Well, with the Brownlow once again resulting in the top ten crammed with mids, you can trust The Old Mongrel to give you something a little different.
Maybe not better, but different.
Sometimes, when you ask readers for opinions and suggestions, you get some pearlers in response.
Of course, you get some shockers, as well (no names) but when you sift through them all, you can find some real gems. One such suggestion came from a man in our Mongrel Punt Footy Group on Facebook, where he suggested an award for the best small forward in the game each season.
Thanks, Zachary Chimes.
Little did he know, but I have dabbled in that area, using a couple of different formulas to give us the X-Factor Player of the Year for the last five years… I’ve just been really slack with it. Like Sir Edmund Slackbladder, only not slack in the bladder… that you know of, at least.
Whilst his work inside 50 has seen the All-Australian selectors neglect him at times, Charlie Cameron has been rewarded for his consistency in our system, with the Brisbane forward collecting three of the first five awards we’ve undertaken. Not only was he kicking goals, but was also ranked highly in both score involvements and marks inside 50 – he does get on the end of plenty of marks on the lead.
This season, I applied the formula a little differently, bringing it in line with the way our Wingman of the Year award is decided. It is a way for me to find our X-Factor Player of the Year without having to crunch numbers from week to week. It still incorporates stats, but also adds coaches’ votes and All-Australian selections to the mix.
Also, in the past, I have permitted midfielders to feature in this process, as long as they’ve averaged a goal per game That now ceases. They have the Brownlow, MVP, and ALFCA Champion Player of the Year awards to keep them happy, as well as just about every media award on offer.
This award will now be for non-key forwards only.
And it gives us plenty to work with.
Players must average a goal per game to qualify. As a small forward, your job is to hit the scoreboard. If you cannot average a goal per game, you don’t make the cut.
If you are one of the two key forwards on a team, you cannot be considered. Let’s look at Melbourne as an example. Their key forwards are Ben Brown, Tom McDonald, and Jacob Van Rooyen. To me, Bayley Fritsch is a third forward, albeit a very, very good one, so he makes the cut.
At Essendon, you have Sam Weideman and Peter Wright, with Kyle Langford as the mid-size forward. He makes the cut, particularly as he wasn’t really considered a forward option until this season – he has traditionally played on the wing when healthy.
And at GWS, the key forward marking targets are Jesse Hogan and Jake Riccardi, so Toby Greene gets the green light… pardon the poor pun.
In regard to assessing whether players were mids or forwards, it was a bit of a grey area. I watch a heap of footy, and went by what I saw. Someone like Connor Rozee, who hits the scoreboard was an interesting one. Some may suggest he be included. Same with Christian Petracca, I suppose. But those guys are mids first and forwards second. A player like Shai Bolton… he is probably the reverse of that.
And that’s about it. Stats used are goals, score involements, goal assists, marks inside 50, on-percenters, and tackles inside 50. I reckon they’re your keys for non-key forwards. Add in your coaches’ votes and “viola”… we get our leaderboard.
Before we get into the 2023 results, the Top Five and winners for seasons 2018-22 are listed below. I’ve left off the scores, as they were tabulated under different criteria, so it would look a bit funny compared to this season.
1 – LUKE BREUST (HAW)
2 – JACK GUNSTON (HAW)
3 – JORDAN DE GOEY (COLL)
4 – ROBBIE GRAY (PORT)
5 – JAMIE CRIPPS (WCE)
1 – CHARLIE CAMERON (BRIS)
2 – MICHAEL WALTERS (FREO)
3 – JEREMY FINLAYSON (GWS)
4 – ANTHONY MCDONALD-TIPUNGWUTI (ESS)
5 – SAM LLOYD (WB)
1 – LIAM RYAN (WCE)
2 – CHRISTIAN PETRACCA (MELB) *
3 – DAN BUTLER (ST K)
4 – CHARLIE CAMERON (BRIS)
5 – JACK GUNSTON (HAW)
1 – CHARLIE CAMERON (BRIS)
2 -TOM PAPLEY (SYD)
3 – MARCUS BONTEMPELLI (WB) *
4 – TOBY GREENE (GWS)
5 – BAYLEY FRITSCH (MELB)
1 – CHARLIE CAMERON (BRIS)
2 – ISAAC HEENEY (SYD)
3 – BAYLEY FRITSCH (MELB)
4 – SHAI BOLTON (RICH)
5 – TYSON STENGLE (GEEL)
*Both Petracca and Bont cannot be included as of 2023 with the decision to have only those who played the majority of their time forward. Both Bont and Trac scored heavily in Score Involvements in the seasons they finished in the top five. Its easier to collect those numbers playing in the midfield.
And now, the 2023 results
1 – TOBY GREENE (116 PTS)
2 – KYLE LANGFORD (93 PTS)
3 – CHARLIE CAMERON (90 PTS)
4 – KYSAIAH PICKETT (66 PTS)
5 – SHAI BOLTON (52 PTS)
HALF-ARSED 2023 ANALYSIS
A career-best season for Toby Greene saw him net not only 66 goals, but the All-Australian captaincy, as well. He became the most reliable matchwinner in the game, and picked up 9+ coaches votes on five occasions. It was almost the complete season for Toby, with just one point denying him the opportunity to head into the Grand Final as captain. What an inspired choice by GWS to name him as the sole leader, though, huh?
Who would have seen that coming a few years back when he was public enemy number one?
i mean, the smart ones did…
Kyle Langford was wonderful for the Bombers all season. His clean hands at both ground level and in the air saw him as one of just three Bombers to top 50 goals since Matthew Lloyd called it a day. Not bad for a wingman.
Charlie Cameron had another top-five finish – the only year he has not featured is the first year I started keeping tabs on this award – 2018. Five out of six years… not a bad effort from the bloke. The areas that let him down were goal assists and score involvements. Charlie is electrifying, but hinvolvementsnts skew to shots at goal of his own. As a case in point, Toby Greene had 26 goal assists to go with his 66 goals. Charlie had 17 to go with his 56. Greene was also +52 in score involvements on Charlie.
Kysaiah Pickett led all eligible players for tackles inside 50 and ranked highly in score involvements, as well, whilst Shai Bolton picked up points in both score involvements and one-percenters. He also caught the eye of coaches, as well.
Interestingly, the number one goal assist player, Gryan Miers, did not average a goal per game, and was thus ineligible. Had I bent the rules to include him, his 44 points would not have made the top-five, anyway. He finished seventh, with Jamie Elliott sitting in fifth on 50 points.
I’ll be covering this a little more often in 2024, as now that I have streamlined the process, it is not something I’ll dread doing – it gets that way for some things.
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