Defensive Player of the Year 2024 – The Contenders

So, I went to update the Mongrel Punt Defensive Player of the Year Award, and then I realised I didn’t pot one last week…

… which is pretty crap of me, huh?

In my defence, I’d just moved into a new place (any of you Mongrels from Sunbury?) and my stuff was everywhere. I made the effort to write a whole new piece, and then forgot to publish it as I dealt with movers, internet, foxtel, kids, new school, rubbish left behind by the former owner (thanks mate), and other assorted things as they came up.

Anyway, I wanted to drill down on those who have the capacity to win this thing, so I’ll take this week’s version to do so.


The Mongrel Punt DPOY fills a hole in the AFL landscape.

With so much attention lavished on the midfielders and forwards, I found that outside of the All-Australian team, there was no real recognition for the best defenders in the game. It was the same for wingmen, and we now cover those players in our Robbie Flower Wingman of the Year Award.

The Defensive Player of the Year does not have the name of a great player attached to it (yet) but what it does have is five years of data analysing the best defenders in the game, ranking them on a weekly basis, and compiling that data into a leaderboard for each season.

We started this in 2020, with Fremantle’s interceptor/defender making the most of the shortened season to win the inaugural award. This accompanied his initial All-Australian selection, however, since then only none of our DPOY selections have worn the blazer – how they missed out is genuinely concerning when you look at who did make it in those seasons.

Previous winners listed below.

2020 – LUKE RYAN





So, how does it work?

Each week, defenders are ranked in a range of categories pertinent to their roles as defenders. These include disposals combined with efficiency, one-percenters, intercepts, rebound 50s, metres gained, tackles, as well as votes from a range of sources.

There is particular focus on the purest of the defensive art – the spoils, and players who excel in that area tend to score consistently throughout the season, as evidenced by Andrews and Weitering winning the award.

That said, before moving into the midfield in 2023, Nick Daicos was the runaway leader, so as that, and this week’s rankings indicate, there is a definite possibility for a running, rebounding defender to take it home.

Okay, enough of the preamble. Let’s jump into the top 20 overall defenders, as ranked by The Mongrel’s highly technical, and genuinely flawless formula. Ahem…


Yep, that’s it for non Inner-Circle members. Sorry people – see below.


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 three years now.  Wanna join them?