AFL 10 months ago

Alex Docherty's Top 50 AFL Players Post-2017 Part 4: 20-11

  • Alex Docherty's Top 50 AFL Players Post-2017 Part 4: 20-11

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 30: Joe Daniher of the Bombers is congratulated by team mates after kicking a goal during the round 19 AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and the Essendon Bombers at Etihad Stadium on July 30, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

We are nearing the end of my top 50 players from the 2017 AFL season as we start to roll through the final 20 players, with players 20-11 to be named today, with several of this group of 10 very unlucky not to make the top 10.

In case you have missed any of the parts or if you have just joined us, have a look at the following parts before proceeding through with the latest installment of this series:

Part One - Players 50-41
Part Two - Players 40-31
Part Three - Players 30-21

So now let's begin on the fourth part of this five part series as we name players 20-11.

20. Michael Hibberd – Melbourne
Pre-Season Ranking: N/A
Career Games: 102
Career Goals: 12

Having spent the whole of 2016 on the sidelines for his involvement in Essendon's supplements scandal, Michael Hibberd requested a trade to Melbourne ahead of the 2017 season and despite missing the opening four games of the year with a minor achilles injury, he flourished as a key component in Melbourne's defensive six. He was top five in the league for rebound 50s, averaging a career-best of nearly seven rebound 50s per game along with 27 disposals (also a career-high) and five marks per game and was rewarded a spot in the All-Australian team.

19. Jeremy McGovern – West Coast
Pre-Season Ranking: 23
Career Games: 79
Career Goals: 29

Season 2017 solidified Jeremy McGovern as an elite key defender as he notched his second-straight All-Australian slot in the back line with another stunning year which saw him play every game for the Eagles and was the league's best intercept mark, averaging nearly four intercept marks per game, along with averages of 16 disposals and eight marks per game. A top-two finish in West Coast's best and fairest count outlines how important he is to the West Coast line up.

18. Eddie Betts – Adelaide
Pre-Season Ranking: 9
Career Games: 277
Career Goals: 534

In comparison to 2016, Eddie Betts' campaign in 2017 was a bit less productive as he kicked 20 less goals than his 2016 goal tally of 75 goals, but regardless of that he still reigned supreme as the game's best small forward today as he led all small/mid-sized forwards in goals with 55 goals for the year and was fourth in the league in goal assists. In addition, he picked up his spot in the forward pocket in the All-Australian team for the third consecutive year. 

17. Dayne Zorko – Brisbane Lions
Pre-Season Ranking: 46
Career Games: 122
Career Goals: 135

It's so pleasing to see this man finally get some recognition in what he does on the footy field. Not only did he star in Brisbane's midfield, averaging 25 disposals, seven marks, five clearances, five inside 50s and four marks per game, he found himself kicking goals with such regularity, kicking 34 goals in 21 games and led all Lions for goals kicked for the second-straight year. Capped off a stunning year for the wooden-spooners with an All-Australian selection and third successive club best and fairest win.

16. Zach Merrett – Essendon
Pre-Season Ranking: 45
Career Games: 81
Career Goals: 31

Broke through in 2016 when the Bombers had a depleted roster, but he flourished when Heppell, Watson and company came back into the fold this year, averaging 30 disposals per game for the second-straight year and also averaged five tackles, four clearances, four marks and four inside 50s per game and earned some recognition with a spot on the wing in the All-Australian team. It's incredible to think that this young lad is only 21 and has an eternity of brilliant football ahead of him.

15. Paddy Ryder – Port Adelaide
Pre-Season Ranking: N/A
Career Games: 210
Career Goals: 146

Proved to be the best ruckman in the land when he was named as the sole ruckman in the All-Australian side, and whilst some will complain that Sam Jacobs destroyed him in the ruck when the Power and the Crows had their last showdown, Ryder's influence across 22 games he played this year was very obvious. Averaged a career-best 37 hitouts per game as well as 12 disposals, four clearances, three marks and three inside 50s per game, but has shown he can be a very dangerous player anywhere around the ground.

14. Marcus Bontempelli – Western Bulldogs
Pre-Season Ranking: 4
Career Games: 85
Career Goals: 78

It was an indifferent 2017 for 'The Bont'. His ability to be thrown anywhere on the ground and have an impact on the field was telling in a lot of games this year. He averaged 23 disposals, six tackles, four inside 50s, four clearances and four marks per game but had one flaw in his game that stood out – his wayward kicking in front of goal, kicking 20.29 for the year. But it still didn't stop him from winning a second consecutive Charlie Sutton Medal as the Dogs' best and fairest and a spot in the All-Australian squad of 40.

13. Sam Docherty – Carlton
Pre-Season Ranking: 44
Career Games: 92
Career Goals: 14

After a breakout 2016 campaign, Sam Docherty managed to better his game even further by averaging career-highs in disposals (28 per game), marks (nine per game) and nearly averaging six rebound 50s per game. He led the league in kicks and marks at the end of the regular season and was in the top three in the league for rebound 50s and was recognised for his efforts with a spot in the half-back line in the All-Australian team this year. There's talk of him pushing up to the midfield in 2018, but Docherty remains one of the more damaging half-back players at this present time.

12. Matt Crouch – Adelaide
Pre-Season Ranking: N/A
Career Games: 72
Career Goals: 17

Matt Crouch is one of those players that will have many casual AFL fans asking 'Where did he come from?' but the truth is that this young man has been steadily building his game over the past 24 months and exploded in 2017 by averaging 33 disposals per game, six clearances, five tackles, three inside 50s and three marks per game. Incredibly enough, Crouch never recorded anything less than 27 disposals in any of his 25 games this season and was deservedly awarded Adelaide's best and fairest as well as a spot on the All-Australian team – A budding star of the competition.

11. Joe Daniher – Essendon
Pre-Season Ranking: N/A
Career Games: 93
Career Goals: 173

Joe Daniher is the kind of player that will bring people to the footy, he can take awesome grabs he can kick match-winning bags of goals and at 23 years of age he's already proven he is going to be a star in the AFL. Season 2017 saw Daniher go from 43 goals in 2016 to 65.39 this year from an average of 15 disposals, six marks and three inside 50s per game, and was rightfully recognised with a spot in the All-Australian team, as well as taking home Essendon's Crichton Medal as the Bombers' best and fairest. Very unlucky not to make the top 10, but there will be no doubt he will become a top 10 player sooner rather than later.

You don't want to miss the final edition of this five-part series as we present the top 10 AFL players of the 2017 season on Friday morning.

Pictures Courtesy Of Getty Images

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