Well, we’ve got 30 in the books, and I’m back with the next ten. All year I’ve compiled stats and sorted through rankings to end right here, with the final 50 of the Mongrel Punt’s Player Power Rankings for 2019.
Before we continue, I must give a huge shout out to our friends at Vinyl Media, without whom this article would not be possible. If you need a decal or wrap on your car, some signage for your business, or a large printing job done, Vinyl Media are your guys. Tell them The Mongrel sent you, and hopefully they won’t charge you double. I think they like me…
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Now, if you’re new to this, please give yourself a refresher. We compile these rankings fortnightly. Listed below are the entire fortnightly rankings for you to peruse at your leisure… like you’ve got nothing better to do, right?
1st Rankings - published after R4
2nd Rankings - published after R6
3rd Rankings - published after R8
4th Rankings - published after R10
5th Rankings - published after R12
6th Rankings - published after R14
7th Rankings - published after R16
8th Rankings - published after R18
9th Rankings - published after R20
Okay, we up to speed? Good.
What are The Mongrel Punt Player Power Rankings?
I’m glad I asked. It is a statistical-based analysis that rates players based on criteria relative to the positions they play. Without going into too much detail, every week, players accumulate certain statistics. As they reach certain trigger points each week, points are awarded.
For example, defenders are assessed on disposals with a certain efficiency applied, as a lot of the ball they receive is uncontested across half back, and it is expected that they’ll hit targets. They’re also assessed on intercept possessions, one percenters/spoils, rebound 50s and metres gained. Throw in votes from the Mongrel team as well as the coaches votes and you get a pretty decent snapshot of those players who are having a big impact.
Forwards, mids and rucks all have categories of their own they’re assessed on. It means that players are being rated on the areas of the game they’re actually there to provide. It’s no use throwing things out there that are not applicable. Ben Brown is not going to get many Rebound 50s. Dane Rampe is not going to get many tackles inside attacking 50. Players are only rated in stats pertienent to their roles.
Is it perfect? No, no, no… not by a long shot.
Before I get the standard complaints, it is worth noting that this was a trial run. I will be making adjustments in the lead up to 2020 and they’ll include a higher trigger for clearances for rucks, and lower triggers for defenders in regard to both tackles and rebound 50s. they’re the areas I found I was being a little harsh and perhaps I expected a larger output from those blokes.
I thought about changing things up mid-season but for the time being, I stuck with the system I employed right from Round One to ensure integrity across all rounds.
If youre looking for ranks 50-41, you can find them right here.
Players 40-31 are here
Players 30-21 are here
Righto… let’s get to the next ten.
20 – BEN CUNNINGTON (NORTH MELBOURNE)
Left out of the All-Australian team for… some reason, Cunnington recorded an increase in his disposal stats for the fourth consecutive season, topping out at 26.64 touches per game. His first half of the season was incredible, as he notched 10+ clearances in six of the first 12 games. In that same period, he had 20+ contested disposals on five occasions.
Never one to shy away from a chance to get his hands dirty, the Kangaroos’ media-averse star carried his team’s midfield early in the season, and would have been ranked higher if not for a five game slump that seemed to make people forget about his stellar early season form. It certainly caused the AA selectors to forget.
19 – DUSTIN MARTIN (RICHMOND)
Martin was probably the antithesis of Cunnington, having an un-Dusty-like start to the season before coming on very strong down the stretch. He cracked 30 touches just once in the first eight rounds, but did have a rather handy 25 disposal and three goal outing against the Swans in Round Five.
Martin’s finish to the season coincided with a strong push from the Tigers as they made their charge for top four. A four-game stretch saw him average 34.25 touches, 1.25 goals and an incredible ten inside fifties. Martin now looms as a potential player of the finals series… again. Anyone who wrote him off may be looking like a fool in a few weeks’ time.
18 – MARCUS BONTEMPELLI (WESTERN BULLDOGS)
Not the fairy tale finish to the season for Bont, but his 2019 was a glimpse into what he is capable of. Career-high numbers in disposals, inside fifties and clearances made Bontempelli a weapon of mass destruction with the ball in hand.
Despite his ability to win the ball in close, Bont also ranked fifth in the league in metres gained as he punished teams with his penetrating kicking. A perfect mix of inside/outside footy, there is not much Bont cannot do. Whilst being fourth at the club in disposals, he was undoubtedly first for impact. He was first in score involvements and clearances, whilst ranking third in tackles. Bont made the step many had been waiting for this season, and is so good that people don’t even speculate as to what his ceiling is.
17 – DION PRESTIA (RICHMOND)
The unsung hero of the Richmond midfield had a stellar 2019, notching career high numbers as the most reliable midfielder the Tigers had. When they got off to a poor start to 2019 due to injuries, it was the efforts of both Prestia and Dylan Grimes that held the team together.
Prestia’s clearance numbers were his highest since his 2015 year with the Suns when he averaged an astonishing 8.50 per game (albeit playing only eight games). He did not miss a match this season and had a marked increase in both contested and uncontested touches. Prestia finished the home and away season with 30+ touches in five of the last six games, missing on a streak of six-straight by just one possession in Round 22.
