To the winners go the spoils, and the first cumulative Player Power Rankings of 2020 sees a bunch of Port Adelaide stars littering the Mongrel 50.
The list below encompasses all players from all games in 2020 from the commencement of the season to the end of Round Four. Am I completely happy with it? Yes and no. There are players I think may be too low and a couple I think may be a little too high, but it’s a starting point on a season-long journey.
Besides, I didn’t want to mess with what the numbers were telling me. I have a bit of faith.
Last year was my test run, and I ended up with Brodie Grundy winning the whole thing, and not by a small margin. After assessing the criteria in the off-season it became apparent I was a little too lenient in terms of what rucks had to achieve in order to start hitting the scoreboard. Adjustments have been made accordingly as a result.
So, I mentioned criteria…
The system is designed to reward players for their efforts in categories commensurate with the position they play. As such, forwards are assessed on things such as marks inside 50, tackles inside 50, score involvements and, of course, goals.
Defenders, as you’d imagine are assessed differently. Rebound 50s, intercept possessions, spoils and so on equate to a large part of their total scores.
Ruckman and mids have their own set of criteria pertinent to the roles they play.
All players receive additional points for featuring in coaches votes and our own Mongrel votes on a weekly basis. Players scoring points on winning teams receive a small bonus as well – I like to reward winners.
Our Inner-Circle members have been receiving weekly updates and already know those who have topped the rankings once, twice or… nah, no one has done it three times. Not yet. Below is the link to the standalone Round Four rankings.
Below is the first cumulative set of rankings that comprise what is our first Mongrel 50 of the season. From here on, the most recent four rounds of footy are weighted at 100% and every round prior to that gets a 50% weighting in the total score. That enables us to capture the players surging whilst still respecting the entire body of work over the season. The premise is that we end up with a list that can change from week to week and game to game, and it is something I really enjoy.
I hope you do as well.
And for the record, I don’t think Mrs Mongrel is a fan, but her work with spreadsheets is an incredible help. It would be an even more arduous task without her help.
Let’s jump in.
50 – JUSTIN WESTHOFF (PORT ADELAIDE)
I cannot believe this guy is 33 years old. Still looks lively and still manages to find the ball with apparent ease.
The Hoff is one of nine Port players to grace the first rankings of the season, and with just under two goals per game, he is no less dangerous than he’s ever been. Also, he is the player who needs his beard more so than any other player in the league. Come on… you’ve seen him without it.
49 – MICHAEL WALTERS (FREMANTLE)
The Dockers might be struggling, but Walters has continued his high standard of play. With a goal and a half per game and over 21 touches per contest, Walters continues to be a threat anywhere near the forward half.
As has become the Walters way, he has bobbed up late in a couple of games to drag his team back into it.
48 – TIM ENGLISH (WESTERN BULLDOGS)
Has really bounced back over the past fortnight, with convincing one-on-one wins against Sam Jacobs and Sam Naismith.
English is starting to put that big tank to use, and is impacting contests at both ends of the ground.
47 – BRAD EBERT (PORT ADELAIDE)
One of the best hard-working mid/forwards in the game. Great tackler and a completely selfless workhorse. His transition to the forward line a couple of seasons back was part of a shake up that may not have been the greatest for the club at the time…
… but it might be about to pay off.
46 – SHANNON HURN (WEST COAST)
Nowhere near the level he’s been at over the last few years and though he has been a little fumbly and seems a lot less balanced and composed, he is still picking up a fair few intercept possessions. I just don’t think he has the support around him working at the level required yet.
45 – ANDREW GAFF (WEST COAST)
Getting plenty of the footy, but he has been banging it on his boot over the last couple of weeks and hoping for the best. Not getting a hell of a lot of help in a midfield running at three quarter pace most of the time whilst he busts his ass working up and down the wing.
44 – CHARLIE CAMERON (BRISBANE)
Elusive and brilliant, Cameron is still prone to go missing for quarters at a time. 11 goals for the season is hard to argue with, however, and he is a legitimate chance to be the first little man to secure a Coleman Medal in my lifetime.
Will be going back and forth with Tom Papley for the AA small forward spot.
43 – DYLAN SHIEL (ESSENDON)
Had a blinder in Round One – perhaps his best game as a Bomber. Maintaining 25 touches per game, Shiel may be the driving force that propels the Bombers back into the finals.
