There’s not much movement on the HPN Team Ratings this week, with GWS and Geelong continuing their week-to-week tango for 3rd and 4th, and the Dons jumping up into 6th. The rest is steady, and the weekly movements should get more subtle as time moves forward.
To fill out a full post, we thought we’d use the new tool that we (kinda) debuted last week (which we call Player Approximate Value, or PAV for short) to work out some AFL awards. One thing to note is that our ratings system is relevant to the PAV, because the better a side is in an area of the ground, the more points of value there are for the players in that area.
Behold the HPN Second Trimester Awards!!!
All Australian Team
This team is assembled from our best overall players list. We’ve tried to pick appropriate-ish players for position, whilst still trying to make this the highest rated team possible.
The next two on the cusp for total value were Zach Merrett and Marcus Bontempelli. Rating midfielders by midfield value alone, Josh Kennedy and Brett Ebert would slot in, but they’ve been less well-rounded players than Cotchin and Shiel who they’d probably replace.
We opted for a third tall forward in Walker, and minimal ruck back-up – Daniher will have to pinch hit there. There’s plenty of run off half back to compensate for a slight slowness on the wings too, and this side won’t lose many battles on the inside with a large cast of rotating mids. If you had to stump for an extra tall on the bench, Paddy Ryder would be the pick.
Lance Franklin comes out on top in offensive rating by quite a large margin. He’s leading for the Coleman which would alone count for a lot, but the goalkicking tally doesn’t do justice to Franklin’s spread of offensive output. He’s also kicked 20 more behinds than anyone else, which can be frustrating but just shows how many chances he’s getting. The other big string to his all-round offensive prowess is his indirect output – Franklin is third in the competition for inside-50s, averaging over 5 a game. This season is pure unshackled Franklin, a terrifying weapon anywhere forward of about halfback, roaming about, doing as he pleases.
Second behind Franklin on offensive output is Joe Daniher, who can do some of the long range stuff Franklin does and has as many contested marks, but isn’t as useful around the ground. Third is Dangerfield, who is the best player in the league due the combo of midfield and offensive output. The relatively normal Taylor Walker and Ben Brown round out the top 5.
Dayne Zorko is worth a mention here because he doesn’t pop up elsewhere in our lists, and he’s having a really good year. Overall he’s really high for both offence and midfield value – he’s quite likely the (distant) second-best Dangerfield after Dangerfield himself.
Best forward in a bad forwardline
“Bad” is defined as the bottom six in the league for inside-50 efficiency – for us that is Port Adelaide, Fremantle, Carlton, Collingwood, Richmond, and the Bulldogs.
Robbie Gray turns out to be the shining light here, providing most of his output to Port Adelaide this year as a forward. Gray is equal sixth in the Coleman race with 40 goals and might not be getting due credit for how effective he’s been as a focal point in Port’s relatively weak forwardline, which has been dependent on pressure and repeat entries this year.
Behind him in output provided to the battling forwardlines are, in order, Jack Riewoldt, Michael Walters, Charlie Dixon and Matt Kreuzer.
Patrick Dangerfield. You could split Dangerfield’s 2017 performance in half and have two well-above average footballers. He is about 20% ahead of Dustin Martin in second, who is having a career year, and in many years would be considered to be (by far) the best player in the game. Two Port Adelaide players, Ebert and Wines, hit third and fourth, with Dangerfield’s running mate Joel Selwood in 5th. When you factor in that Dangerfield is also top 5 for offensive output, it’s clear why he’s unbackable for the Brownlow.
Best Midfielder in a bad midfield
Team midfields are rated by inside-50 differentials. The teams with the worst ball control through the centre are North Melbourne, Fremantle, Hawthorn, Carlton, Essendon and Brisbane.
It should surprise nobody that Tom Mitchell just beats Lachie Neale on midfield worth. Neale has been the slightly better all-round player due to his offensive prowess but through the middle of the ground, Hawthorn’s ball movement all starts with Mitchell. In this, our ratings likely pretty closely mirror popular observations.
Third is Ben Cunnington who is even more of a pure midfielder than Mitchell. The top 5 is rounded out by Carlton’s key duo, Bryce Gibbs and Patrick Cripps. Gibbs is the form player in overall rating from this list, with his forward and defensive performances both a bit ahead of anyone else’s.
Alex Rance. Were you expecting someone else here? Like that the new statistical value measure was broken and picked someone other than Rance? Rance is the Richmond defence – sure Houli is handy and Astbury has improved, but without Rance you’d think that Richmond’s defence would be south of mid-table rather than the best in the league. In second, Michael Hurley is having a resurgent year, as is Daniel Talia in 3rd. Dylan Roberton wouldn’t have been in many conversations talking about the best defenders in the league before 2017, but here he is in fourth. Rounding out the top five is Heath Shaw.
Best Defender in a bad defence
The eligible leaky defences are Fremantle, North Melbourne, Collingwood, Hawthorn, Gold Coast, and Brisbane.
Robbie Tarrant just pips Joel Hamling as most valuable defender in a bottom six defence, followed by Tarrant’s North Melbourne teammate Scott Thompson, Jeremy Howe and Michael Johnson. No one statistic defines Tarrant’s worth, but he’s good across all the main indicators of a defender – he’s top 15 for marks outside forward 50, top-50 in contested marking, top 30 in 1%ers (which include spoils), 11th in rebound-50s. This spread ensures he’s being credited with a large share of North Melbourne’s defensive performance.
There are several candidates that we considered here, such as Zac Jones, Jayden Hunt and Dylan Roberton, who have all improved significantly on their 2016 outputs, but the standout candidate here is Jarrod Witts. Witts was thought by many to be on the fringes of leaving the league, but his 2017 season has been extraordinary. Currently we rate Witts as the seventh best ruck in the competition, slightly below Grundy in 5th. While he was about a league average ruck in his opportunities with the Pies, the expanded role offered to him by the Suns has seen him improve his performances by about 20% whilst playing significantly more games.
Best 2016 Draftee
It’s not that common that a player can come into the league in their first year and produce at an average or above average level. Indeed, in 2017 only six draftees are playing enough games and well enough to be producing at that level: Sam Pepper-Powell, Mitch Hannan, Tom Stewart, Andrew McGrath, Tim Taranto and Sam Petrevski-Seton. The first name on that list, SPP, is well above that mark, and is shaping up to become an elite talent in years to come. Ken Sakata might be onto something. Mitch Hannan is also, at this stage, a cut above the rest of the pack.