Eight rounds into the 2020 AFL season and we’ve already seen teams rise, fall and stagnate. It is the most topsy-turvy season I can remember and we’re about to hit the half-way point.

What will the next nine weeks of footy bring us and which teams will make us all reconsider our preseason predictions? Or even the predictions we made last week?

We’ve also seen players rise and fall. We’ve seen players become stars and stars become… less than they once were. We’ve seen players on hot streaks and others ice cold, and I have always wanted to find a way to measure that,

With that in mind, allow me to explain a couple of things before we dip into the third incarnation of the Mongrel 50.

The difference in this system to just about every other one out there is that it has a distinct bias toward the most recent four weeks of football. There is no hiding it – this system heavily rewards the players who have had big games over the past four weeks. Whilst anything prior to the last four games is not discounted, but it does incur 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 blast up the list quickly. It makes for a more fluid ranking system that hopefully reflects players who are playing the best footy right now. Sure, Sam Docherty was killing it in the first four weeks of 2020, but what the hell has he done for me lately?

Yes, the players who were great in Rounds 1-4 are still recognised, but in this case, those who have hit their stride through Rounds 5-8 will be receiving maximum points.

Get it?

No?

Well, I reckon that’s on you.

 

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. Thanks everyone.

Below is the third cumulative set of rankings. The premise is that we end up with a list that focuses on the best players on the best teams, and one that can change rapidly. 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.

At times you will see me quoting their “scores” as I write about each player.

Anything above 50 in a week would guarantee a top ten finish overall. These are the absolute standout performances.

Anything in the range of 35-50 is a very high-quality game.

And 20-35 points is pretty damn good too. So if you’re averaging above 30 points for any period of time, it bodes very well. I’ve thrown in the player averages over the past four weeks as well as their season averages to date to give an indication as to why some players have seemingly come from nowhere into prominent places in the rankings.

Let’s get stuck in.

 

 

Last time’s ranking in parenthesis

 

50 – JACK HIGGINS  (-)

Four week average – 21.5 points.

Season average – 10.75

Picking up plenty of the footy playing the high half-forward role in the resurgent Tiger team. Scoring donuts this week hurts.

 

49 – JOSH KELLY  (-)

Four week average – 18.0 points.

Season average – 11.35

A few big weeks littered amongst five non-scoring weeks. Needs a few consistent rounds. Loves life on the wing, it seems. When he plays there, the Giants fire.

 

48 – ANDREW MCGRATH  (-)

Four week average – 17.5 points.

Season average – 11.75

Just had his highest scoring week of the season as his work helped the Bombers over the line against the Crows.

 

47 – LEVI CASBOULT  (16)

Four week average – 9.5 points.

Season average – 16.0

Huge game in Round Four now hit with a 50% penalty and his fall down the rankings is evidence that he needs a couple more games like that littered throughout the season.

 

46 – ANDREW BRAYSHAW  (-)

Four week average – 21.0

Season average – 10.5

Like McGrath, just had his biggest scoring week of the season. After four non-scoring weeks to start the season, has scored in each of the past four rounds.

 

45 – HUGH GREENWOOD  (37)

Four week average – 17.0

Season average – 13.85

He has scored points in six of the eight rounds, though he is yet to really stamp his authority on a game in a win. Battles his arse off irrespective of whether they’re up by five goals or down by five goals.

 

44 – CAM GUTHRIE  (-)

Four week average – 18.75

Season average – 13.12

Unsung hero for the Cats, playing both inside and outside roles easily this season. Has scored heavily in three of the last five weeks.

 

43 – STEVEN MAY  (-)

Four week average – 22.0

Season average – 10.5

Intercept work has been great and he is one of the biggest beneficiaries of being able to step out of the goal square after a behind and have the disposal counted on his own numbers. Shifty, Steven… I see you.

 

42 – PATRICK DANGERFIELD  (31)

Four week average – 21.25

Season average – 12.25

By his own lofty standards, this is a pretty ordinary season for Danger. Being propped up here by his enormous Round Six effort.