Worth remembering that the Bombers are one game down on most of the competition as well, so he could well be quite a bit higher, all things being even.
42 – JAMES SICILY (HAWTHORN)
Has started to work into the games now, but is still bombing aimlessly from half back in the name of gaining distance, which is a shame because his delivery is wonderful when he applies himself.
11 intercepts in Round Four were a round-high for him.
41 – JACOB TOWNSEND (ESSENDON)
Had a big debut in red and black, and really could have covered himself in glory to end Round Four as well.
Has been combative and added a bit of mongrel to the Bombers forward line.
40 – JACK MARTIN (CARLTON)
Kicked four in the third quarter of the season opener to give Blues fans a glimpse of his enormous talent and automatically ingratiate himself to the Carlton faithful.
Has been quieter since, but his ability to work up the ground and back has added another element to the Blues in 2020.
39 – LUKE PARKER (SYDNEY)
Luke Parker is compiling another excellent season in the guts for the Swans, and some may question why he isn’t ranked higher. I reckon it’s the fact he isn’t hitting the scoreboard.
Parker has just one goal to his name this season, but his seven clearances per game hold him in good stead.
38 – JACK BILLINGS (ST KILDA)
Billings is emerging as one of the better wingmen in the game and at over a goal per game is dangerous once he moves forward.
He started 2019 in good form as well, and will need to maintain good form for the Saints to remain in the hunt. When Billings is on, he draws heat and frees up space for the other Saints prime movers.
37 – NIC NAITANUI (WEST COAST)
Winning taps and clearances but is still spending way too long on the bench for my liking, leaving the Eagles to rely on… Tom Hickey? Ouch.
In a season with shortened quarters, Nic Nat should be thriving and playing more game time. With that would come a leap up the ranks.
36 – NICK HAYNES (GWS)
The consummate defender, Nick Haynes continues to be the backbone of the GWS defence. Actually, that’s not fair – they have plenty of quality back there. I just think Haynes is the best.
He was brilliant against the Pies on Friday night, with double figure intercepts keeping the Collingwood forwards at bay.
35 – SAM COLLINS (GOLD COAST)
Has really built himself into a solid, reliable defender in the Gold Coast defence. Ably supported by Charlie Ballard, and with Rory Thompson on the way back, Collins has grown into a great one-on-one warrior over the last 12 months.
With the new breed of Suns willing to work hard through the middle to hamper inside 50 delivery, Collins has emerged as a clear winner this season.
34 – STEELE SIDEBOTTOM (COLLINGWOOD)
Would be rated higher but for the belting he was given by Matt de Boer last weekend – his lowest disposal total in years!
Sidebottom has had some very good sprinkled in with that performance, but I reckon his inability to break a tag is something opposition coaches will be looking at closely.
That, and his inability to follow basic Covid rules, ffs.
33 – MARCUS BONTEMPELLI (WESTERN BULLDOGS)
Oh no… Bont is too low, right?
Easy to say now, after he had a ripping Round Four, but his Rounds one and three weren’t exactly the kind of games that he’d like featured on his highlight reel.
His best is very, very good, but will he demonstrate it often enough in 2020?
32 – BRODY MIHOCEK (COLLINGWOOD)
With seven goals to his name, Mihocek’s hard work is paying off in 2020. A good, consistent lead-up target, he is able to take contested grabs (1.5 per game) and convert.
Has the ability to bob up even when it appears he has been beaten for the day, as was the case against the Giants, where he kicked two goals in five minutes to close the gap between the teams.
31 – TOUK MILLER (GOLD COAST)
Playing both the role of traditional midfielder and tagger, Touk Miller is one of the spiritual leaders of the Suns.
I don’t think Miller will ever win a Brownlow (some are already engraving Matt Rowell’s name on it) but what he will do is combine with Hugh Greenwood to underpin one of the most accountable midfield units in the game. their tackling stats are excellent.
30 – JOEL SELWOOD (GEELONG)
Did it again against the Hawks, with a vintage display to once more overcome the old rivals.
Selwood has moved back into the middle after a season where he played on the wing, and struggled through the season with injury. As many of you know, I am huge fan of the Geelong captain and even when he turns it on against my team, I cannot help but marvel at the relentless way he goes about it.
