And so, after enduring the cries of “where’s Jy Simpkin?” two weeks ago, the second instalment of The Mongrel 50 is primed and ready to disappoint a whole new bunch of supporters. Maybe you’ll be one of them!
As we’re all well aware, the old adage that you can’t please all the people all the time is one that continues to prove true, and never has it been truer than it is now, particularly in regard to football.
With that in mind, allow me to explain a couple of things before we dip into the second incarnation of the 50 so as to prevent some angst.
The difference of this rankings to just about every other one out there is that it has a distinct bias toward the most recent four weeks of football. Whilst anything prior to the last four weeks is not discounted, it receives a penalty of 50%.
The reasoning behind this is that it allows players who are surging, or who have put together three or four weeks of very solid football to surge up the rankings quickly. It makes for a more fluid ranking system, and one that hopefully reflects players who are playing the best footy right now.
Yes, the players who were great in Rounds One and Two are still recognised, but in this case, those who have hit their stride through Rounds 3-6 will be receiving maximum points.
Well, I reckon that’s on you.
Below is the second cumulative set of rankings up to the conclusion of Round Six. The premise is that we end up with a list that focuses on the best players on the best teams. I really love putting this kind of stuff together and genuinely think there is a place for it in footy.
I hope you do as well.
Our Inner-Circle members have been receiving weekly updates and already know those who have sat at or near the top of the rankings on a weekly basis. They’ve been very good about being quiet about it too, I have to say. At the conclusion of the overall rankings, the weekly ranking is available for them as per usual.
One more thing before we get stuck in – I have decided to remove players whose seasons are basically destroyed due to injury to have more focus on the players still involved.
For the record the following players would have been included had they not incurred injury.
JEREMY HOWE – 48
ISAAC HEENEY – 41
MATT ROWELL – 21
Let’s get stuck in.
THE MONGREL 50 – VOLUME TWO (POST ROUND SIX)
50 – TOUK MILLER (GOLD COAST)
Completely underrated by the majority of the footy world, Miller is the accountable mid most coaches would love to have.
Failing to hit 20 touches just once this season, he is one of the heart and soul players at Gold Coast and has aided in their solid 2020 to this point.
49 – CHAD WINGARD (HAWTHORN)
When he’s good, he’s very, very good. And when he is bad…
Nosedived the last couple of weeks after three bags of three goals in the first four rounds.
48 – JY SIMPKIN (NORTH MELBOURNE)
Oh look! Here’s Jy Simpkin!
Been very consistent without coming out and dominating a game. Probably has this system work against him, inasmuch as it rewards dominant performances. He has had several good performances without one truly dominant one – Round Three v Sydney being his best.
One really big performance would see him vault into the top half of the rankings.
47 – OSCAR ALLEN (WEST COAST)
The future of the Eagles’ forward line is already here. With sticky hands and a knack for bobbing up and kicking key goals, Allen’s rise in blue and gold is so obvious that a blind man could see it.
With a goal and a half per game as well as time as the back up ruckman, Allen’s versatility makes him a weapon as the third tall forward.
46 – LUKE RYAN (FREMANTLE)
Picking up intercept possessions at will in some games, Ryan would get a huge amount of attention if he played in Victoria… or for the other WA-based club.
A great reader of the footy, Ryan will be key to cutting the West Coast attack off at the knees in the Derby this weekend.
45 – JAKE LLOYD (SYDNEY)
I know some of you hate him. I know some of you don’t rate him. But far out – he can find the footy, can’t he?
The Swans look to him as their key rebounder and whether you like him or not, he gets a heap of the footy and provides an enormous amount of run and carry for Sydney.
44 – SHANNON HURN (WEST COAST)
Not his best season, but he continues to rack up intercepts and rebound 50s.
As West Coast heads back to WA, I expect Hurn to relish the dryer conditions. I can see a few big weeks for he and Jeremy McGovern on the horizon.
43 – MARK BLICAVS (GEELONG)
The wingman, huh? Will whichever Scott brother that coaches Geelong ever live it down?