 

41 – TOM PAPLEY (36)

Four week average – 22.75

Season average – 12.62

Leading the Coleman and making the big boys look a bit silly, Papley has a bit of ‘Hungry Bartlett’  about him at the moment, which was evident as he refused to give the handball off on the weekend and ran all the way to goal. Truth be told, I would have done the same thing.

 

40 – BRAYDEN MAYNARD  (12)

Four week average – 14.75

Season average – 16.75

A leaner couple of weeks after a stellar 5-6 week run in defence where he took on some big jobs. Highly capable of 20+ disposals per week at a high clip.

 

39 – ANDREW GAFF  (-)

Four week average – 17.25

Season average – 15.62

Had no tag the last couple of weeks and responded as you’d expect. Has registered scores every week thus far (not many have done it) but hasn’t had one huge week to give him a spoke up the rankings.

 

38 – ZACH TUOHY  (-)

Four week average – 20.25

Season average – 14.25

Been very good the last couple of weeks, providing the Cats with a heap of run from half back. He even spent some time on the wing in Round Seven, which gave him more freedom than he’s used to.

 

37 – JACK MACRAE  (-)

Four week average – 23.5

Season average – 12.75

He had his best two weeks of the season in rounds seven and eight, which bodes well for both the Dogs and Macrae personally. A big week against the Tigers would see him vault up the ranks considerably with three straight weeks of good footy.

 

36 – ADAM SAAD  (15)

Four week average – 10.75 points

Season average – 19.12

He’s slowed down a little – not physically; the guy is a jet. I mean more in terms of his scoring here. He was top ten after the first four weeks, which included the Bombers missing a game, but Round Six has been his only high scoring game since.

 

35 – LACHIE WHITFIELD  (-)

Four week average – 24.75

Season average – 12.37

After for scores of zero to start the season, Whitfield is enjoying a good run now, with four consecutive games of accruing points. He has oscillated between half back and the wing as his run and carry have been vitally important to the Giants.

 

34 – DARCY MOORE  (20)

Four week average – 18.5

Season average – 15.87

Beaten for the first time all season on the weekend against a rampant Eagles team, Moore had big weeks in rounds six and seven to prop him up. Should have fun against the undermanned Dockers. Great to see his body holding up this season.

 

33 – JARROD WITTS  (13)

Four week average – 12.75

Season average – 18.75

Very consistent season, having only one round where he did not post any points at all (Round One). His best games were in rounds three and four, which are now hit by the 50% penalty, hence his tumble down the ranks.

 

32 – MICHAEL WALTERS  (10)

Four week average – 19.5

Season average – 16.25

Back to back zero scores in the last couple of weeks do not bode well going forward, but his Round Six outing was huge. Sonny needs a big one, both for his club and himself. And if he could stop flopping around trying to get free kicks, that’d be good as well.

 

31 – JORDAN RIDLEY  (40)

Four week average – 23.5

Season average – 14.37

The golden child at the moment, isn’t he? Intercepting with ease, particularly early in games, Ridley is fast becoming the darling of Bomber supporters. Interestingly, three Bombers sit above him in intercepts per game: Hooker, Saad and McKenna.

 

30 – CALEB DANIEL  (-)

Four week average – 21.75

Season average – 15.62

Is he the new General of the AFL defences? Perhaps a little Napoleon-like, only without the complex? Had his biggest game of the season against the Suns, controlling the footy off half back. The Dogs have been incredible in compensating for his height disadvantage in every game this year. He isn’t being beaten at all

 

29 – OSCAR ALLEN  (47)

Four week average – 26.75  Season average – 13.37

Has one of the toughest gigs in the game, being thrown into a forward line containing Kennedy and darling and is STILL averaging a goal and a half per game. I’ve seen the future and it will be. This guy is the next great forward for the Eagles.

