Jake Michaels, senior writer for ESPNJune 6, 2023 at 21:54
- Jake Michaels is a Melbourne-based sports writer who covers everything from Australian regulations to Formula 1, from basketball to boxing. He spent 10 years at ESPN as a senior writer covering sports events in Australia and around the world.
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We are already halfway through 2023Australian Football Leagueseason, which means it's time to re-compile the top 10 players of the year.
a lot has changed since thenI put them lastAfter the first quarter of the year (after round 6), there are five new faces in this issue. This means that only five people managed to keep their places. There's also a new number 1!
But before we begin, I want to give a special thank you to Darcy Moore, Charlie Curnow, Toby Greene, Jack Sinclair, Charlie Cameron, Tim Taranto, Tom Liberatore and Zach Merrett who participated in the interview.
10. James Sicily (Hawthorn)
He may have missed last weekend due to suspension, but Sicily is still in my top ten. Captain Hawthorn did it all at halftime. He made precise kick attacks, blocked dangerous strikers, and intercepted more balls than anyone else in the game.
Among defenders, Sicily leads in almost all categories of Passing, Kicking, Rebounding Under 50, Rebounding Under 50, Contested Possession, Uncontested Possession, Interception of Possession, Ground Balls, Meters Gained, Points Participation and Scoring. Even after missing that game, he scored more points than anyone in the league.My Sicily Top 15 RankingHe faced heavy criticism early in the season. Not so crazy anymore, right?
BEST PERFORMANCE:The match between Sicily and the Saints in the 11th round was in my opinion the best match of the year. His full match stats are insane: 43 turnovers, 24 throws, 16 goals scored, 11 goals scored, 22 steals, 8 steals and 658 yards.
9. Jordan Degoy (Collingwood)
There is a real argument that Degoy is the best and most important Magpie in 2023. Pitbull's center seems to have finally found what it lacked in its early years: consistency. This year, Degoy averaged career averages in possession (25), contested possession (12), clearances (6.2), assists in 50 seconds (5.5) and assists (1). Among the midfielders, only Christian Petraka scored more goals.
Unfortunately for Degoy, this may be the last time we see him on these lists as he was suspended for three weeks for violent conduct with Eagles youth Elijah Hewitt.
BEST PERFORMANCE:He set a new standard for De Goey in 25 round 1 games against Premiership defending champions Geelong. De Goey also had 11 points and 3 assists on direct goals this campaign.
8. Noah Anderson (Gold Coast)
In Tuckermiller's absence, Anderson took full responsibility for helping the Suns and played inspired football for a team that suddenly got a final push. He is strong in the game, teaming up with Matt Rowell, the bull inside, but also using his tank to spread and do damage outside.
Only five players have averaged 27 tackles and seven tackles per game this season: Darcy Parish, Lachie Neale, Marcus Bontempelli, Caleb Serong and Anderson. In this group, no one scored more goals than Anderson (9 goals), and only Bontempelli had more goals, albeit only two more. Anderson and Patrick Cripps and Neal are also in a select trio with four over-17 ball possession matches. Honest company!
BEST PERFORMANCE:Anderson's Round 8 against the Devils was ridiculous and it's a shame the Suns didn't take four points. He was everywhere and finished the game with 37 passes, 17 tackles, 10 clearances, 6 tackles and 1 goal.
7. Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)
Oliver would almost certainly be on the podium if not for a hamstring injury against Port Adelaide in round 10. The fact that he is still in the top 10 shows just how good he was before the injury!
This year, no player averaged more disposals per game than Oliver, and only Nick Dykes and Darcy Parish averaged more disposals per game. Champion Data classifies Oliver as an elite midfielder, covering almost every stat imaginable including dispositions, contested possession, undisputed possession, kicks, handballs, ground balls, take-offs, yardage tally, scoring share, and underdog behavior pressure. He is expected to return for the king's birthday and will once again be one of the favorites for a medal.
BEST PERFORMANCE:You can be successful in five or six games, but I'll go back to Round 2 against the Lions when Oliver had 37 spins, 11 in 50 seconds, 5 hits, 774 yards, and the ball. Unfortunately, it's red.
6. Jeremy Cameron (Geelong)
Call it recent bias if you will, but Cameron has slipped down the ratings after cooling off from a hectic start to the season. Striker Geelong tops this list after six matches, with 27 goals already to his name, as talk of a 100-goal season begins to heat up. But for the next six weeks, he only played at 11.11.