I know it’s Chris… settle down.
Blicavs is a two-time best and fairest winner for the Cats. The way he’s going in 2020, a third is not out of the question and that would put him in some pretty lofty company.
42 – JAMES SICILY (HAWTHORN)
Yeah, look… you guys know I am a Hawthorn supporter. I have really high expectations of Sicily, and the fact he continually gets the ball and boots it as far as he can, often without looking really pisses me off.
But it looks good on paper!
When he is on, he is one of the best defenders in the game. Must be careful not to drink his own bath water.
41 – KANE LAMBERT (RICHMOND)
With Dion Prestia hurt, it was up to Kane Lambert to get into the Tiger engine room, and far out, he got them up and going!
Three goals and 27 touches against the Dees kick-started his season and with players still missing, I expect he’ll play a big role in the coming weeks, too.
40 – JORDAN RIDLEY (ESSENDON)
Soon to be the flavour of the month, Jordan Ridley is having a breakout season. He is having a wonderful time as he floats in to take intercept grabs whilst Cale Hooker and Michael Hurley do the dirty work.
In shortened quarters he is having career high numbers. The cat is out of the bag with Ridley. Expect the opposition to start going through his man at some stage to prevent his influence.
39 – MARC PITTONET (CARLTON)
Well, he has surprised me! Sometimes, all you need is the opportunity, right?
Marc Pittonet was the number three option at Hawthorn, but with Matty Kreuzer hurt, he has leapt into the number one spot at Carlton, and he is making a huge fist of it. With seven games to his name in four years at Hawthorn, he has already played five for the Blues and is now in the box seat to play plenty more. I love his aggression at stoppages.
38 – HARRY PERRYMAN (GWS)
Vying for the title of best wingman in the game, he has been amazingly thrown into defence by Leon Cameron. Yeah, I don’t know why you’d throw a goal kicking wingman into defence, either. Particularly when you’re struggling to kick a winning score…
Anyway, out of contract at the end of this season, Perryman is making a nice case for a raise.
37 – HUGH GREENWOOD (GOLD COAST)
The tackling machine.
Leading the league in tackles, he has been a huge aspect of the toughness the Gold Coast Sun have demonstrated in the middle. He was the perfect running mate for Matt Rowell as he emerged as a top-tier mid so quickly, doing a lot of the heavy lifting, and setting a great example.
36 – TOM PAPLEY (SYDNEY)
Would he be a walk-up start as your All-Australian small forward at the moment.
Leading the Coleman race, Papley also has 37 score involvements, which is also good for fifth overall. He doesn’t just kick goals – he helps create them for others.
35 – JACK STEELE (ST KILDA)
Not many can lay claim to doing the job on Patrick Cripps, but Jack Steele can count himself amongst them. I’m sure many will dispute holding Cripps to 22 touches is anything to write home about but when you consider he held him to ten touches through three quarters and Cripps only had a real impact once the game was done, you may reconsider.
Steele is one of the best stoppers on a power midfielder in the game and I look forward to seeing whether he can put the brakes on other big names as the season progresses.
34 – DYLAN SHIEL (ESSENDON)
Well, an errant hip and should may have derailed what was shaping up as an excellent season to date, but this is the best I’ve seen Dylan Shiel look.
Doing the heavy lifting and leading the Bombers in clearances and contested possessions, Shiel is proving to be the inside mid that Essendon has been searching for. And he is appearing more composed as well.
33 – CHRISTIAN PETRACCA (MELBOURNE)
We were all waiting for him to arrive, right? I reckon he’s here.
Looking like an unstoppable force at points this season, Petracca will be the player to lead Melbourne out of the doldrums if they get there. He has plenty of x-factor and the way he has been breaking away from packs with the ball under his arm… it’s been pretty special.
32 – BRODY MIHOCEK (COLLINGWOOD)
He’s had his working boots this season, and even when he is having a quiet day, he is doing what good footballers do. He’s making an impact.
With multiple goals on four occasions this season, Mihocek is vital to the Magpies’ finals hopes.
