I understand ratings are done over a 2 year cycle but seriously, Collingwood a better list than Essendon…
RICHMOND will need to produce another September boilover to win back-to-back premierships, according to Champion Data, with the AFL’s official number cruncher ranking the club’s list as the ninth-best in the competition.
The Tigers are ranked behind 2016 premiers the Western Bulldogs (No.7) and Hawthorn (No.8) and but they leapfrog both clubs when lists are narrowed to assess the best 22 players, jumping to seventh.
Sydney has the most talented full list as well as the best 22, while Port Adelaide comes in second for overall list strength after an aggressive off-season of recruiting, ahead of losing grand finalist Adelaide (No.3) and Greater Western Sydney (No.4).
Champion Data compares players in the same position and age categories over a number of years to give each a relative rating, which then determines the strength of a club’s list.
The Tigers’ boast three ‘elite’ players in Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin, All Australian defender Alex Rance and Grand Final star Shane Edwards.
They have a further nine in the ‘above average’ category, including captain Trent Cotchin, small forward Dan Butler and midfielder Kane Lambert.
Toby Nankervis, Dion Prestia, Shaun Grigg, David Astbury, Dylan Grimes and Nathan Broad sit in the ‘average’ category, while Kamdyn McIntosh and Jason Castagna were rated ‘below average’.
Grand Final hero Jack Graham (five games) and 2017 bolter Jacob Townsend (37 and nine in the past two seasons) remain unclassified, given their lack of senior football.
While the premiers don’t sit at the top in the talent stakes, defender Nick Vlastuin said the Tigers would build on the game plan that took them all the way and would be inspired to repeat their 2017 heroics.
“It just gives you an extra drive because you know what to expect and you know how good that feeling was after the Grand Final,” Vlastuin said on Tuesday.
“Last year was the first year we had that manic pressure and we were still learning that … we’re just going to consolidate on what we did last year and hopefully it goes all right.”
Sydney boasts an AFL-high 17 players rated either ‘elite’ or ‘above average’, ahead of Port Adelaide, which has 16 players in the top two categories.
Carlton’s list is rated the least talented, while Fremantle has the weakest best 22, with captain Nat Fyfe rated as the club’s only ‘elite’ player.
Nathan Buckley will be attempting to steer Collingwood back into the finals with the 10th-ranked list, but the sixth-strongest best 22, with Essendon (11th overall) experiencing a similar spike to eighth when limited to its best 22.