Despite this, Cameron has scored as many goals as anyone else this year and is ranked second in the shooting participation contest. What I like is that he is always willing to press and influence the game in central midfield or centre-back. He also sets career highs for field goals, undisputed possession, and scoring under 50 points per game in his last 12 games.
BEST PERFORMANCE:Cameron single-handedly kept the Cats alive in Round 2 against the Blues, but couldn't his best match be against Hawthorne in Round 4 on Easter Monday? He scored seven goals in 22 games and a season-high 12 goals as the Cats beat the big winners.
5. Jordan Dawson (Adelajda)
Dawson's meteoric rise has to be one of the biggest surprises of the season. In 24 months, Dawson has ardently claimed to be one of the league's best midfielders after going from obscure Swann to Ravens captain.
The 26-year-old quickly moved into a medal fight at Brownlow since he moved halfway through in Round 3. He has great balance in his game, the ability to get his own ball in play and distribute and use it better than anyone else in this position. There will be 17 coaches in the league looking for a player who can handle the ball and who can get Dawson within 50 yards. Over the last 10 weeks, he averaged 29 shots per game, 6 times for 50 meters and over 500 meters per game.
BEST PERFORMANCE:Dawson utterly humiliated The Blues and Patrick Cripps in Round 5. He ended the night as the standout player on the field, tallying 32 turnovers, 10 and 11 goals in 50 seconds, using the ball better than anyone else in midfield.
4. Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldog)
The Bulldogs captain is back to his best form. In fact, he could be better than him. Bontempelli has done a lot this year, becoming the only player in the league to rank in the top five for clearing, contested possession and tackles after 12 weeks. He is also the #1 player on the Champion Data Rankings.
Bontempelli is one of the hardest matchups in the sport because it can destroy you in the game, in the perimeter and up front. It is worth noting, however, that his goal tally has been low this season with just six in his 12 appearances. Still, it looks like another All-Aussie Blazer block that, who knows, might get some extra praise when the Bulldogs end the season on a strong note.
BEST PERFORMANCE:Bontempelli's game in Game 8 against the Giants was scandalous. He tallied 32 disposals, 26 career contested possessions, 14 tackles, seven tackles and a kick. epic.
3. Zak Butters (Port Adelajda)
Who made Butters an all-Australia castle at the start of the year? Well, that's exactly what he did in the first half of the season, leapfrogging the likes of Ollie Wines and Connor Rozee to become the No. 1 midfielder on a team that has already won nine games in a row.
Butters is the ultimate challenger. He works both offensively and defensively and can hold the ball firmly in play and in space. His use of the ball is also excellent. Butters rarely wastes a touch and is an excellent user at 50. After 12 rounds, he leads the AFLCA coaches' vote. Also, don't count it towards the Brownlow Medal.
BEST PERFORMANCE:You'd be hard-pressed to see a better rainy game than Butters' 10th inning game against the Devils. The 22-year-old had 41 tackles (78 percent success), 10 tackles, 12 goals, eight interceptions, eight in 50 seconds, scored four points and scored two goals.
2. Nick Daicos (Collingwood)
Is Daicos the best sophomore we've ever seen? Probably. What he has achieved so far in his short career is remarkable. He leads the league in possession, undisputed possession and yardage, perhaps the most important part of Collingwood's 11-1 start to the season.
When the opposing coaches decided not to field the runner role, Daicos killed them with his excellent ball possession and superb center back and midfield work. But even if they sent someone to him, he still managed to find a way to positively influence the game. That's pretty impressive for a 19-year-old.
BEST PERFORMANCE:Still not sure Daicos surpassed their epic Anzac Day effort. Young Pai shone on the biggest stage, finishing with 40 passes, nine goals, a 600m lead and two crucial goals. Oh, and he took home the Anzac Medal.
1. Christian Petracca (Melbourne)
The Melbourne centre-forward star proves my pre-season rankings are goodThe best AFL playerHe should now be the favorite to win the Brownlow medal (I currently have him in front of memy predictor19.5 votes). Petraka was in the best form of his career in the first half of the year, averaging 28 tackles, 14 tackles and six clearances per game.
There is also no player in the league who would have a greater impact on scoring than Petrak. He led the Over-50 game by scoring and assisting on goals, was second in meters scored, and kicked more goals than any player in the top 80 goalscorers.
BEST PERFORMANCE:There are plenty of almost certain three-ball contests to choose from, but his 35-disposition and three goals against the Kangaroos in Round 7 are hard to top. Petracca also had 16 possessions contested, 14 goalscoring engagements and nine 50-point wins in 90-point wins.