31 – PATRICK DANGERFIELD (GEELONG)
Missing from our first Mongrel 50, Danger responded with a blistering Round Six performance, gaining maximum coaches and mongrel votes.
The slow start was forgotten as Dangerfield racked up 26 touches, eight clearances and seven inside 50s.
30 – HARRIS ANDREWS (BRISBANE)
Had a slight setback this week, running into Tom Hawkins who was able to both keep him occupied and prevent him from impacting the contest the way he normally would.
Prior to that, Andrews was dominating any errant forward entry. He sits at number one for one percenters and number two for intercept possessions and is one of two players to have a rare defensive double-double this season (double figures in spoils and intercepts).
29 – TIM ENGLISH (WESTERN BULLDOGS)
Surprised? I am!
I was ready for another season of Tim English getting beaten up, but he is slowly learning how to use his strengths to his advantage. Beat Sam Jacobs hands down in Round Three and backed it up with a surprisingly competitive outing against Todd Goldstein the next week.
Unfortunately, he was back to being roughed up by Marc Pittonet in Round Six which seems to be the blueprint to getting the better of him. Blunt assessment – needs a bit of mongrel.
28 –ADAM TRELOAR (COLLINGWOOD)
In just two games, Treloar has burst into prominence. Averaging 32.5 in reduced quarters, Treloar had a huge Round Six as the Pies overpowered the Hawks.
With another couple of big weeks to his name, Treloar will be pushing the top ten by the next rankings in a couple of weeks.
27 – SCOTT LYCETT (PORT ADELAIDE)
Another with his working boots on, Lycett is the sort of bloke that flies under the radar.
He has been industrious for the Power as they’ve collected five early wins in the 2020 season, setting them up for what should be a deep finals run. Despite the commentators completing missing it, he was excellent at stoppages against Shane Mumford on the weekend, collecting six clearances whilst they talked about how Mummy was roughing him up.
How’d that work out?
26 – DAN BUTLER (ST KILDA)
Some have called him the recruit of the year and there can be no doubt that he is the best of the St Kilda Five at the moment.
Up until this past weekend, Butler had strung together four straight weeks of multiple goals. Importantly, he was also tackling with real intent through the first three rounds, averaging six per game. Since then, he has averaged just two per game – he needs to maintain the rage to give the Saints a continued lift.
25 – JOEL SELWOOD (GEELONG)
The Geelong captain has overcome the injuries that plagued him in 2019 and almost on cue, was at his best to combat the Hawks and power his team to yet another Selwood-inspired victory.
Tackling like a maniac (two games with eight tackles), the 300-gamer has a bit left in the tank. One of my favourite players to watch over the years, he is a future hall of famer. There is only one thing to cap off his career – the title of premiership captain.
24 – HUGH MCCLUGGAGE (BRISBANE)
Had a slow start to the season, but his Round Four and Five performances were ridiculously good.
When McCluggage and Mitch Robinson control their wings, the Lions look unstoppable. It is no coincidencne that when McCluggage plays well, so does his team. Correlation or causation?
When he has 19+ touches, Brisbane are 3-1. When he is under 19 touches, they’re 1-2. Small sample size, I know, but it will be interesting to monitor over the season.
23 – SCOTT PENDLEBURY (COLLINGWOOD)
He just keeps on keeping on. Still the classiest midfielder in the game with the ball in hand.
Had a big Round Four, with 26 touches, seven clearances and seven inside 50 deliveries and though he has been a little quieter since, bobs up at key moments with an inboard kick or creative handball to buy time and space for his team.
22 – ELLIOT YEO (WEST COAST)
Has stormed back into contention with two solid weeks where he seemed to start channelling his aggression in the right way.
Has had a couple of big clearance games and you know you’re always going to get good tackle numbers from him… kind of like Joe Ganino after a few drinks.
21 – CLAYTON OLIVER (MELBOURNE)
I know Christian Petracca gets all the attention and Max Gawn gets all the credit, but Clayton Oliver’s creativity, ability to win the ball at stoppages and apply defensive pressure tick the kind of boxes that I like.
