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Players' Top 50: Tigers leap as Nos. 20-11 revealed

March 4, 2016 7:45 AM

The players pick their best: 20-11 We reveal numbers 20-11 in the 2016 Players' Top 50

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

RICHMOND'S improvement from finals also-ran to top-four contender has been recognised in the AFL Players' Top 50, brought to you by Mars.

Two of the stars who propelled the Tigers to fifth place last season have leaped up the leaderboard in this year's countdown.

Forward Dustin Martin, whose pre-season headline-making overshadowed a fine 2015 on the field, climbs 19 places from No.39 last year to earn a spot inside the top 20.

All Australian defender Alex Rance has been given a massive endorsement by his peers, rocketing from outside the countdown to make his Top 50 debut at No.19.

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

Here are players 20-11, 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 50-21 and the rest of the AFL Players' Top 50 as they are revealed.

20. Dustin Martin
Last year's ranking: 39
Official AFL Player Rating: 49
Debut: 2010
Games: 131
AFL Fantasy value: $573,000

After a slow start to 2015, the explosive midfielder started firing and rounded out his finest season with a second placing in the best and fairest, and a rise of 19 spots on the player ratings list. Continues to mature and has the ability to be among the best players in the competition. His average disposals, clearances, inside 50s and tackles all lifted to career-high levels last season and he remained an unstoppable opponent in attack with 24 goals. The sky is the limit for Martin in 2016.

19. Alex Rance
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 30
Debut: 2009
Games: 130
AFL Fantasy value: $393,000

Regarded as the best key defender in the AFL after his second consecutive All-Australian season. Following a drawn-out contract saga, the West Australian re-signed and went on to win his first Jack Dyer Medal by a significant margin. Capable of both rebounding and locking down on the opposition’s best key forward, Rance was the Tigers' most consistent performer in big games. He burst into the top 50 after missing out last year, but looks set to stay on the list for years to come.

18. Luke Parker
Sydney Swans
Last year's ranking: 27
Official AFL Player Rating: 37
Debut: 2011
Games: 101
AFL Fantasy value: $533,000

A horror injury late in 2015 put a downer on Parker’s year but it didn’t stop him continuing his push to be considered among the AFL’s elite midfielders. Five goals and 31 possessions against Geelong in round seven was the highlight of an outstanding season, but a broken leg against Collingwood in round 20 cost the Swans during the finals. As tough as they come, Parker was likely to play in the preliminary final should his side have made it, despite having a metal plate in his ankle. The youngest player to be voted into the club’s leadership group, Parker is the Swans’ captain in waiting.

17. Cyril Rioli
Last year's ranking: 38
Official AFL Player Rating: 18
Debut: 2008
Games: 157
AFL Fantasy value: $432,000

With his reconstructed hamstrings and new endurance-based fitness campaign, Rioli took his game to another level in 2015 which, by any measure, was his best for the Hawks. Kicked 42 goals, including a career-best six against Geelong in round 20. He was No. 1 for goal assists (28) and third for tackles (104) for Hawthorn. Back to full fitness, Rioli missed just two games – he was sidelined for 13 matches the year before – and his new-found durability allowed him to play some great burst football through the midfield. Rioli’s last two weeks of the season were sublime, with key goals in the preliminary final and then a Norm Smith Medal in the Grand Final. Re-signed until the end of 2019.

16. Travis Boak
Port Adelaide
Last year's ranking: 9
Official AFL Player Rating: 17
Debut: 2007
Games: 177
AFL Fantasy value: $532,000

Nothing more could have been asked of the Power captain last year, a season in which the club struggled with expectations. When the form of many of his teammates dropped, Boak consistently performed at the highest level. He led the club for disposals (562) and was second for inside 50s (89). Little needs to be said about Boak’s ability – he is one of the best leaders in modern football and an inspiration to his teammates. Signed until the end of 2019.

15. Josh Kennedy
West Coast
Last year's ranking: 43
Official AFL Player Rating: 57
Debut: 2006
Games: 165
Fantasy value: $470,000

Had a phenomenal year up forward, finishing with 80 goals and winning his first Coleman Medal. Kennedy was also named in the All Australian side as vice-captain. He booted 10 goals against Carlton in round two, along with a bag of seven and two of six. He was remarkably consistent, playing every game despite damaging his elbow in round five. Kennedy was dominant in the qualifying final against Hawthorn, but well held in the Grand Final. Nevertheless, his ranking shot up 28 spots from last year.

14. Dan Hannebery
Sydney Swans
Last year's ranking: 40
Official AFL Player Rating: 39
Debut: 2009
Games: 144
AFL Fantasy value: $613,000

After a somewhat disappointing 2014, Hannebery bounced back last year with his most consistent season. The hard-running midfielder played every game and had the most disposals in the AFL, at an average of 30 a match, on his way to winning the AFL Coaches’ Association Player of the Year award and his second All Australian selection. Finished runner-up to Josh Kennedy in the best and fairest and polled a career-best 24 Brownlow votes. The highlight of his year was a 40-possession, three-goal effort in the 52-point victory over Adelaide in round 18. Hannebery’s 720 disposals for the year topped his previous best by 113.

13. Josh Kennedy
Sydney Swans
Last year's ranking: 11
Official AFL Player Rating: 9
Debut: 2008
Games: 158
AFL Fantasy value: $594,000

Stamped himself as one of the Swans’ best of the modern era by winning a second best and fairest last year and continuing his amazing run of form since making the move from Hawthorn for the 2010 season. Kennedy has never finished lower than third in the Bob Skilton Medal while becoming one of the competition's best contested ball-winners. Led the AFL for contested possessions, stoppages and clearances in 2015, racked up more than 30 disposals 15 times and was the highest-polling Swan in the Brownlow Medal with 25 votes, yet missed All Australian selection. Set a competition record when he had 11 successive games of 30 touches or more that was broken only by a 28-possession effort in the Swans’ losing semi-final against North Melbourne. Kennedy’s 39 disposals in the loss to Fremantle in last year’s qualifying final was one of the great performances for a losing team in red and white.

12. Todd Goldstein
North Melbourne
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 4
Debut: 2008
Games: 149
AFL Fantasy value: $630,000

The ruckman took his game to a new level in 2015. His tap work has long been outstanding, and last season he broke Gary Dempsey’s 1982 record for the most hit-outs in a season (952) with 1058 at an average 44.1 a game. Goldstein influenced games around the ground like never before, averaging a career-high 14.7 possessions and 1.3 contested marks a game, while finishing fourth at North for contested possessions (199), clearances (82) and tackles (102). His outstanding year was recognised with his maiden best and fairest award, All Australian selection and a runner-up finish in the AFL Players Association MVP award. Turned his back on free agency at the end of 2015 after signing a contract extension until the end of 2019.

11. Jarryd Roughead
Last year's ranking: 6
Official AFL Player Rating: 16
Debut: 2005
Games: 231
AFL Fantasy value: $488,000

Is he still primarily a key forward or has he morphed into a power midfielder? Roughead kicked 50 goals in 2015 compared with 75 and 72 the previous two seasons and spent considerably more time in the midfield where he ranked fifth at the Hawks (74) in clearances and second (226) in contested possessions. He has become Alastair Clarkson’s go-to man when the Hawks need a timely clearance. Roughead celebrated his fourth flag in 2015 and this one was particularly hard-earned after a traumatic period mid-season when he missed two games after having a melanoma removed from his lip. He is set to miss the first half of 2016 after a PCL reconstruction.

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.