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Is this the competition's most underrated player?

Jack Macrae is No.5 in the competition for ground ball gets. - AFL,Player Ratings,Jack Macrae
Jack Macrae is No.5 in the competition for ground ball gets.

THERE'S a top-five player in the competition not receiving anywhere near the level of recognition he deserves for his performances this season.

Coming into round 16, Western Bulldogs midfielder Jack Macrae has recorded the fifth-highest average Official AFL Player Ratings points for players who have appeared in at least 10 games this year.

The only four ahead of Macrae are Nat Fyfe, Patrick Cripps, Max Gawn and Marcus Bontempelli.

Jack Macrae tackles Port Adelaide's Travis Boak in the wet at Adelaide Oval. Picture: AFL Photos

They are all names regularly discussed as being among the AFL's elite, but Macrae is never mentioned in that conversation.

There are several reasons to think that's a mistake. Take a look at where the Bulldog ranks in several crucial categories (all rankings are based on averages): 

  • 2 for crumbing possessions (ball won at ground level after a marking contest, when Macrae wasn't involved in the original aerial contest)
  • 3 for effective disposals (kicks under 40m that hit the target, kicks over 40m that go to a 50/50 contest or better for the Dogs, and handballs that hit the target)
  • 3 for assisted metres gained (metres gained by the player Macrae passed to)
  • 4 for score assists (create a score by directly passing the football to a fellow Bulldog, whether via a disposal, knock-on, kick off the ground, hitout or when Macrae has won a free kick but someone else takes the advantage and scores)
  • 5 for ground ball gets (contested possessions won at ground level, excluding free kicks)

The numbers are exceptional, which is ironic because Macrae's impact often flies under the radar.

AFL PLAYER RATINGS Who are your club's leaders?

Player Ratings is a measure that uses a variety of stats to come up with a score determining how well someone has performed.

Top 10 players this season (determined by average Player Ratings score, minimum 10 games)

  1. Nat Fyfe (Fremantle)
  2. Patrick Cripps (Carlton)
  3. Max Gawn (Melbourne)
  4. Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs)
  5. Jack Macrae (Western Bulldogs)
  6. Luke Parker (Sydney)
  7. Lachie Neale (Brisbane)
  8. Brodie Grundy (Collingwood)
  9. Rory Sloane (Adelaide)
  10. Ben Cunnington (North Melbourne)