footy. His tap work is unequaled in the league currently, and with 11 games totalling over 40 hit outs, it is easy to see why he is a complete headache for teams to match up on.
If only he had a team around him that could capitalise on his dominance.
2 – LACHIE NEALE
What a difference a change of scenery makes, huh?
Lachie Neale worked in the shadow of Nat Fyfe and received little in the way of accolades. Despite two season where he averaged over 30 disposals per game, Neale was unable to sway All-Australian selectors to look past Nat Fyfe and see the little fella working his backside off at stoppages. His move to Brisbane this season paid immediate dividends in that regard, as Neale was named in his first All-Australian team this season.
His 31.52 disposals per game are impressive, but his start to the season, with three 40+ disposal games in the first four weeks, set the tone for what was expected from a top-flight mid. It must have been a bit of an eye-opener for other Brisbane mids, because as soon as Neale arrived on the scene, their work ethic increased. It was as though he challenged them to work harder, and they responded.
Neale’s bread and butter is winning the ball in close, and he had 10+ clearances on six occasions during the home and away season. Add to that his continued ability to win contested footy (20+ on five occasions) and you can really start to understand just how good Neale was for Brisbane this season.
They may have gone out in straight sets, but the example Neale set in his first season in Lions colours is a shining example of how to make a positive impact at a new club.
1 – BRODIE GRUNDY
When I started this rankings system, I believed it was dynamic enough that we would see wild fluctuations based on the patches of form most players exhibit. I believed that we would see multiple players occupying the top spot as they ebbed and flowed with the tides of the season.
I was so wrong.
The consistency of Brodie Grundy was quite amazing. Save for a couple of games here and there, his name appeared in the weekly top ten I’d post for patrons so often that I questioned whether I was a little too lenient in the way I was assessing the rucks, but if that were the case, wouldn’t there be more than then were in the top 50?
Look, I will probably tweak the system for 2020 mainly because Brodie Grundy. There were three games where players scored a season-high in the rankings. Grundy owned two of them. When I compile the top ten scoring games of the year, it will not surprise me if he is in there three or four times.
He won clearances, got taps, tackled like a demon… Brodie Grundy played the ruck position in 2019 like no one has before him. He was everywhere doing everything, and when challenged, he answered.
Struck down by illness on the eve of his Queen’s Birthday clash against Max Gawn, it was revealed that Grundy should not have played. Grundy never addressed it, but coach Nathan Buckley thought it prudent to let the media know why his star big man was beaten so badly. Grundy redeemed himself when they met again later in the year, taking the points against Gawn in an all-round game consisting of seven clearances, seven tackles and 44 hit outs.
Brodie Grundy has been superb in 2019. Never tiring, never complaining, he has done a mountainous amount of work for the Magpies, and as we narrow down to the final four teams of the season, his battle with Shane Mumford will be pivotal to the outcome of this week’s preliminary final.
Hail Brodie Grundy – inaugural winner of the Mongrel’s Player Power Rankings #1 player of the year.
And there we go – the first ever Mongrel Punt Player Power Rankings are complete. This has been a painstaking exercise, but one we are committed to making an annual part of the Mongrel’s coverage of our sport. With criteria tweaked for next season based on what we learnt this season, it is sure to be closer and more volatile (in terms of fortnightly rankings) than ever.
Thanks for being part of it all and offering your suggestions.
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.