NICK Riewoldt versus Matthew Pavlich.
Their records and talents were extraordinary, and extraordinarily similar in number.
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Riewoldt played 336 matches for St Kilda (208 as captain) for 718 goals, won six best-and-fairest awards and five Virgin Australia AFL All Australians.
Pavlich played 353 games for Fremantle (190 as captain) for 700 goals, won six best-and-fairests and six All-Australians.
And the man who helped shaped both careers, Ross Lyon can’t split them.
"Allan Jeans gave me advice, which I'm going to adhere to – he said it's like picking a favourite child; don't do it, son," Lyon said when asked by Damian Barrett in episode three of The Coach on AFL.com.au.
"… I got splinters on my arse, that’s what I've got."
In this episode of The Coach, Lyon said the two superstars' similarities extended to off-field qualities.
"In a lot of ways, they are very similar people, too," he said. "Attention to detail. Driven off the field. Studies. Methodical preparation. Really good sense of humour. Both are really close to their families.
"And in saying that, different players. What distinguishes Matthew is I think he was All-Australian centre half-back, a midfielder, and a forward, whereas Nick, I think, played back centre half-back one year, not under me, under Grant (Thomas), when he came back from injury, and I think he played really well.
"Predominantly, the hardest position on the field is centre half-forward. Different players. Nick was an incredible aerobic beast, he'd take a mark, and take them back.
"Whereas Matthew had probably a little more ground level than Nick, and Matthew had probably a bit more power.
"They were different athletes. Allan Jeans gave me advice, which I'm going to adhere to. He said it's like picking a favourite child. Don't do it, son. He coached great players, separate Dermott (Brereton) from (Jason) Dunstall, you just don't do it."
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Pushed again to answer the question of who he would take if both players were lined up on a wall, Lyon again couldn't bring himself to place one ahead of the other.
"This is an honorary gig, not a paid gig, so I tell you what, when it starts blowing in, I'll have an opinion," Lyon joked.