AFL 10 months ago

Alex Docherty's Top 50 AFL Players Post-2017 Part One: 50-41

  • Alex Docherty's Top 50 AFL Players Post-2017 Part One: 50-41

    ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 07: Jake Lever of the Crows competes for the ball against Jack Redpath and Marcus Bontempelli of the Bulldogs during the round 16 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval on July 7, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Earlier this year, I wrote up my top 50 players ahead of the 2017 season, and for the second-year running here on Bulldogs Centre, I have named my top 50 AFL players of the year at the conclusion of the 2017 season. 

As is so often the case anytime someone makes a list of their top 50 players in any given sport, building this list of top 50 wasn't easy and there were plenty of individuals who can consider themselves extremely unlucky.

To see who made the pre-season Top 50 - Click Here

In the first of the five-part series today, I will roll through players ranked 50-41, and each day we will announce a further 10 players until we reach the number one player.

50. Neville Jetta – Melbourne
Pre-Season Ranking: N/A
Career Games: 116
Career Goals: 24

I have got no doubt that this selection will raise a lot of arguments at this slot, but I have followed Neville Jetta's game closely all throughout the 2017 season and it is very rare to see a mid-sized player play the traditional role in negating the opposing small forward. Jetta has taken on some of the game's best small forwards and has consistently come out on top. He was named in the All-Australian squad of 40 but was stiff not to get selected, but did finish in the top five in Melbourne's best and fairest.

49. Shaun Higgins – North Melbourne
Pre-Season Ranking: N/A
Career Games: 183
Career Goals: 196

In 2017, Shaun Higgins made the transformation into a very good half-forward to a very solid midfielder, boosting his averages in disposals (16 per game to 23 per game), tackles (3.5 per game to five per game), inside 50s (2.5 per game to 5.5 per game) and clearances (one per game to four per game), and with this improvement came his first-ever club best and fairest award, taking home North Melbourne's Syd Barker Medal ahead of Ben Cunnington and Ben Brown.

48. Adam Treloar – Collingwood
Pre-Season Ranking: 20
Career Games: 122
Career Goals: 74

Backed up a great first-year at Collingwood with an equally impressive 2017 season, averaging just under 30 disposals a game (seventh-highest average in the league) as well as maintaining his averages of six tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s per game. A lot of people will knock on his inefficiency by foot (Averaged four clangers per game in 2017) but not many players can say that they average 30 touches of the ball per game and a top-three finish in Collingwood's best and fairest highlights his talent.

47. Charlie Dixon – Port Adelaide
Pre-Season Ranking: N/A
Career Games: 106
Career Goals: 173

Despite a shocking performance in front of the big sticks in the Elimination Final (kicking 3.6), there's no question that Charlie Dixon has greatly improved this year in comparison to his first season last year. The former Gold Coast Sun played every game for the Power in 2017 and was one goal shy of cracking the 50-goal mark, kicking 49.30 for the year – Imagine if he could kick straighter? Also second in the league for contested marking, averaging 2.5 marks per game and was second in Port's best and fairest.

46. Tom Lynch – Adelaide
Pre-Season Ranking: N/A
Career Games: 106
Career Goals: 156

A very important piece of Adelaide's exciting forward structure, Tom Lynch is widely considered as the 'glue guy' in Adelaide's forward six, because of his work up the ground and his ability to get his fellow forwards involved in scoring on a consistent basis. Lynch is in the top 10 in the league for score involvements as well as averaging 20 disposals and seven marks per game and kicked a very solid return of 31.20 for the Crows in 2017. Very underrated player and deserves a spot in the top 50.

45. Jeff Garlett – Melbourne
Pre-Season Ranking: N/A
Career Games: 167
Career Goals: 294

Small forward Jeff Garlett produced one of his best seasons since his early days at Carlton, where he kicked nearly 50 goals in the 2011 season. In 2017, Garlett played 21 games and kicked his highest return since 2013, kicking 42.28 from 11 disposals and 3.5 tackles per game. In a season which saw solid improvement from Demon players all across the board, Garlett led all Melbourne players in goals kicked and was one of three Demons named in the All-Australian squad of 40.

44. Matthew Kreuzer – Carlton
Pre-Season Ranking: N/A
Career Games: 161
Career Goals: 84

Whilst I've never been a huge Matthew Kreuzer fan, it's hard not to acknowledge what a great year he has had after so many seasons that have been plagued by injury and indifferent form. Averaged a career-best 31 hitouts as well as career-highs in disposals (15 per game), tackles (five per game) and clearances (four per game). Capped off a fine year with a top-three finish in Carlton's best and fairest count, as well as a spot in the All-Australian squad of 40.

43. Luke Shuey – West Coast
Pre-Season Ranking: 36
Career Games: 157
Career Goals: 122

12 months on from winning his maiden best and fairest award at West Coast, Luke Shuey backed up his 2016 campaign with an equally superb 2017, finishing in the top three in the Eagles' best and fairest count this year, averaging 26 disposals, six tackles, six clearances, four marks and four inside 50s per game, and then there's his mammoth game in the Elimination Final, where he kicked his second and match-winning goal in extra-time on top of his 32 disposals, 11 tackles and five clearances.

42. Taylor Adams – Collingwood
Pre-Season Ranking: N/A
Career Games: 97
Career Goals: 36

In a Collingwood midfield that is headlined by the likes of Pendlebury, Sidebottom and Treloar, I strongly feel that Taylor Adams still gets a little bit overlooked. However, this should change if he continues in the same vein in 2017. Adams averaged 29.5 disposals, six tackles, five marks, five clearances and four inside 50s per game and was a vote away from sharing Collingwood's best and fairest with Steele Sidebottom. He is a very consistent ball-winner and will only get better at 23 years of age.

41. Jake Lever – Adelaide/Melbourne
Pre-Season Ranking: N/A
Career Games: 56
Career Goals: 3

At only 21 years of age, Jake Lever is rapidly emerging as one of the game's best tall defenders today. Not only can he negate the opposing forwards so well, but he is amongst the game's best intercept defenders, leading the league in intercept possessions, averaging 9.5 per game and he is in the top-two in the league for intercept marks. Averages 16 disposals, six marks and 3.5 rebound 50s per game. His exit from Adelaide was far from harmonious, however Melbourne fans will be excited to see this young star in the red and blue in 2018.

Stay Tuned On Bulldogs Centre As On Tuesday We Will Present Players 40-31.

Pictures Courtesy Of Getty Images
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