One of the things that always bugged me abut the AFL was the way they just neglected to hand out awards or innovate in any way with season-end accolades.
We’ve always had the Brownlow Medal and the Coleman has been something that people have had an interest in since even before it was named after the Essendon champion. They did institute the Rising Star Award back in 1993, but it has taken organisations like the Coaches Association or the Players Association to add awards to the bunch.
However, in the mix with all those awards – mostly won by midfielders, anyway, defenders always seemed to get shafted.
Ask yourself – when was the last defender to place in the top five in the Brownlow? When was the last defender to win an MVP or an AFLCA Champion Player of the Year?
I’ll wait while you go look it up, but suffice to say, there is a clear difference between what the AFL considers worth honouring and what deserves to be.
Luckily, that’s not the case here, at The Mongrel.
In 2020, I decided to do something about it and institute a formula to work out the best defensive player in the league on a week-to-week basis, culminating with the player with the most points being awarded the Defensive Player of the Year Award at the conclusion of the home-and-away season.
In 2020, Luke Ryan was the man standing atop the heap.
In 2021, Jacob Weitering took over at the top.
And in 2022, it was James Sicily rising above all others… and being ignored by the All-Australian selectors, just as Weitering was the year previous.
Using a combination of statistics and votes, we have refined our formula to accurately represent defenders of all types – the big contest-killers, the interceptors, the rebounders, and even the defensive forwards and midfielders feature heavily when they play well. And what it leads to is a mixture of the very best defenders in the land battling it out for the award.
And here we are in the fourth year of the award, ready to unleash again.
Below are the Round One results in what is certain to be another awesome season for the defensive players in the league. We also track the statistical achievement known as the Defensive-Double-Double in this column, and its rare older, bigger, nastier brother – the Defensive-Triple-Double. The double-double is notched when a player has double figures in two of the three following categories.
Of course, the Defensive-Triple-Double requires double figures in all three… which is why it is so rare.
Anyway, enough of my ramblings. Let’s jump into the weekly rankings for the backmen and see who comes out on top.
Now, I know some of you will ask – I am a member; why can’t I see this? This is for the Inner Circle Member tier – always has been. This is what these people generously pay a bit extra for, so I am more than happy to dive deep for them when it comes to this content. If you’re a Mongrel Member and you’d like to upgrade, go right ahead. If not, that’s cool, as well. But this is not a new thing – has been that way for over two years now. Wanna join them?