Which players are most respected by their peers?
We asked the players to share their opinions via a survey for AFL.com.au’s Players’ Top 50.
Sydney superstar Lance Franklin has been named in the top four of this year’s Players’ Top 50, jumping four spots since last year’s count.
“Franklin will kick 100 goals this season and we’ll see a return of a 100-goal kicker” – Matthew Lloyd
Coming over from the Hawks for the 2014 season, Franklin returned to his best form, averaging 16 disposals and kicking 79 goals across his 22 matches – booting four or more majors on 12 occasions last year.
With his contested marking back to his best (averaging 2.32 a game last year), many believe the freakish forward had his best season since 2008, when he kicked 113 goals on the way to his first premiership.
The 28-year-old added to his already extensive list of accolades by finishing equal-second in last year’s Brownlow Medal count, finishing third in the Swans’ Best and Fairest, claiming a third Coleman Medal and fifth All-Australian selection. He was also one of his side’s best performers on Grand Final day, collecting 14 disposals, taking five contested marks and booting four goals for the losing side.
Former Essendon great Matthew Lloyd believes Franklin could take his form to another level in 2015, having taken a few rounds to get used to his new teammates in 2014.
“Lance Franklin didn’t do a pre-season last year and they (Sydney) say his pre-season has been unbelievable,” Lloyd told 3AW last week.
“Franklin will kick 100 goals this season and we’ll see the return of a 100-goal kicker.”
AFL PLAYERS’ TOP 50 SO FAR – 50 TO 4
4. Lance Franklin (Sydeny)
5. Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood)
6. Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn)
7. Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide)
8. Luke Hodge (Hawthorn)
9. Travis Boak (Port Adelaide)
10. Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide)
11. Josh Kennedy (Sydney Swans)
12. Jobe Watson (Essendon)
13. Trent Cotchin (Richmond)
14. Matt Priddis (West Coast Eagles)
15. Dyson Heppell (Essendon)
16. Nick Riewoldt (St Kilda)
17. Steve Johnson (Geelong)
18. Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn)
19. Tom Rockliff (Brisbane Lions)
20. Aaron Sandliands (Fremantle)
21. Dayne Beams (Brisbane)
22. Jordan Lewis (Hawthorn)
23. Tom Hawkins (Geelong)
24. Rory Sloane (Adelaide)
25. Harry Taylor (Geelong)
26. Brent Harvey (North Melbourne)
27. Luke Parker (Sydney)
28. Chris Judd (Carlton)
29. Callan Ward (Greater Western Sydney)
30. Marc Murphy (Carlton)
31. Nathan Jones (Melbourne)
32. Bryce Gibbs (Carlton)
33. David Mundy (Fremantle)
34. Brendon Goddard (Essendon)
35. Jarrad McVeigh (Sydney)
36. Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide)
37. Pearce Hanley (Brisbane Lions)
38. Cyril Rioli (Hawthorn)
39. Dustin Martin (Richmond)
40. Dan Hannebery (Sydney)
41. Shaun Burgoyne (Hawthorn)
42. Jimmy Bartel (Geelong)
43. Josh Kennedy (West Coast Eagles)
44. Ryan Griffen (Greater Western Sydney)
45. Matthew Pavlich (Fremantle)
46. Luke Breust (Hawthorn)
47. Travis Cloke (Collingwood)
48. Dane Swan (Collingwood)
49. Brett Deledio (Richmond)
50. Steele Sidebottom (Collingwood)