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The form rollercoaster: Who's improved the most, who's gone backwards?

Lance Franklin, Travis Boak and Jack Redden are all among this year's biggest form risers and sliders - AFL,Player Ratings
Lance Franklin, Travis Boak and Jack Redden are all among this year's biggest form risers and sliders

THEY'RE the 10 risers and sliders of the competition, those who have made the biggest jumps and have fallen away more drastically than anyone else.

Champion Data, using its Official AFL Player Ratings, compared every individual's performances from last year to this year.

PLAYER RATINGS Who's the AFL's No.1 player?

It's a measure that considers a variety of stats to come up with a score to judge how effective players have been. 

To qualify for this exercise, players need to have lined up in at least 15 games last season and nine this season. 

Let's start with the positives.

The risers

1. Brandon Matera (Fremantle)
Talent was never an issue for the left-footer, stretching back to his Gold Coast days, but the 27-year-old is now putting it all together. He's booted 24 goals from his 11 matches, is converting his shots at 11.4 per cent higher accuracy and has tripled his forward 50 marks per game to 1.5.

 

2. Ricky Henderson (Hawthorn)
What the one-time delisted free agent is doing is pretty phenomenal. At 30, he's producing easily the finest footy of his career. Compared to 2018, his average disposals have increased by 7.1, to 27.4, and he's going at 8.2 marks per game to rank sixth in the competition.

3. Travis Boak (Port Adelaide)
The former Power captain is defying belief with his exploits. Last season, it looked like his career might be winding down. Scotch those thoughts. Boak is flying and his coach Ken Hinkley believes the 30-year-old has never played better. His average contested possession count has spiked by almost six, up to 15.2 per game, ranked No.6 in the AFL.

 

4. Darcy Tucker (Fremantle)
Another of the reasons Freo has emerged as a finals contender. Having shifted from half-back to an onball role, Tucker is winning more of it (his average disposals have lifted by more than five to 19.7), his pressure points have gone up from 33.4 to 41.6 per game, while his score involvements have improved to 4.6.

5. Hugh McCluggage (Brisbane)
In his third year, it's no surprise this classy jet has gone to another level. He's added goalkicking to his arsenal, going at 1.2 per game, up from 0.5, is collecting more of the footy and his average inside 50s have swollen by almost two, up to 4.5 

The sliders

1. Tom McDonald (Melbourne)
He proved the matchwinner late against the Dockers but the versatile tall hasn't come close to replicating his outstanding form of 2018. Having bagged 2.6 goals per game last season, that number has tumbled to 0.8. A key reason has been the Demon's woeful conversion rate, going from 68.8 per cent to 39.3 per cent.

2. Jesse Hogan (Fremantle)
Another who was so crucial to setting up Melbourne's return to the finals last year, Hogan has since gone to Fremantle but hasn't shown what he can do, and won't for a while as he deals with a new foot injury. His average goals have more than halved to 1.1 and like McDonald, Hogan has been similarly wayward, his goalkicking accuracy falling by more than 20 points to 43.3 per cent.

3. Lance Franklin (Sydney)
We've seen he's still capable of the acts that make him a scintillating superstar, with reigning premier West Coast experiencing the 'Buddy' show, but he's dropped in several key areas. Perhaps most interestingly, his win percentage in one-on-one contests has plunged from 46 per cent to 34.1. He's averaging almost four fewer disposals per game, down to 11.4.

4. Jack Redden (West Coast)
An underrated part of the side that won the flag, the hard nut's production is diminished, both inside and outside. His contested possession and clearance averages have ticked down to 8.7 and 3.5 respectively and his metres gained have shrunk from 337 to 221.

Jack Redden hasn't been able to replicate his 2018 impact. Picture: AFL Photos

5. Josh Thomas (Collingwood)
An important cog last season in what was a multi-dimensional and dangerous forward set-up, Thomas hasn't backed it up. His goals per game have gone from 1.5 to 0.9. Similar to McDonald and Hogan, he's wasted his opportunities, with his accuracy in front of goal slumping more than 16 points to 48 per cent.

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