Which modern AFL superstars are most respected by their peers?
In the lead-up to Round 1, aflplayers.com.au (in conjunction with afl.com.au) will reveal the top 50 players in the game, as voted by the players.
“As a player, there are two things you are always striving for – a premiership, and the respect of your peers.” – Leigh Matthews
Peer admiration is a big accolade in the modern game, and in 2016, six new faces have caught the eyes of their fellow players, earning a place between 41 and 50 in the Players’ Top 50 for 2016.
According to the players, Jack Steven, Josh Gibson, Jack Riewoldt, Bernie Vince, Marcus Bontempelli and Dylan Shiel are among the game’s best 50 players in the competition; none of the six featured in last year’s poll.
Steven took out the Saints’ 2015 best-and-fairest award, with Gibson also crowned the Hawks’ best in a premiership-winning year, while Riewoldt’s growth as a player resulted in him claiming his second All-Australian blazer.
Vince’s form was acknowledged with the Demons’ Keith “Bluey” Truscott Medal, while Bontempelli and Shiel continued to stamp their claims as two of the league’s most exciting youngsters.
Also featuring between 41 and 50 in this year’s count are Harry Taylor, Nathan Jones, Brent Harvey and Tom Hawkins – all backing up their placings in 2015’s list.
Set to break Michael Tuck’s games record in 2016, 38-year-old Harvey’s placing on this year’s list shows how highly the players rate his ability to continually impact games with his precise foot skills and trademark run and carry.
In 2015, Harvey averaged 22 disposals – the 15th time in the last 16 years he’s averaged more than 20 disposals a match – and finished fourth in North Melbourne’s best-and-fairest award.
Players’ Top 50 – the story so far
50. Dylan Shiel (GWS Giants) 2015 ranking: —
49. Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs) 2015 Ranking: —
48. Bernie Vince (Melbourne) 2015 Ranking: —
47. Jack Riewoldt (Richmond) 2015 Ranking: —
46. Josh Gibson (Hawthorn) 2015 Ranking: —
45. Jack Steven (St Kilda) 2015 Ranking: —
44. Tom Hawkins (Geelong Cats) 2015 Ranking: 23
43. Brent Harvey (North Melbourne) 2015 Ranking: 26
42. Nathan Jones (Melbourne) 2015 Ranking: 31
41. Harry Taylor (Geelong Cats) 2015 Ranking: 25