16 – TRAVIS BOAK (PORT ADELAIDE)
Travis Boak reminds me of a gunfighter who walks into a bar and has all eyes on him. He knows there’ll be trouble. He knows he is in for a fight, but he walks in there anyway, and he has his hand ready to draw and start firing.
I state that because he was basically the only bloke up for the fight in the Port Adelaide midfield this season, working his ass off to keep the team competitive in a season where things just refused to go right for them. Boak had 30+ touches in 13 games this season and was an astonishing omission from the All-Australian team. It was the first time in his career he topped 30 disposals per game, and added a career-high in clearances as well.
No longer the official leader of the team, he was their heart and soul this season, and really, if he can’t crack the AA team with a season like the one he produced, I’m not sure he ever will.
15 – JOSH DUNKLEY (WESTERN BULLDOGS)
If we had a second half of the season Brownlow, Josh Dunkley would win it.
Unleashed into the midfield after an unsuccessful first quarter of the season as a forward, Dunkley exploded into action, racking up huge numbers in multiple categories. It was no secret that the Dogs really kicked into high gear with Dunkley in the middle complementing the run of Jack Macrae and the class of Bontempelli. He was the grunt man, but with so much more up his sleeve.
From Round 11 onwards, Dunkley recorded nine 30+ disposal games, and added to those numbers with three games of 10+ tackles and easily notched career-high numbers in disposals, clearances, tackles and inside fifties. With a whole season as a midfielder looming in 2020, the Dogs are starting to look scarier.
14- JAMES SICILY (HAWTHORN)
The lone Hawk to make the cut, Sicily was supreme in the air as a half back for the Hawks. Of course, that didn’t stop Alastair Clarkson from experimenting and throwing him forward for a few weeks just to shake things up. Part of me wonders whether that trial as a forward actually cost Sic a shot at the All-Australian team.
He was ranked second in the league in total intercepts, and sixth in total rebound fifties. Sadly, much like Dane Rampe, Sicily has a penchant for being remembered for what he does wrong as opposed to the many things he does right. Chances are you’ll have a more vivid memory of him giving away a free kick against the Western Bulldogs early in the season than you will the way he completely monstered Mason Cox toward the end of the year.
Until Sicily gets the undisciplined acts out of his game, he runs the risk of being remembered as a player who could have been great.
13 – PATRICK CRIPPS (CARLTON)
Righto… cue the outcry from Carlton fans who believe this is way too low for Cripps to be rated.
Look… I don’t create the rules here, I just… actually I do create the rules, but what I don’t do is screw with numbers, and after a blistering start to the year, Cripps tapered off for a fair while there in the middle, including games where he had just 11 and 12 disposals. He had 10+ clearances on six occasions this season, with four of those games coming in the first eight rounds.
After the Bolton exit, Cripps looked to have rediscovered his joy in footy, and his spectacular 19-clearance effort against the Adelaide Crows was one of the best individual performances of the season.
The Blues are desperate for some help for Cripps in the middle to ease the burden on him. He is an amazing talent, but he has toiled away without genuine support for too long now. Imagine how damaging he could be with another A-Grader beside him, taking some of the heat?
12 – CLAYTON OLIVER (MELBOURNE)
This one came as a bit of a surprise to me, but on a poor team, Oliver’s season was quite remarkable. Let me run it down for you.
He topped 30 disposals per game for the first time, averaged a career-high 6.95 clearances per game (good for sixth in the league), and trailed only Lachie Neale for the most contested disposals in the league. Meanwhile, his team stunk!
In all the exaltation of Paddy Cripps, people tend to forget that Oliver is just 22 years old. He is one of just three players to amass 400 contested disposals in a season, and is harshly criticised for one as young as he is. If the Demons can find some class on the outside to capitalise on his grunt work, people will start appreciating what oliver does do, as opposed to picking holes in what he doesn’t do.
11 – TIM KELLY (GEELONG)
The polar opposite of Josh Dunkley, Tim Kelly did the bulk of his good work before the bye. He had a three game stretch that set the football world abuzz between Round 7-9 where he had double figures in in clearances, and added 21 contested touches against the Kangaroos in Round Eight.
Made the AA team on the back of his first half of the year where he was arguably the Cats’ most potent midfielder. He finished tenth in league in total clearances, but strangely was out of the top ten in every other main statistic.
With no movement on his contract situation, Kelly looks set to move back to WA. With that AA blazer testament to the kind of player he is, and can be, will the Eagles have enough to offer the Cats? Or will they have to swing a couple of side deals to get the right amount of assets to trade for him?
I think he’ll get to West Coast, by hook, or by crook.
And there we go – the first 30 players are now done. The big 10 up next
Got anything to add? By all means hit us up on our socials. I’m sure as the numbers trickle down to the top ten, people will be quite vocal about who is missing and who is too high. I’m open to discussing it, as always.
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