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.
There isn’t much you can say about Gary Ablett that hasn’t already been discussed at length.
He’s been the competition’s best player over the past decade with some arguing he may be the greatest of all time.
Ablett has done it all. At the age of 31, he’s won premierships, Brownlow Medals, club best-and-fairest awards, All-Australian selections, Leigh Matthews Trophies and topped his club’s goalkicking, all across a career that spans 274 AFL games and 14 seasons.
But following an injury-riddled 18 months, Ablett has lost his number one title in the Players’ Top 50, dropping to second place in 2016’s voting.
Playing just the six matches with a lingering shoulder injury before a medial ligament tear ended his season, 2015 was the first time Ablett had averaged less than 26 disposals per game since becoming an elite player in the 2007 season.
But he still showed glimpses of his capabilities during the year, collecting more than 30 disposals and kicking multiple goals on three occasions, including laying 17 tackles in the loss to GWS in Round 16.
Such was his influence during those six games, Ablett still managed to finish ninth in the Suns’ best-and-fairest award at year’s end.
Ablett is the only Gold Coast Sun to represent the club in this year’s Players’ Top 50.
Gary Ablett 2015 stats (six games):
Average disposals: 22.83. Contested possessions: 11.00. Tackles: 4.67. Clearances: 6.17. Goals: 10.