AFL 2011 Power Rankings – Round 11

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Bit of a change this week, as I'll be pouring over the playing list of each club to identify the players that I expect to be the most important to each team over the next 5 years. Who is your clubs "go to" player going forward? Read on to find out.

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Geelong 1 <NO CHANGE>

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There has been plenty of talk about the stars of the Geelong midfield, however given the age of Bartel, Chapman, Corey & Ablett moving to the Gold Coast, Joel Selwood is the man to carry the club forward in the next 5 years. At the age of just 23, Selwood is already a star and appears certain to be a Brownlow Medalist before his career is done.

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Stat line: The Cats have an average winning margin of 34 points so far in 2011.

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Collingwood 2 <NO CHANGE>

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There is no brighter star down at Collingwood than Scott Pendlebury. Whilst Dane Swan captures a lot of the media attention, and rightly so in most cases given his form in recent years, Pendlebury is every bit the player Swan is and quite possibly – he is already better. It's easy to forget Pendlebury is also just 23 years of age (Swan is 27) so his best is yet to come for Collingwood.

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Stat line: The Pies have the kicking boots on in 2011, with an AFL best goal-to-behind ratio.

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Hawthorn 3 <NO CHANGE>

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The Hawks have quite a solid list that appears ready for a Premiership tilt in the next 2-3 years, with three of their brightest stars – Franklin, Hodge, Rioli – all in their relative primes and capable of brilliant footy. But if we're looking at just the #1 player at the club, it is Lance Franklin without a doubt, having just turned 24 this year. Could his best, most consistent footy be still to come?

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Stat line: The Hawks are flying, but still feature the "shortest" team of 22 in the AFL for height.

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Carlton 4 <NO CHANGE>

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I'd be fibbing if I said I didn't consider Chris Judd as Carlton's #1 player for the next 5 years. However, the great man is approaching 28 years of age (later this year) so it would be unrealistic to think he will be this good after hitting 30. No, the man going forward for the Blues has to be Marc Murphy – who is having a career year in 2011, who is yet to even turn 24.

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Stat line: Carlton have made the fewest weekly team changes of any club in the AFL.

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West Coast 5 UP 1

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The Eagles line-up is so even, and so very consistent, right now – it is hard to nominate just 1 player to be the star of this club over the next 5 years. Dean Cox is nearing 30, so sadly – he is out of contention. Jack Darling is a ripper, but he is too young at 19 to carry the mantle. So I've gone with ex-Blue Josh Kennedy. At just 23, he has all the makings of the next Jonathon Brown. Massive call I know.

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Stat line: The tallest team in the AFL, averaging 188.6 cm per player on the weekend.

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Sydney 6 UP 1

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Whilst Jude Bolton (at age 31) is playing like a 25 year old, and Adam Goodes doe not appear to be ageing at all, the Swans are another difficult team to nominate a #1 player for the next 5 years. Whilst I am a huge fan of both Kieran Jack and Daniel Hannebery – I can't look past big Shane Mumford as the most important player for Sydney in the years to come.

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Stat line: The Swans are another team with a tough schedule to come, including 6 trips away from Sydney.

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Essendon 7 DOWN 2

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Much has been said and written about the Bombers in 2011, however the momentum they had entering the season appears to have slowed down recently. And going forward, I may be one of the few that doesn't rate the Bombers list as high as most. They have some good young players in the mix, but none good enough to dismantle Jobe Watson (even at age 26) as the #1 going forward.

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Stat line: The Bombers have a tough run home, with 7 games to go against current top 8 teams.

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Fremantle 8 <NO CHANGE>

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There is much to like about the Fremantle list, even with Pavlich and Sandilands approaching 30 years of age. The best of their youth includes Nathan Fyfe and Stephen Hill (at age 19 and 21 respectively), whilst let's not forget relative newcomer Michael Barlow at only 23 with a big future. However I can't go past midfield workhorse David Mundy as their best player into the immediate future.

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Stat line: The Dockers have played the most games versus current bottom 8 sides (7).

