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The top 50 AFL players, as ranked by the players themselves: 30-21

March 12, 2015 7:00 AM

The players pick their best: 30-21 We reveal numbers 30-21 in the 2015 Players' Top 50

Who's next? Check out the rest of the AFL Players' Top 50 as they are revealed

For the second year, in conjunction with the AFL Players' Association, we’ve surveyed the AFL players to find out who they think make up the game’s top 50.

Players from all 18 clubs took part in the survey, with 105 players receiving at least one vote.

There are 14 players in this year’s players’ top 50 who did not feature in the list last season. Three of those retired last year (Dean Cox, Darren Glass and Lenny Hayes).

Fourteen of the top 20 players on the list are from last year’s finalists.

Here is the list of players 30-21, with the countdown continuing until Friday, March 27, when the AFL’s No. 1 player – according to his peers – is revealed.

30. Marc Murphy
Carlton
Midfielder
Last year's ranking: 26 (-4)
Official AFL Player Rating: 30
Debut: 2006
Games: 185
NAB AFL Fantasy value: $544,000

The Carlton skipper has had to manage various knee troubles in recent seasons, but remains an elite inside midfielder who stands up week in week out. Fiercely courageous, he burrows in after the ball at stoppage after stoppage with little regard for his 180cm frame. Murphy led Carlton in loose-ball gets last year and was second in clearances, contested possessions, inside 50s, handballs and tackles. A calf strain sidelined him from the Blues' opening NAB Challenge game against West Coast, but the club is confident he will be fit for its remaining pre-season games against Collingwood in Bendigo on Sunday and Geelong at Etihad Stadium on March 22.

29. Callan Ward
Greater Western Sydney
Midfielder
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 22
Debut: 2008
Games: 121
NAB AFL Fantasy value: $561,000

The former Western Bulldog has become the heart and soul of the Giants since their 2012 inception. He is relentless in his pursuit of the footy and loves to get his hands dirty at stoppages. Ward, 24, made the 40-man All Australian squad last year and was sixth in the competition in clearances. He works just as hard defensively as offensively and is a model of consistency, averaging 25 touches in 2014. With the addition of Ryan Griffen to take some heat off him, expect Ward to keep improving.

28. Chris Judd
Carlton
Midfielder
Last year's ranking: 22 (-6)
Official AFL Player Rating: 87
Debut: 2002
Games: 271
NAB AFL Fantasy value: $454,000

The two-time Brownlow medallist was reportedly set to hang up the boots last year after an injury-riddled start to 2014, but a late-season revival convinced him to play on for at least another year. Although he no longer boasts the explosive pace that made him the competition's most damaging midfielder during his West Coast years, Judd has reinvented himself into an elite contested ball-winner and made his handball an attacking weapon. The former Blues skipper is likely to spend some time in attack this season, where his strength and height (189cm) will make him a difficult match-up for opposition teams. But Judd is still at his best in the midfield, where he remains capable of producing game-winning bursts.

The champion Blue slid six places on last year, but can still turn it on. Picture: AFL Media

 

27. Luke Parker
Sydney Swans
Midfielder
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 48
Debut: 2011
Games: 82
NAB AFL Fantasy value: $585,000

The young midfielder won the Swans' best and fairest in a strong field, underlining his rise into the elite bracket at just 22. He separates himself from other on-ballers with his ability to push forward and punish his opponents – he kicked 25 goals in 25 games last season. He is told to push forward whenever he can to use his overhead marking to advantage. Parker ranked No. 3 among midfielders for contested marks last season and top 10 in the AFL for tackles and pressure acts.  