Playing his 300th this weekend, let’s hope we see some vintage Selwood. He has been, and continues to be such a great player.
29 – CONNOR ROZEE (PORT ADELAIDE)
He may not be conjuring the same level of highlights as 2019 (yet) but Rozee has managed to add to his already scintillating game.
In Round Two he moved into the guts for a while and proceeded to accumulate eight clearances for the game. Has yet to hit the scoreboard to the level expected of him, but once he does, his value should skyrocket in these rankings.
28 – SCOTT LYCETT (PORT ADELAIDE)
Continues to prove that one genuine ruck is the way to go for the Power and looks like he means business this year.
Will mix it up physically with anyone, and refuses to lower his colours with a huge fight. Loved his efforts at ground level against Nic Naitanui this past weekend.
27 – PATRICK CRIPPS (CARLTON)
Has had moments, and his clearance numbers speak for themselves, but as the Carlton team continues to improve, others are starting to lift a bit of the load off his shoulders. Weitering and Docherty in defence, Walsh emerging on the wing – maybe the Blues don’t need Cripps to do everything now?
And that allows him to do the spectacular when required, like in the last quarter against the Dees. It’s a little lost that the Blues should really be 3-1 at this stage, and have won more quarters than they’ve lost.
And by the way, I expect him to climb rapidly – don’t panic Blues fans.
26 – BRAYDEN MAYNARD (COLLINGWOOD)
Very consistent, and even when he gets beaten (v Toby Greene this past weekend) he still managed to keep his chin up and contribute in other ways (like having 23 touches at over 80% efficiency)
It will be interesting to see if his role is changed at all with the injury to Jeremy Howe, but I get the feeling we may be seeing more of Jack Crisp as an interceptor with Maynard required to retain a man-on-man role.
25 – HUGH MCCLUGGAGE (BRISBANE)
Took a couple of rounds to get going, but is now firing on all cylinders. In our weekly wingman rankings, McCluggage has scored consecutive weeks with the highest score of the round, and it is those big performances that propel him into the top 25.
He may very well be higher if not for some inaccuracy this past weekend, too.
24 – ZAK BUTTERS (PORT ADELAIDE)
We’re seeing this fella emerge this season after a year of living in the shadow of Connor Rozee and Xavier Duursma. Has stood up in big moments and has really started to look comfortable at the top level.
His 21 touches and eight tackles in the showdown were probably unlucky not to be recognised with a Showdown Medal, but I reckon he might get one before all is said and done.
23 – DARCY BYRNE-JONES (PORT ADELAIDE)
People started throwing his name around as a potential AA alf back near the end of 2019, and I reckon the chatter will start again very soon.
Justifiably so, too.
At 20 touches per game, he sits ninth in total kicks this season and is looking like a weapon off half back
22 – JACK BOWES (GOLD COAST)
Two seasons ago I watched the Suns – they were terrible, but every time Jack Bowes went near the ball, good things started happening. Now, they’re happening more often as a whole.
Had a really good start to the season as an interceptor and rebounder and has become an integral part of the Suns’ developing defence.
21 – HARRIS ANDREWS (BRISBANE)
The reigning All-Australian full back seems destined to head back for a repeat performance in 2020.
Has he been beaten in a one-on-one contest all season? I haven’t watched every second of every game, but I cannot recall him lowering his colours. When he gets his fist on the ball, the footy stays punched, with some of those spoils gaining the kind of distance others get with a kick.
He is one of two players to record a defensive double-double in 2020 (double figures in one percenters an intercept possessions in a game).
20 – TAYLOR ADAMS (COLLINGWOOD)
Adds something to the Collingwood midfield that no one else can – real mongrel.
Adams has been a clearance beast for the Pies this season and gave Marcus Bontempelli a centre square lesson in the first round of the season.
19 – JACOB WEITERING (CARLTON)
Many have tipped Weitering as the next All-Australian key position player, and given the jobs he’s been doing, it would be hard to dispute. With Jeremy McGovern on the sidelines, there is a nice juicy CHB spot that Weitering may just occupy in around 20 weeks’ time.
His shut down job on Tom Lynch in the opener was a defensive masterpiece.
18 – DANE RAMPE (SYDNEY)
Too often disregarded for my liking, Rampe is a wonderful defender whose numbers may be down this season, but whose impact still remains high.