 

28 – ROWAN MARSHALL  (-)

Four week average –24.25

Season average – 16.12

Like Elzar in the kitchen, Marshall kicked it up a notch against the Power, teaming with Paddy Ryder to overpower Peter Ladhams. This week was his highest score of the season to date and comes after a couple of quieter weeks.

 

27 – DANE RAMPE  (-)

Four week average – 20

Season average – 18.37

Basically knocked over the Hawks with one hand on the weekend and has had three very solid weeks over the first eight games of the season

 

26 – BRODIE GRUNDY  (11)

Four week average – 19.0

Season average – 19.75

Looking like a lesser version of the man that dominated ruck contests in 2019, the Collingwood big man may be impacted by the reduction in game time. One of his biggest assets was the ability to outlast his opponents. With less time to do it, his scores have been impacted.

 

25 – JAMES SICILY  (42)

Four week average – 22.5

Season average – 18.25

Making a bit of a charge on the back of three consecutive weeks of very solid football. Was one of the very few Hawthorn winners against the Swans.

 

24 – JACK MARTIN  (14)

Four week average – 22.6

Season average – 18.25

Could he be the recruit of the year? Jack Martin is a difference-maker. After a bindingly good debut for the Blues, he has backed it up with a couple of very handy performances.

 

23 – ELLIOT YEO  (23)

Four week average – 25.75

Season average – 16.75

After a slow start to the season, he has been very good over the last month. Of course, this has coincided with the Eagles’ having their season turned around. Causation or correlation?

 

22 – MARK BLICAVS  (43)

Four week average – 26.0

Season average – 17.37

Could a third best and fairest be on the cards for this unsung champ? Had his best game of the season in the wet against the Dockers, but has failed to register a score in just one game thus far.

 

21 – TODD GOLDSTEIN  (6)

Four week average – 16.0

Season average – 22.62

Slipping a little after a brilliant start, Goldy has been unable to carry the Roos to a win for the last six weeks… ouch. Maybe a bit much to ask from him, really, but a return to his early season form would give them a huge shot against the Crows.

 

20 – LUKE RYAN  (46)

Four week average – 26.0

Season average – 17.87

Looking at his overall scoring, Ryan has had five games this season I would consider above average and two of them have been excellent. He had 15 rebound 50s against the Cats – easily an AFL season-high for the Docker.

 

19 – SAM DOCHERTY  (2)

Four week average –  9.0

Season average – 27.37

Has tapered right off after being the number one ranked player after the first four weeks. Currently being propped up by that early season form, as his most recent four weeks have returned modest figures.

 

18 – HARRIS ANDREWS  (30)

Four week average – 24.75

Season average – 20.37

The best key position defender in the league? Quite possibly, and I am already hearing Lions fan stating “Hell yes, he is!” Leads the league in spoils and is second behind James Sicily in intercepts.

 

17 – NICK HAYNES  (4)

Four week average – 24.75

Season average – 20.37

A quieter couple of weeks for Mongrel favourite, Haynes. After a huge three week period from Round 4-6, his numbers have levelled out and he has fallen out of the top ten as a result.

 

16 – TIM ENGLISH  (19)

Four week average – 27.0

Season average – 20.25

Possibly the surprise packet of the season, English has matured well before most were expecting him to. Dominant games in rounds four, five and seven have seen him continue to climb.

 

15 – JAKE LLOYD  (45)

Four week average – 29.75

Season average – 19.0

There are a lot of people who denounce the efforts of Jake Lloyd. I am not one of them. Lloyd’s role is to receive and run off half back, and there are few better in the league. He has had a huge last four weeks.

 

14 – TOM HAWKINS  (7)

Four week average – 31.50

Season average – 18.25

One of the few big blokes that does not need to kick a bag to have a significant influence on the contest. Huge games in rounds five and six have enabled him to hold onto a top 20 position.

 

13 – SAM MENEGOLA  (8)

Four week average – 31.25

Season average  – 18.5

One of the best wingmen in the league, he is testament to how hard work pays off. Big scores in four of the past five games, Menegola has entrenched himself on the wing for the Cats now.