Was let down by some poor disposal in Round Five, but bounced back this weekend with a very solid outing.
20 – MAX GAWN (MELBOURNE)
Is it possible for the big fella to be flying under the radar? If we’re comparing his year to 2018/19, his numbers are understandably down but he has still managed to play a vital role for the Dees.
His four contested grabs were the best by a ruckman for the round, and his willingness to drop back into the hole and take the contact indicate he takes his leadership of this club seriously. The only thing he isn’t doing yet this season is hitting the scoreboard
19 – DARCY MOORE (COLLINGWOOD)
Fast becoming one of the best defenders in the game, and with his body holding up this year (touch wood), we may be seeing Moore reach the potential we saw glimpses of over the past couple of seasons.
Great timing and a burst of closing speed in a 203 centimetre frame make Moore a formidable opponent. His control of the defensive 50 against Hawthorn was fantastic and his willingness to trust his skills is becoming a real strength as well.
18 – TRAVIS BOAK (PORT ADELAIDE)
Starring again for the Power after regaining his stature as one of the best mids in the game in 2019.
Over five clearances per game and having the benefit of being the best midfielder on the highest rated team in the competition have their advantages and as long as Port keep winning, we’re going to see plenty of Boak in this countdown, ongoing.
17 – TOM JONAS (PORT ADELAIDE)
Storming into the top 20, Jonas topped off several solid weeks with a standout defensive performance in Round Six.
16 touches is not the kind of thing most would allow to catch their eyes, but his ability to impact contest after contest in beating down the Brisbane talls was a thing of beauty. Playing like a captain right now.
16 – LEVI CASBOULT (CARLTON)
Be honest… you didn’t see this coming, did you?
Able to now play with meaningful impact at both ends of the ground, it has taken Levi forever, but we’re now seeing the player Carlton fans wished for all these years. At 30 years old, he ha developed a real sense of confidence in what he can deliver for this team.
When you look at him kicking for goal now, particularly from distance, you see a man at ease with his place in the game. Great work, Levi – hard work pays off.
15 – ADAM SAAD (ESSENDON)
As I’ll say for every Bomber, it I important to remember that he still has a game in-hand.
Saad’s run and carry has been a highlight for the Bombers, and in a season with less game-time, he is actually improving his numbers against the trend.
A wonderful interceptor and one of the best running defenders in the caper, he could be top five in the week the Bombers finally get their make-up game against the Dees.
14 – JACK MARTIN (CARLTON)
I copped a bit of flak a couple of weeks ago when I had Jack Martin on the list and he sat way above Charlie Cameron.
Two weeks later… I feel a lot better about it. Martin was huge against the Bulldogs and left no doubt as to his skill and ability to take a contested grab in the forward line.
Some might think Dan Butler is the recruit of the year, but Jack Martin is making a very strong case as well. His Round One performance was spectacular, but I preferred his Round Six effort. In this game, he was THE difference up forward.
13 – JARROD WITTS (GOLD COAST)
The big man continues to play like a leader, though his two best outings of the season were in Rounds Three and Four.
Has seemingly added an air of confidence to his game in 2020, happier to take the ball out of the ruck and clear it himself, or give it a thump instead of dropping it at his feet every contest like he did in 2019. An improved midfield has seen him way more effective than I’d seen him prior.
12 – BRAYDEN MAYNARD (COLLINGWOOD)
Taking on the big jobs and still able to fulfill his role, Brayden Maynard is like the clean-up crew of the Collingwood defence.
Moore and, until he got hurt, Howe were getting all the credit, but the tenacity and determination of Brayden Maynard are the sort of qualities that make a defence tick. At over 21 touches per game, he is leaving his previous career best in his dust, despite shorter game time.
You can now tell he is a player coming of age, and as I bang on about often, it is the organic improvement in already good players that becomes the driver of a premiership tilt more often than not. The continued improvement of Maynard bodes very well for the Pies.