Gave Ben Brown a bath in Round Three and did the same to Josh Bruce this past weekend.
17 – BRODIE GRUNDY (COLLINGWOOD)
Absolutely smashed Tim English in Round One, but has been a little subdued since. I was surprised that he was unable to exert some dominance over Shane Mumford this past weekend. 47 hit outs were good, but he failed to make an impact at ground level.
Down across the board in almost every stat category this season, and as our 2019 overall Power Rankings winner, I expect a huge lift from him over the next few weeks.
16 – DAN BUTLER (ST KILDA)
This is the way you show your value to a team that let you go in favour of a few others.
Butler has been the pick of the St Kilda recruits to date, with six goals from the first four weeks of the season. Looking like he is loving his time in a new system.
15 – CHAD WINGARD (HAWTHORN)
Three bags of three goals would have to have Wingard in the mix as a contender for the All-Australian forward pocket position. When Alastair Clarkson was asked years ago which player he wanted most from other teams, his answer was Wingard.
Now he has him playing the way he wanted him, and the Hawks are 3-1.
14 – LEVI CASBOULT (CARLTON)
What a surprise the form of the big man has been. Second only to the beastly performance of Charlie Dixon, Casboult has been clunking contested marks and, to the absolute shock of many, kicking goals!
He is averaging two goals per game for the first time in his career and is making life without Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow a non-issue for the Blues.
13 – TRAVIS BOAK (PORT ADELAIDE)
After a massive 2019, Boak has backed up again, winning the Showdown Medal and continuing to lead this Port Adelaide team on a winning streak to start the season. And yes, I know he is not the captain, but he is still very much a lead-by-example kind of player.
Down on stats, but he is helping teammates hit the scoreboard, with 7.3 score involvements per game.
12 – TOM PAPLEY (SYDNEY)
Will be tussling with Charlie Cameron all season for the title of premier small forward in the game.
Whilst just one goal per game ahead of Cameron for the season, Papley’s 6.5 score involvements per game have him ahead of the Brisbane star by a comfortable margin.
11 – ISAAC HEENEY (SYDNEY)
He is the heir apparent in Sydney and in a couple of games he has shown that he has the capacity to be the man for this team, perhaps sooner than was expected.
His forward combination with Papley, whilst not as potent as a forward set up with Lance Franklin, is still good enough to give headaches to plenty of defences.
10 – JARROD WITTS (GOLD COAST)
The big man has made a huge impression on 2020 and looks as though he is now confident in how good he can be.
Taking the ball from the ruck, going for a run, clunking marks… this version of Witts makes the 2019 version that got a heap of hitouts (just the fourth man in history to get 1000 taps in a season) pale in comparison. He is playing like a leader of men.
9 – SCOTT PENDLEBURY (COLLINGWOOD)
The old grey mare, she ain’t what she… actually, if Scott Pendlebury was an old horse, he would be nowhere near ready for the glue factory. He is still all class.
Still banging out 27 touches per game whilst others around him struggle Pendles is one for the ages and one of the most consistently brilliant players you’re ever likely to see.
8 – TOBY GREENE (GWS)
My man… and he was strutting his stuff against the Pies, wasn’t he?
Contested marks, goals out of nothing… there is very little Toby Greene cannot do. Oh, actually there is one thing – he seems incapable of earning a free kick.
7 – MATT ROWELL (GOLD COAST)
Bang – straight into the top ten. Did we expect anything less?
So, when does a defensive presence come to limit this bloke? Snagging goals and brushing tackle, he is a man well before his time and could very well be top three in the Brownlow after Round Four. Maybe even leading it!
Looks to be a future captain in the mould of Joel Selwood. And I love Joel Selwood!
6 – JEREMY HOWE (COLLINGWOOD)
Was on target to pick up his first AA blazer this year until tragedy saw his knee buckle in a collision with Jacob Hopper this past weekend.
This was shaping to be a career-best year for Howe, who will sadly slide out of these rankings almost immediately with no scores incoming over the next while. Still, he has been a monster in 2020 to this point. Get well soon, Jeremy.
5 – ADAM SAAD (ESSENDON)
It must be noted that he is one game down on the competition here, but two really big games in Rounds Two and Four have him surging toward the top.
Saad is currently ranked third in intercepts per game and despite shorter quarters, is averaging career-high numbers in possessions and Rebound 50 disposals.
