AFL 9 months ago

Alex Docherty's Top 50 AFL Players Post-2017 Part 5: The Final Countdown

  • Alex Docherty's Top 50 AFL Players Post-2017 Part 5: The Final Countdown

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Alex Rance of the Tigers celebrates during the 2017 AFL Second Preliminary Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the GWS Giants at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 23, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

The time is finally upon us, as I announce the final 10 in my top 50 AFL players of the 2017 AFL season in the fifth and final installment of my top 50.

As it is every year, it was very hard to find a top 10 players to settle on, but I feel these 10 men have done a tremendous job all throughout the season and have been the ones who impacted the game in a big way.

Before we get underway, here's a quick recap of everyone who has made the top 50 so far.

50. Neville Jetta (Melbourne)
49. Shaun Higgins (North Melbourne)
48. Adam Treloar (Collingwood)
47. Charlie Dixon (Port Adelaide)
46. Tom Lynch (Adelaide)
45. Jeff Garlett (Melbourne)
44. Matthew Kreuzer (Carlton)
43. Luke Shuey (West Coast)
42. Taylor Adams (Collingwood)
41. Jake Lever (Adelaide/Melbourne)
40. Mitch Duncan (Geelong)
39. Jack Riewoldt (Richmond)
38. Toby Greene (GWS)
37. Dylan Roberton (St. Kilda)
36. Joel Selwood (Geelong)
35. Steele Sidebottom (Collingwood)
34. Elliot Yeo (West Coast)
33. Marc Murphy (Carlton)
32. Dayne Beams (Brisbane Lions)
31. Seb Ross (St. Kilda)
30. Callan Ward (GWS)
29. Jack Macrae (Western Bulldogs)
28. Jeremy Howe (Collingwood)
27. Sam Jacobs (Adelaide)
26. Rory Sloane (Adelaide)
25. Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)
24. Nat Fyfe (Fremantle)
23. Dylan Shiel (GWS)
22. Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide)
21. Ben Brown (North Melbourne)
20. Michael Hibberd (Melbourne)
19. Jeremy McGovern (West Coast)
18. Eddie Betts (Adelaide)
17. Dayne Zorko (Brisbane Lions)
16. Zach Merrett (Essendon)
15. Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide)
14. Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs)
13. Sam Docherty (Carlton)
12. Matt Crouch (Adelaide)
11. Joe Daniher (Essendon)

For explanations of all of these selections, click down below for the following players

Part One - Players 50-41
Part Two - Players 40-31
Part Three - Players 30-21
Part Four - Players 20-11

And so now, without any further delays, let's present my top 10 of season 2017.

10. Josh Kelly – Greater Western Sydney
Pre-Season Ranking: N/A
Career Games: 84
Career Goals: 53

Season 2017 catapulted young Josh Kelly into the elite bracket of midfielders, following a stunning season for the Giants, he would average career-highs of 29.5 disposals, six tackles, five inside 50s and five clearances per game and on top of this, he's also very dangerous around the goals, booting 19.24 for the year. Rightfully claimed his maiden club best and fairest win at GWS and a spot in the All-Australian side capped off a brilliant year for the 22-year old, who is only going to get better with age.

9. Rory Laird – Adelaide
Pre-Season Ranking: 33
Career Games: 101
Career Goals: 9

Laird solidified himself as one of the game's premier small defenders, with his ability to lock down as well as provide the run and rebound that is required for a running defender. Started the year with a personal-best 40 disposals against GWS and went on to average just under a career-high 30 disposals, per game as well as six marks per game and a career-high four rebound-50s per game. Finally got his All-Australian selection after a couple of years of missing out and finished in the top three in Adelaide's best and fairest.

8. Michael Hurley – Essendon
Pre-Season Ranking: 32
Career Games: 140
Career Goals: 108

After missing 12 months of action due to the WADA-imposed suspension, Michael Hurley did not skip a beat in his return to footy, as a key defender, he recorded absurd averages of 25.5 disposals, seven marks and seven rebound 50s per game to be given his second All-Australian selection at centre-half back, however missed out on a top-five placing in Essendon's best and fairest. Might've been soundly beaten in the Elimination Final thrashing to Sydney, but he still remains a very important piece in Essendon's plans going forward as he amongst the game's elite intercept defenders.