11 – BRODIE GRUNDY (COLLINGWOOD)
Last year’s winner is starting to make his move with a very solid outing in Round Five complementing his Round One destruction of Tim English.
Grundy was pretty quiet in Round Six – something that rarely happened in 2019 – and may suffer a little down the track as a result.
As an aside, Grundy hit the top of the rankings in 2019 and was never headed. Several challenged but all fell short as he continually despatched all and sundry. He has not had the same consistency this season.
10 – MICHAEL WALTERS (FREMANTLE)
Has stepped up in a major way late in games. Playing mainly midfield minutes, his ability to drift forward and have an impact with the game on the line has given Freo a chance in several games.
He is one of a handful of players to average a goal per game and 20+ disposals at this point of the season and would be a pretty good bet for the Freo best and fairest award at the moment.
In last quarters this season, Walters is averaging 6.5 touches and has kicked four goals.
9 – TOBY GREENE (GWS)
Another sitting comfortably in the 20 touches and a goal per game cohort, Greene is taking his game to another level this season. In a match winning effort against the Pies, his duel with Brayden Maynard was worth the price of admission… if we were allowed to attend.
Again, against the Power, he was the one player that looked as though he could blow the game apart. Over the course of the season, you could argue that he has played just one poor game – Round Two against North. That’s it.
8 – SAM MENEGOLA (GEELONG)
Owning the wing for the Cats, Menegola has put together the kind of form line in the last three weeks that more than justifies his ascension here.
If we’re looking at averages, over that period Menegola is averaging 24.6 disposals and a goal per game.
Many others will be receiving the plaudits this season, but Menegola is earning them the hard way. We see, and recognise how bloody good he’s been.
7 – TOM HAWKINS (GEELONG)
Some may think that Hawkins hasn’t been as dominant as expected, but there is more to his game than just kicking goals.
The number one score involvement player in the game and also sits equal top of the goal assists rankings. Irrespective of how many goals he kicks, Hawkins’ ability to clunk marks inside forward 50 and get his teammates involved is one of the prime reasons the Cats sit in second.
He is also leading all full forwards in tackles inside 50, indicating he is willing to do the hard stuff to get Geelong over the line.
6 – TODD GOLDSTEIN (NORTH MELBOURNE)
The most consistent ruck of the year continues to produce.
He has been a clearance monster this season, leading the league in that category and has not been beaten in an overall contest all season.
Possibly overlooked by some when it comes to the league’s best big men, Goldstein is putting together an All-Australian calibre season thus far.
5 – NIC NAITANUI (WEST COAST)
I didn’t see this one coming, but after compiling scores every week, the big fella upped his game over the past fortnight to score heavily and surge up the rankings.
Being part of a winning team kind of helped as well.
Ask any Eagles supporter and they’ll tell you that Naitanui’s impact cannot be measured by stats. They may have a point, but his Round Five game definitely could be measured as he dismantled an undermanned Sydney ruck outfit and had the best ruckman’s game of the young season. Some of those hit outs… wow, just wow.
4 – NICK HAYNES (GWS)
Has he made the leap to be considered the best all-round defender in the game at the moment?
Nick Haynes has long been a Mongrel favourite, and the recognition he is now receiving from the wider football community is evidence that he has broken through as a star of the completion.
He is currently the number one intercept player in the league and is also the number one player for overall marks. 2019 may have been a bit of a coming out party for Haynes, but 2020 is proving that he has another level.
3 – CHARLIE DIXON (PORT ADELAIDE)
A quieter week for Dixon in Round Six but he is in the midst of his best season to date, sitting second in goals and first in contested marks.
Dixon has had a couple of absolute standout games thus far, and with 11 contested marks over Rounds Three and Four, he was always going to feature heavily whilst those scored were carrying a 100% weighting.
After a relatively lower scoring couple of weeks, he will need a big game in the next two weeks to retain his place near the top by the time the next ratings rolls around.
2 – SAM DOCHERTY (CARLTON)
Are teams starting to figure him out?
Doc had his lowest two scores of the season in Rounds Five and Six, but was so spectacular through the first four rounds that those totals are carrying him.
