WHICH player can your club rely on the most?
Whether by good fortune, good management or good form, there's some players that just don't miss a beat and have managed remarkable runs of consecutive games.
We take a look at which players you can depend on the most at your club.
Keays' career revival since being delisted by Brisbane at the end of 2019 has been nothing short of remarkable. The hard nut has now played 83 games on the bounce, missing just one match (round one, 2020) since joining the Crows. Midfield gun Rory Laird has been equally as reliable, missing only three games in the past five seasons and just five out of a possible 153 since the start of 2017. – Alison O'Connor
The Lions small forward continues to play an important, and consistent, role for Brisbane. Cameron has played 118 consecutive games, which is the third-longest active streak in the AFL. The only games the gun goalkicker has missed since joining Brisbane from Adelaide came in the second half of 2018 due to an ankle injury. Two-time Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale is also proving to be reliable for the Lions, having played 55 consecutive games. – Dejan Kalinic
The ultra-dependable Saad would be one of the first names picked on Michael Voss' whiteboard each week – simply because he rarely misses a game. In fact, the 29-year-old has sat out just two of 70 matches for the Blues since crossing from Essendon for the 2021 season. So reliable is Saad that he has played 151 out of a possible 154 games for both clubs. Two-time Coleman medallist Charlie Curnow, who this week was named one of three vice-captains at the Blues, has also become a model of consistency for the Blues, racking up 52 consecutive games. – Brandon Cohen
The most reliable and dependable player in the League, Jack Crisp's extraordinary run of games is getting ever closer to all-time levels. The Magpie has played 214 games in a row, the third longest streak in VFL/AFL history, and he has Adem Yze's mark of 226 in his sights this year. The all-time record of 244 held by the great Jim Stynes will have to wait until next year, if Crisp can stay on the park in 2024. Based on his career so far, you'd be brave to bet against him. - Martin Smith
Not only is he Essendon's captain and best player, but Merrett has proven his ability to back up on a weekly basis for the Bombers. Since the start of 2016, the star midfielder – now a three-time All-Australian – has played 169 of a possible 175 games. He missed just one game last year due to suspension. Nic Martin, who is beginning to make his mark at Essendon, has the longest active streak of consecutive games played for the Bombers with 43. – Dejan Kalinic
Not just a key member of the Dockers' engine room, Andrew Brayshaw has become one of the game's most consistent midfielders. The former No.2 pick has played 123 games out of a possible 130, with three of his missed matches coming after he was infamously punched by Andrew Gaff in 2018. Averaging 29.1 disposals in 2023, Brayshaw's reliability is matched by his consistency. – Sophie Welsh
After being plucked from Geelong's VFL side at the end of 2018 as a mature-aged rookie, Atkins has become the ultimate team man at the Cats. Not only can the 28-year-old play whatever role coach Chris Scott throws at him – he's played as a defensive small forward, a rebounding defender and through the midfield – but he is equally as reliable when it comes to fronting up each week. Atkins has missed just three matches in the past three seasons, and has played the past 52 games consecutively. – Alison O'Connor
Having been ravaged by injury early in his career, David Swallow's ability to get on the park week in, week out has increased with age. The 31-year-old has missed just three of Gold Coast's 106 games in the past five seasons and is currently on a streak of 53 games in a row dating back to round 15, 2021. Matt Rowell, another player who suffered serious injuries early in his career, is currently enjoying a run of 56 games in a row stretching back to the middle of 2021. - Martin Smith
Capable of delivering at both ends of the ground, Himmelberg has also shown he is almost always available for the Giants. The swingman has played 136 of a possible 139 games since the start of 2018. Himmelberg has kicked 30-plus goals in a season twice (2019 and 2021), but the Giants have valued his ability in defence, and he settled in the backline to finish the 2023 season. – Dejan Kalinic
'Mr Reliable' is an apt description for the underrated defender. In more ways than one. While he may fly under the radar outside the club, Hardwick is highly valued inside the four walls at Hawthorn, regularly shutting out some of the opposition's best small forwards. The 26-year-old has missed just six games out of a possible 152 since 2017, and has featured in 50 consecutive matches. Hardwick has been training with the forward group over summer and is expected to spend some time in attack this season. – Brandon Cohen
Not only is Petracca one of the most important players at coach Simon Goodwin's disposal, he's as durable as they come. The midfield gun has clocked up 132 games on the trot, second only to Collingwood's Jack Crisp. Coming off the back of a standout season where he led the League in score involvements and ranked third for total possessions, the Demons will be hoping the 28-year-old doesn't miss a beat again in 2024. – Alison O'Connor
What makes Larkey so valuable to North Melbourne isn't just his ability to kick big bags, but how consistently he kicks them. Larkey has played 65 out of a possible 67 games in the past three years, with his reliability reaching new heights in 2023. Averaging 3.1 goals per game last year, Larkey kicked a goal in every game bar round four and kicked bags of five-plus five times to boot. The only problem is that North may be too reliant on Larkey, with the 2023 All-Australian single-handedly kicking 29 per cent of North's goals last season. – Sophie Welsh
Since arriving at Port Adelaide with the 33rd pick in the 2016 AFL Draft, Drew has established himself as one of the club's most reliable performers. The 25-year-old has not missed a game for three seasons, a run stretching to 72 consecutive matches. Highly respected among the playing group, Drew signed a four-extension late last year until the end of 2028 and has been elevated into the club's leadership group. It would be remiss not to mention evergreen midfielder Travis Boak here. Now 35, Boak has been remarkably durable over his 17-year journey, playing 348 out of a possible 385 matches as he enters what is potentially his final AFL season. – Brandon Cohen
He's renowned for his toughness and courage, but Baker is also an ultra-reliable member of Richmond's outfit when it comes to availability. The dual premiership Tiger is on a run of 86 consecutive games, and he's only missed one game in the past four seasons – back in round three, 2020 – which was due to a family funeral. – Alison O'Connor
Plucked out of the SANFL ahead of the 2019 season, the former Adelaide accountant has not missed a beat - or a game - since debuting. Wilkie is a key pillar in the Saints' famously stingy defence, and has only improved across his four years in the comp, culminating in his first All-Australian blazer last season. He holds the fourth longest active games streak with 109, and regularly takes the scalps of some of the game's best forwards. - Sophie Welsh
A move from midfield to half-back has done nothing to stop Ollie Florent, with the 25-year-old on a run of 93 consecutive matches, the fifth-longest streak in the League. In fact, the Victorian has missed just one of Sydney's 134 games in the past six seasons, when he was a late withdrawal against Geelong in 2019. The gold standard at the Swans for reliability remains tough midfielder Luke Parker, who has defied the physicality of his role to play 251 of the club's 258 matches since the start of 2013. - Martin Smith
It was tough to find a candidate for the Eagles given their nightmare run of injuries in recent years, but Jack Darling's career remains a remarkable case of dependability. Now 31, the key forward missed three games in 2023 and recently suffered a hamstring issue, but he's nonetheless played 277 of the club's 299 games since being drafted way back in 2010. - Martin Smith
A remarkably consistent and durable performer for the Bulldogs, Macrae's consecutive games streak came to an end in 2023. The midfielder played 119 straight matches before a concussion saw him ruled out of the final-round clash against Geelong last year. That is the only game Macrae has missed since round 16, 2018. Rebounding defender Bailey Dale holds the longest active streak of consecutive games played for the Bulldogs with 72. – Dejan Kalinic