26. Brent Harvey
North Melbourne
Forward/midfielder
Last year's ranking: 49 (+23)
Official AFL Player Rating: 6
Debut: 1996
Games: 384
NAB AFL Fantasy value: $565,000

The five-time North best and fairest winner turns 37 in May but has shown no signs of slowing down. Still the Roos' main match-winner, he can break opposition lines with his speed and evasive skills, and is a clinical finisher when he gets within range of goal. Harvey plays the high half-forward role to perfection, working up into the midfield to give North's on-ball division a hand before drifting back towards goal to prey on any crumbs. He kicked 29 goals and averaged 25.4 possessions a game in 2014 and was unlucky to miss out on his fifth All Australian selection.

25. Harry Taylor
Geelong
Defender
Last year's ranking: 24 (-1)
Official AFL Player Rating: 49
Debut: 2008
Games: 159
NAB AFL Fantasy value: $390,000

Ranked the game's top defender by his fellow players, Taylor is set to bounce back after putting in what he described as an inconsistent season in 2014. He has responded with a huge pre-season, dropping weight and setting himself for a big year. A brilliant intercept mark and a superb leader, he can play forward or back but he should get the chance to settle in defence this season. His ability to handle all types of forwards and to use the ball well on the rebound makes him a critical part of the Cats' veteran group of defenders.

24. Rory Sloane
Adelaide
Midfielder
Last year's ranking: 36 (+12)
Official AFL Player Rating: 7
Debut: 2009
Games: 100
NAB AFL Fantasy value: $592,000

Sloane is one of the toughest inside midfielders going around. He genuinely thrives in wet, sloppy conditions when willpower becomes a player's greatest asset. The blond-haired 24-year-old is a fan favourite and while he's relentless at the contest, he' also has the finishing skills that make him a goalkicking threat anywhere inside 55m. His competitive nature is best seen in his tackling ability and last year, he ranked sixth in the AFL in average tackles.

The tough Crow improved on his ranking last year after a solid 2014. Picture: AFL Media



23. Tom Hawkins
Geelong
Forward
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 102
Debut: 2007
Games: 147
NAB AFL Fantasy value: $436,000

Hawkins is rated among the best key forwards in the game. His performances in 2014 were crucial to the Cats finishing in the top four. He kicked 68 goals and nearly dragged the Cats over the line when he turned it on in the last quarter of the semi-final against North Melbourne. Big, imposing and reliable, the 26-year-old is a free agent at the end of the season but is expected to stay at Geelong. Tough to beat one-on-one and will certainly play a role in determining whether the Cats can stay in contention.

22. Jordan Lewis
Hawthorn
Midfielder
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 27
Debut: 2005
Games: 217
NAB AFL Fantasy value: $621,000

A fitter and leaner Lewis was rewarded for his career-best season when he won the best and fairest and helped the Hawks to last year’s premiership. The vice-captain is brilliant at stoppages, reading the play superbly and using his toughness and running ability to advantage. He averaged almost 28 disposals per game and his 37-possession effort in the Grand Final was only two shy of the Grand Final record set by Brisbane Lions champion Simon Black in 2003. Lewis also became more damaging around goal, booting 17 goals in 24 games. He looms large as a prime candidate for the captaincy if Luke Hodge retires or steps aside.

21. Dayne Beams
Brisbane Lions
Midfielder
Last year's ranking: 48 (+27)
Official AFL Player Rating: 104
Debut: 2009
Games: 110
NAB AFL Fantasy value: $609,000

Beams was the centerpiece of one of the biggest moves of the off-season. The 2010 premiership and 2012 Copeland Trophy winner returned to his home state after six successful seasons with Collingwood. Beams is a quality player; he can win the inside ball and his ability to use it cleanly and with penetration on the outside with his thumping right boot make him a genuine weapon. He has kicked 118 goals in 110 games. The 25-year-old was in the top-15 in the AFL last season in average disposals, contested possessions and clearances and is arguably the biggest name to joins the Lions since coach Leigh Matthews. Beams will no longer have the likes of Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury to play alongside, and will likely have to learn to play with a tagger hanging off him. 

Who's next? Check out the rest of the AFL Players' Top 50 as they are revealed

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