Ranked number one in our first Mongrel 50, the fall hasn’t been significant as he has the runs on the board early. However, another week or two of average performances may see him slip quite a bit. I’m sure if they came in Carlton wins, Blues fans wouldn’t mind.
1 – LACHIE NEALE (BRISBANE)
And for the first time the two years we’ve been doing this, Lachie Neale takes top spot!
He sat second to Brodie Grundy on multiple occasions in 2019 but was unable to wrest top spot from the big man. He has been extremely consistent in 2020, scoring every week – the only players to register a score every week in the top ten are Neale, Naitanui, Goldstein and Walters.
Neale ha a season-low of 26 touches in a game – there are plenty who would take that number as a season-high without hesitation, and he sits behind only Tom Hawkins in score involvements.
Neale has also been hitting the scoreboard this season and had he kicked accurately against Adelaide (he finished with 0.6) he might even be in the top three or four in the race for the Coleman… which would be absolutely ludicrous.
So, the top five has players from all four positions, which is great. There are two rucks in the top six, and a wingman in the top ten. Some may argue that the balance is all wrong and that’s fine, but what I’ve set out to do is have all players ranked on criteria pertinent to their positions. I think that’s reflected in the way the top ten looks. I’m pretty pleased to see it actually panning out this way.
I’m sure you have plenty of your own, so I will try to knock a few over before we start.
WHY HAS JY SIMPKIN NOT SCORED HEAVILY?
Oh, the amount of times I’ve heard Simpkin’s name in the past couple of weeks. If I hadn’t have heard of him as I released the first version of the Mongrel 50, his name would be ringing in my ears now.
Here’s the thing – this formula captures players who have outstanding performances. There are statistical triggers that see a player start accruing points. If a player fails to reach that mark – let’s say 26 disposals is a trigger for a midfielder – they don’t accrue points. Jy Simpkin has hit that mark once in six games.
This is not the “almost” rankings. If that were the case, Tim O’Brien from Hawthorn would be number one. Simpkin has been agonisingly close on a number of categories, but he just hasn’t hit the actual mark. I am a charitable kind of guy, but really… who wants charity? I have no doubt he’ll move up the ranks soon enough. He is right on the cusp right now, but needs a big performance to punctuate the good ones.
WHO ARE THE BIG NAMES MISSING?
DUSTIN MARTIN – It’s not finals yet. He’s not really trying, is he? Yet the Tigers are still winning.
NAT FYFE – A week off and a week hanging out up forward aren’t helping his ranking.
GARY ABLETT – Had a very good outing this week, despite Bruce McAvaney burying him at the first opportunity. Still a fair way back.
JORDAN DE GOEY – Not the season he would have envisioned. Goose eggs the last couple of weeks do not bode well going forward.
TOM MITCHELL – Showed definite signs against the Pies, but still a fair way off the pace, overall.
CHARLIE CAMERON – Has had one really big game this season and his omission reflects the fact that he has been a little too quiet. Still has 11 goals this season, but has fallen down in several areas this season.
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 – Josh Bruce, Zak Butters, Josh Kelly and Touk Miller.
And here are a few from further down the list that might make you raise an eyebrow, or even get a little angry at the old Mongrel…
TIM KELLY – 62
LACHIE WHITFIELD – 75
NAT FYFE – 80
MARCUS BONTEMPELLI – 83
PATRICK CRIPPS – 86
TOM MITCHELL – 113
ROBBIE GRAY – 123
CONNOR ROZEE – 144
A bit of work to do for those fellas, but the beauty of this system is that it only takes two weeks to really start turning it all around.
So that will do me – if you like this kind of thing, I give weekly updates for our Inner Circle Members and that is linked below. It equates to 80c per day and you also get our defenders weekly ranking, wingmen weekly ranking and fortnightly x-factor rankings as well. If you prefer the free content, that’s cool, but these are the kinds of initiatives membership helps pay for.
Sincere thanks to all our members and those who support us. It is genuinely appreciated.
Now, onto the weekly update
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