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The top 50 AFL players, ranked by the players themselves: 40-31

March 2, 2016 7:02 AM

The players pick their best: 40-31 We reveal numbers 40-31 in the 2016 Players' Top 50

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

AMONG the 15 newcomers in this year's AFL Players Top 50, brought to you by Mars, are two of the game's biggest drawcards.

On the cusp of his 12th season in the AFL, evergreen goalsneak Eddie Betts crack the Top 50 for the first time at No.32. 

The players delivered a vote of confidence in Nic Naitanui; the Eagle flying into this year's list at No.35. 

Players from all 18 clubs took part in the survey, with 90 players receiving at least one vote.

Here are players 40-31, with the countdown continuing until Friday, March 18, when the AFL's No.1 player – according to his peers – is revealed.

You can click here to check out players 50-41 and the rest of the AFL Players' Top 50 as they are revealed.

40. Brett Deledio
Richmond
Midfielder
Last year's ranking: 49
Official AFL Player Rating: 23
Debut: 2005
Games: 232
AFL Fantasy value: $530,000 

Had a massive impact last season and was named All Australian for the second time despite missing five games through injury and suspension. Richmond's vice-captain missed four games between rounds two and five, with the Tigers winning just one of those, highlighting his incredible value to the team. The players recognised his importance to Richmond by moving him up nine spots on the list. Deledio went on to kick 27 goals and averaged 21 possessions and was arguably the Tigers' most valuable player, standing up in big games, including four goals in the brilliant win against Hawthorn in round 18. After managing a calf injury through the pre-season, Deledio will hope to keep the problem under control to maintain his streak of having played at least 18 games every season since he was drafted in 2004.

39. Tom Rockliff
Brisbane Lions
Midfielder
Last year's ranking: 19
Official AFL Player Rating: 61
Debut: 2009
Games: 117
AFL Fantasy value: $579,000 

After a stellar 2014, Rockliff took over the captaincy but injury hampered his output in the first half of the year. He suffered broken ribs in the opening round against Collingwood and then a repeat of the injury in round nine against St Kilda. Once fully fit, the prolific ball-winner worked his way into form, averaging 35 disposals over the final six rounds. Rockliff fell 20 spots on the list of AFL players but if he manages to stay on the park, the 26-year-old is sure to be higher on the list in 2017.

38. Taylor Walker
Adelaide
Forward
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 116
Debut: 2009
Games: 107
AFL Fantasy value: $454,000 

In his first season as captain, Walker reached new heights. His leadership was superb on and off the field, but his performances did most of the talking. Walker booted 59 goals – his best return since 2012 – and was second in the competition for marks inside 50. Walker is a big-marking, long-kicking power forward capable of kicking huge bags of goals.

37. Jake Stringer
Western Bulldogs
Forward
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 70
Debut: 2013
Games: 50
AFL Fantasy value: $419,000 

The dynamic forward was unstoppable at times during 2015 and finished with 56 goals, his first All Australian selection and the full attention of the football world. His mix of speed, strength, skill and confidence has him destined to become one of the best players in the competition. Stringer has ambitions to become a midfielder, but looks at home in attack at this stage of his career. The Dogs wasted no time extending his contract until the end of the 2018 season.

36. Andrew Gaff
West Coast
Midfielder
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 95
Debut: 2011
Games: 110
AFL Fantasy value: $579,000 

Enjoyed his best season at AFL level, winning his first best and fairest award and being named All Australian for the first time. Led the Eagles for disposals (738), kicks (415) and inside 50s (108). He was ultra-consistent, gathering 30-plus possessions in 14 games, including 34 touches in the Grand Final. Gaff also polled a career-high 17 Brownlow Medal votes. Originally from Melbourne, he is settled in Perth and looks set to remain at West Coast long-term. 

35. Nic Naitanui
West Coast
Ruck
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 8
Debut: 2009
Games: 131
AFL Fantasy value: $489,000 

Had an outstanding season following his first injury-free pre-season in three years. Averaged 34 hit-outs in 23 games, the most of his career, and provided silver service for the Eagles' midfield. Finished third at the club for contested possessions (206) and was a dominant force in games. Kicked 17 goals, his most since 2012, and earned an All Australian nomination along with the Mark of the Year.

34. Shaun Burgoyne
Hawthorn
Defender
Last year's ranking: 41
Official AFL Player Rating: 68
Debut: 2002
Games: 295
AFL Fantasy value: $413,000 

The Hawks hoped to squeeze three seasons from Burgoyne when he hobbled into the club on crutches at the end of 2009, but the man known as 'Silk' has been at Waverley for six years and has got better with each one. Third for handballs and fourth for contested possessions and tackles last season, the Hawks used Burgoyne wherever they needed a cool head or had a hole to be filled. Was solid through the finals series, befitting a champion who lifts for the big occasions. The 33-year-old has kept up his brilliant form late into his career, as reflected by his improved ranking of seven spots.

33. Jeremy Cameron
GWS
Forward
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 197
Debut: 2012
Games: 73
AFL Fantasy value: $388,000 

Cameron was again the team's most lethal forward and booted a career-best 63 goals, one more than his 2013 All-Australian season. The brilliant left-footer kicked seven goals in a game twice, against Hawthorn in round six and Carlton in round 22. Cameron's tag as the Giants' 'franchise player' was consolidated when he signed a contract extension before the 2015 season that will keep him at the club until at least the end of 2020. As one of the most exciting young forwards in the game, the Giant is a good bet to continue to jump up this list over the next few years.

32. Eddie Betts
Adelaide
Forward
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 21
Debut: 2005
Games: 229
AFL Fantasy value: $421,000 

His reputation as one of the game's biggest drawcards continued to swell last year, stunning the competition with a career-best season. He was a beast inside attacking 50, booting 63 goals to claim the club's goalkicking title for the second successive year. Betts' creativity is unmatched and his skill to convert seemingly from anywhere he wants is astonishing, with that ability rocketing him inside the top 50 after not making the list in 2015. He won Goal of the Year for a left-foot torpedo from the boundary. 

31. Robert Murphy
Western Bulldogs
Defender
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 56
Debut: 2000
Games: 292
AFL Fantasy value: $441,000 

The veteran playmaker's appointment as skipper in 2015 proved to be an inspired one, as his love for the club and game spread throughout the team. Murphy has lost none of the trademark pace, composure and skill and that translated into a second All Australian selection, with the 33-year-old selected as captain of that team. The running defender is showing no signs of slowing down and as the Bulldogs approach a flag window, there is every chance Murphy could become just the second Bulldog captain to lift the premiership cup.

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

The AFL Players' Top 50 is compiled with the support of the AFL Players' Association.