 

12 – JACK STEELE  (35)

Four week average – 30.0

Season average – 20.0

The best accountable midfielder in the game right now? Is that fair to say? With four scores ranging from above average to excellent over the past five weeks, Steele  has been a big reason for the rise of the Saints this season.

 

11 – TOM JONAS  (17)

Four week average – 29.25

Season average – 21.25

The Port captain is playing like a genuine leader. After a middling start to the season, his last three weeks have seen him average 37 points per game.

 

10 – TIM KELLY (-)

Four week average – 35.0

Season average – 18.75

Here he comes… Kelly’s last four weeks have been excellent, with the high-profile recruit having his best game in blue and gold, topping the 60-point mark. If he continues like this, the Eagles are a huge threat this season.

 

9 – ADAM TRELOAR  (29)

Four week average – 37.5

Season average – 18.75

This system is made for him – he’s a workhorse. Back for four games, Treloar has averaged 37.5 points per outing since round five. 30 touches a game seem like a formality to him at times.

 

8 – TOBY GREENE  (9)

Four week average – 25.0

Season average – 25.25

One of my favourite players, despite missing Round Seven he hit back with the sort of game in Round Eight that cements him as one of the genuine stars of the game.

 

7 – NIC NAITANUI  (5)

Four week average – 32.5

Season average – 23.5

Amazingly steady for a bloke that plays such limited minutes. Nic Nat has scored in every game this season, his influence on the game absolutely undoubted by anyone who has watched. I think the Round Eight win over Brodie Grundy opened the eyes of the few who refused to believe.

 

6 – MAX GAWN  (21)

Four week average – 35.5

Season average – 22.62

The resurgence in the Dees can be attributed to three blokes, and they all feature heavily here. Max is the reliable contested marking big man that every team would love. Is he the best tap ruckman in the game, or is the bloke at number seven? Can’t wait til they square off.

 

5 – CLAYTON OLIVER  (22)

Four week average – 37.5

Season average – 21.87

Yes, I know he sometimes hacks the footy, but far out he does so much right I feel it’s unfair to dwell on that aspect. Tackles, clearances, inside 50s… in the past month, Clayton Oliver has done it all, averaging 37.5 points per game.

 

4 – CHARLIE DIXON (3)

Four week average – 24.75

Season average – 28.50

With two of the highest scores of the season to his name, big Charlie has been able to ride out two low scores in the last three weeks to retain his place in the top five.

 

3 – JOSH J KENNEDY  (-)

Four week average –37.25

Season average – 23.75

With a bullet! Averaging 46.6 points per game over the last three weeks, JK has bullied his way into the top three here, and into the Coleman Medal race.

 

2 – CHRISTIAN PETRACCA  (33)

Four week average – 39.0

Season average – 22.62

The bull has made the AFL world sit up and take notice over the past month, and the impact of his play can be seen here. Over the past three weeks, Petracca has an average score of 47.6 over that period as he has emerged as one of the most exciting players in the game

 

1 – LACHIE NEALE  (1)

Four week average – 28.5

Season average – 36.62

Number one for the second straight period after coming in at second for the rankings (after round four), Neale has continued to power on, with his biggest outing of the season coming in Round Eight. He has the highest season average by a looong way.

 

So, I should point out here that reputation means squat in this system. As you can see, there is no Dusty, no Cripps, no Bont and Danger is scraping in at number 42. I’m happy with that, and will address some of the more glaring omissions in a little bit, but it is important to remember that it is the most recent four weeks of footy that give players a huge boost.

In order for a player to maintain their place – someone like Nic Nat for instance, they have to perform well ongoing. He scored poorly in the first four rounds, but he did score. In Rounds 5-8 he went from averaging 14.5 points per week to 32.5, which is why he has been able to retain his spot in the top ten. His lousy start also indicates why he was way down at number 37 in our first rankings after Round Four.