7. Josh Kennedy – Sydney
Pre-Season Ranking: 5
Career Games: 204
Career Goals: 131

The numbers may be slightly down on last year, but hear this out. When was the last time somebody led a side from 0-6 to the finals in his first year as captain? Nobody has done what Josh Kennedy has done in 2017. Averaged 28 disposals, seven clearances, five tackles  and four inside 50s this season, but somehow, he still missed out on an All-Australian selection and he finished just outside the top three in Sydney's best and fairest. Ultra consistent and an super competitor who is amongst the game's top contested possession winners.

6. Tom Mitchell – Hawthorn
Pre-Season Ranking: N/A
Career Games: 87
Career Goals: 48

I said in one article at the start of the year that this move to Hawthorn will turn Tom Mitchell into an elite midfielder, and that is exactly what has happened here, but not even myself could have guessed he would have averaged the most disposals a game in the history of the league. He played every game for the Hawks and averaged an absurd 35 disposals per game – not surprisingly – a career high, as well as averaging six clearances, six tackles, five marks and three inside 50s per game and earned his maiden All-Australian selection and his maiden best and fairest win. Some might complain about how he earns his touches, but not many people consistently put up 30 disposals a night like this guy.

5. Josh Kennedy - West Coast
Pre-Season Ranking: 8
Career Games: 207
Career Goals: 519

West Coast's Josh Kennedy has continued to stamp his place as one of the game's top key forwards today, kicking another 69 goals for the year, but imagine what could've been if he didn't miss those half a dozen games in the middle of the year. A calf injury meant his chances of a third-straight Coleman medal were in serious jeopardy, but upon his return, he was dominant up forward, kicking 30 goals between rounds 17-22, but ended up losing out to Buddy's bag of 10 in the final round, but was still rewarded with a third-straight selection in the All-Australian team.

4. Alex Rance – Richmond
Pre-Season Ranking: 6
Career Games: 175
Career Goals: 9

I don't know how this man does it, but his ability to stop and prevent scoring opportunities from the opposition continues to astound me. Statistically, he was a little down on last year, averaging 16 disposals, five marks and four rebound 50s per game, but it's not about the statistics with Rance, watch the Grand Final again and you'll see him spoil just about everything in sight. The fact that he was named as All-Australian captain is a little puzzling, but there is no questioning how awesome he is in defence and any supporter would want this guy at their club in a heartbeat.

3. Lance Franklin – Sydney
Pre-Season Ranking: 3
Career Games: 271
Career Goals: 860

You could just about lock Buddy in for a top three spot every year, such is his ability to kick goals and at this rate, you could just about lock him in for 1000 career goals. Booted 73 goals for the year and sealed his fourth Coleman Medal with a dominant 10-goal haul against Carlton in the final round of the home and away season. If you needed any reason why Buddy is ranked so high, that game should provide reason enough. Named All-Australian for seventh time in 2017 and finished in the top three in Sydney's best and fairest count. 

2. Patrick Dangerfield – Geelong
Pre-Season Ranking: 2
Career Games: 202
Career Goals: 232

Just when you thought Patrick Dangerfield couldn't pull off a better campaign than he did in 2016, he goes and pulls off a season in which he averaged 30 disposals and kicked 45 goals, which is an average of nearly two goals per game. Also averaged seven clearances, six tackles, five inside 50s and four marks per game and was named as Geelong's best and fairest for the second-straight year and was named in the All-Australian team for the fifth time in his career. As impressive as Dangerfield has been in 2017, there was one man who I think we all know had himself an even better year.

1. Dustin Martin – Richmond
Pre-Season Ranking: 21
Career Games: 178
Career Goals: 187

You can love or hate Dustin Martin as a personality, but as an AFL player you must acknowledge what a year he has had. An AFL premiership, a Brownlow Medal, a Norm Smith Medal, an All-Australian selection, a second-straight Jack Dyer medal as Richmond's best and fairest and an AFLPA MVP. - Dusty has pretty much done it all as a midfielder in 2017. Averaged 30 disposals, six clearances, six inside 50s and four marks per game, as well as slotting 37 goals for the year. The perfect blend of his brute strength and sublime talent has made him such a joy to watch all throughout 2017.

Pictures Courtesy Of Getty Images
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