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Richmond 9 <NO CHANGE>

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The choice for #1 at Tigerland comes down to 2 – Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin – both burgeoning stars of the game. Brett Deledio is a talent, at only 24 years of age, but for whatever reason he just has not reached his full potential, mostly due to player a backline role for most of his career to date. I'm going with Dustin Martin – he has the potential to be great in a hurry.

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Stat line: The Tigers remain slow starters, but are yet to lose a game when winning the first quarter of a game.

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St Kilda 10 <NO CHANGE>

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To be truthful, the Saints list could be the worst in AFL football, looking ahead beyond 2011. In undertaking this exercise, I have decided there is not one player aged under 25 years on the St Kilda list I would take (or want). That's probably a topic for another week but it is an indictment on the management of the list, despite the clubs recent "success". By default, I choose Brendan Goddard.

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Stat line: The Saints cause has not been helped by losing 2 of 3 games to bottom 8 sides so far.

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Melbourne 11 UP 3

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From what I've seen of the Demons this year, their future is about a player who has just played the one game in 2011 – and that is Tom Scully. Even with a limited preparation, Scully returned to the fold on Friday night and was superb. Some of the experts believe he can have the same type of influence as a Chris Judd. But before any of that, the Demons must keep him at the club beyond 2011.

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Stat line: The Dees average 402 disposals in a win, yet only 345 in a loss.

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North Melbourne 12 DOWN 1

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There are not many obvious options for #1 player at North Melbourne (beyond this year), with Brent Harvey approaching the end of his career and other better players either nearing 30 or just not worthy of the mantle at this point (Daniel Wells for instance). So my selection is Andrew Swallow, who is just 24 years of age (I feel like he should be older!) and is an underrated player in the AFL.

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Stat line: The Crows have a tough month ahead – Eagles, Dogs (away), Cats (away), Swans & Dons.

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Bulldogs 13 DOWN 1

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This is a surprisingly difficult decision. Boyd is now too old (at almost 29) to be their best player for the next 5 years, whilst other players I would have considered – such as Adam Cooney & Shaun Higgins – have not stepped up to the plate due to poor form or ongoing injury concerns. I've selected Ryan Griffen as the Dogs #1 man into the future, though he (like the Dogs) still have plenty of work to do.

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Stat line: The Dogs have won the fewest quarters of any side over the past 3 rounds. They're struggling.

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Adelaide 14 DOWN 1

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The Crows would hope Kurt Tippett will be their best player over the next 5 years and I agree. I don't think anyone could dispute that he has that kind of potential to be a special player. At age 24, he just needs a couple of solid pre-seasons to get his body in top nick If he does this, I'd be prepared to say he is the man to lead the Crows back into finals calculations. Dangerfield (age 21) a very close second.

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Stat line: The Crows have a tough month ahead – Eagles, Dogs (away), Cats (away), Swans & Dons.

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Gold Coast 15 UP 1

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This one is anyone's guess, given the riches of young talent the Gold Coast has as its disposal. But for mine, I think big Zac Smith – just a first year AFL player (at 21 years of age however) will potentially be their most important player – even ahead of young gun David Swallow, who I also considered. I called out Zac Smith as a future star earlier in the year and nothing I've seen since has indicated otherwise.

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Stat line: The Suns are giving up just shy of 400 disposals to their opponent per contest.

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Brisbane 16 DOWN 1

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This is another difficult call. I rate the Lions young midfield group, led by Rockliff and Redden, but in terms of importance to the success of the club, I'd nominate young ruckman Matthew Leuenberger as their #1 player to lead the new-look Lions into the future (with Jonathon Brown, Simon Black and Luke Power approaching the twilight of their careers, if they aren't there already).

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Stat line: Scary thought – the Lions are yet to play a current top 4 side, and have played current top 8 sides just 3 times.

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Port Adelaide 17 <NO CHANGE>

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This one hurts just to think about. I should first put my hand up and say I don't know enough about the Port Adelaide playing list as a whole to accurately determine their best player looking into the future. But I can have an educated guess, based on what I've seen of the club in recent years. I'll go with Travis Boak, who at 22 years of age, has the potential to be the clubs best player.

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Stat line: In terms of win %, the Power have faced the toughest opponents so far in 2011 after 10 games.



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