No defenders in the top ten, yet there are six from 11-20, so I am quite okay with that for the moment. I set out to have a system not completely dominated by mids, so roughly a third of the top 20 being defenders sits well. Of course, I’d like to see one or two push for the top ten.

Three rucks in the top 20 seems about right to me, but I reckon we can use this system to inform us that Brodie Grundy is just not having the same kind of season he had in 2019. Last year, he basically broke this system. He jumped to the top in the first ranking period. This time around… he is the fifth-best ruckman.

 

SOME QUESTIONS

I’m sure you have plenty of your own, so I will try to knock a few over before we start. For context, Lachie Neale is averaging 36.6 points per game in this system, with just one scoreless week. He is the yardstick and is demonstrating the kind of consistency that will be hard to catch.

Whilst this system recognises those playing well in the recent four weeks, it also gives credit to those who have a strong body of work behind them, and that is Lachie Neale… on both accounts, actually.

 

HOW THE HELL IS CLAYTON OLIVER SO HIGH?

Good question. Allow me to elaborate.

Three of Clayton Oliver’s first four rounds saw him score donuts. Yep, big fat delicious zeroes. However, since then he has averaged 37.5 per game. In contrast, Lachie Neale has averaged 28.5. Oliver picks up consistent points in disposals (not disposal efficiency), contested touches, clearances, inside 50s and tackles. The bloke does it all.

However, let’s just say he scores bugger all for the next two weeks and the Dees fall in a hole – two of those decent-scoring weeks will get a 50% penalty and he will drop suddenly as he doesn’t have the body of work behind him to fall back on.

In contrast, Neale averaged 45ish for the first four weeks, so he has half of those points sitting there on his totals for the rest of the season. That’d be why he’s number one.

Confused? Good!

It just means that Oliver has had a great four week patch, but it could all come undone pretty easily. Neale could miss a week and it wouldn’t hurt him as much.

 

WHERE’S DYLAN SHIEL?

He’s at 59, but a couple of weeks off due to suspension do him absolutely no favours. That’s the sort of thing that hurts right now, but will also hurt in two weeks, when these goose eggs are still weighted at 100% whilst his big game in Round Five cops the 50% penalty.

A long road back for Dylan.

 

I THOUGHT JOSH KENNEDY WAS HAVING A POOR YEAR?

So did I after Round Five! However, since then, JK has found some form, with two back-to-back big games in Rounds seven and eight catapulting him up the table. He has averaged 43.3 points for the last three weeks, but as with Clayton Oliver, now needs to build a good body of work to remain near the top. One slip up, and he tumbles.

 

WHO ARE THE BIG NAMES MISSING?

DUSTIN MARTIN – Started to build in Round Eight, but with five zeroes from eight rounds… not setting the world on fire.

NAT FYFE – Probably surfing.

THE BONT – Hold onto your hats… he’s at 131. Believe it or not, some players’ numbers are up across the board this season. Bont is not one of them.

PATRICK CRIPPS – I’m actually really comfortable with him being nowhere near the 50. He sits right behind Bont at 132. “Oh, but he gets tagged and scragged…”

Yeah, so have midfielders for years. This isn’t a charity, and as I said above, reputations mean little here. Anyway, it seems the Blues don’t need him putting on a cape this season – that’s a positive.

TOM MITCHELL – 186, and if you’ve watched him this season I’m not sure you’d argue.

TRAVIS BOAK – No scores in three of the past four weeks. That hurts.

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 – Dan Butler, Brad Sheppard, Jacob Weitering and Hugh McCluggage. With me already giving away Shiel at 58, there’s a few more for you.

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…

SCOTT PENDLEBURY – 70

IZAK RANKINE – 94

STEPHEN CONIGLIO – 113

CHARLIE CAMERON – 114

JY SIMPKIN – 138 (Massive fall)

NAT FYFE – 148

CONNOR ROZEE – 185

JEREMY MCGOVERN – 215

 

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, which includes a list of the top ten scoring games of the season to date.

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