4 – TODD GOLDSTEIN (NORTH MELBOURNE)
Has elevated his game this season whilst some of his contemporaries have fallen away. Often spoken of as being in a group behind Gawn, Grundy and Naitanui, Goldstein has burst out of the blocks in 2020, leading the league in clearances per game.
Would be favourite for the North B&F right now, and also the AA front runner.
3 – CHARLIE DIXON (PORT ADELAIDE)
Hey look – Charlie Dixon has arrived! Averaging career-high numbers in goals per game (3.67) and contested marks (four per game), Dixon has put the competition on notice.
Looked like a million bucks, physically and could have finally put it all together just in time for the Power to make a serious run at it.
2 – LACHIE NEALE (BRISBANE)
One of the few midfielders that has not significantly allowed reduced quarters to impact his numbers. Has actually increased his tackle numbers from 3.75 per game to 5.50 and has the perfect blend of inside/outside football.
Neale started 2019 in a similar way but was never able to catch Brodie Grundy. Again he finds himself in second, but he is one big game away from catching him in this system… always just one big game away.
1 – SAM DOCHERTY (CARLTON)
What a comeback. Consistently wonderful over the first four weeks of the season.
Get this – he’s first in Metres Gained per game, first in Rebound 50s per game, second in effective disposals per game, second in marks per game, second in intercept per game.
What a player, and what a difference he has made to the Blues in defence. Do you think maybe… you know, some coach might get on the front foot and actually try to stifle him? Just a bit? Brett Ratten, looking at you.
I love that the top four provides a ruckman, a defender, a midfielder and a forward. That’s the way I envisioned the rankings looking when I set it up. Great to see it actually panning out. For now, anyway.
I’m sure you have plenty of your own, so I will try to knock a few over before we start.
Yeah, and I am pretty sure this is justified at the moment. The thing is, they really have no dominant player currently. Richmond fans, when you’re at your best it is a team effort, and it usually has someone like Tom Lynch or Dustin Martin standing out here or there. But that hasn’t been the case this season. Dusty has been out and hasn’t been the finals-version of himself. Lynch has looked great in patches and really ordinary at others (Round One a great example). Jack Riewoldt has looked… terrible at times. I think they’ll bounce back, and someone like Dion Prestia will find his way into this list soon. Ditto for Bachar Houli. But as of right now, none are making the cut.
There are also no Dees and no Crows; one team more than likely because they are one game down as a whole, the other because… well, they’ve been shit.
WHO ARE THE BIG NAMES MISSING?
DUSTIN MARTIN – Covered above
MAX GAWN – A game down on everyone else but not hitting the high points yet he has in the last couple of years.
NAT FYFE – He is -8.19 in disposals and -4.55 in clearances. If he made the cut, it would be on name alone, and that’s not what this is about. His numbers don’t add up, and with a couple of weeks on the sidelines, he won’t be in the next one either.
GARY ABLETT – Lowest disposal numbers since 2006 and less than a goal per game. He featured heavily in the first half of last year and finished in a solid place, but he is playing a different game this year. It’s as much a game of being right for finals as it is winning now.
PATRICK DANGERFIELD – Lowest disposal totals since 2011 and he hasn’t set the world on fire at all. I have no doubt he’ll make his way into the list, but the start has not been great.
JORDAN DE GOEY – Doing some hard stuff, but half a goal per game as a superstar? Nup.
ELLIOT YEO – Down to just 16.75 disposals per game and probably indicative of where the Eagles are at. That West Coast have three on this list is surprising, but what is unsurprising is that they are a fair way back.
TOM MITCHELL – Not the player he was in 2018… yet.
If you’ve got other players you’re interested in, please hit me up in the comments below and I am happy to give you their rank.
WHO’S KNOCKING ON THE DOOR?
Okay, I’ll give you four players at random out of the next ten – Ben Long, Darcy Moore, Tom Jonas, Brandan Parfitt.
If you want to know anyone else, let me know below.
So that will do me – if you like this kind of thing, I give weekly updates for our Inner Circle Members. It equated to 80c per day (cue the upset people stating it’s not worth that much). If you prefer the free content, that’s cool, but these are the kinds of initiatives membership helps pay for and also help us add more.
Sincere thanks to all our members and those who support us. It is genuinely appreciated.