40. Darren Glass
Official AFL Player Rating: 186
Put aside any thought of retirement to sign a one-year deal for 2014. The highly respected captain is rarely beaten on the last line of defence and has an ability to play on tall and small opponents. No longer takes the opposition's best forward but is still the general in defence.
39. Cyril Rioli
Official AFL Player Rating: 11
The dynamic small forward spent time in defence during pre-season and could play more in the back half as the season progresses. Was hampered by setbacks in 2013, missing nine weeks with a hamstring injury suffered against North Melbourne in round five and then a further two after he rolled his ankle in round 22, again against the Kangaroos. In the 15 games he played, the 2012 All-Australian continued to strike terror into opposition defenders whenever he was near the ball. He booted 19 goals for the year and averaged just over four tackles a game.
Official AFL Player Rating: 73
Blessed with few injury concerns over the first 13 years of his career, Goodes’ body has let him down at times in the past two seasons and he missed the start of the Swans’ 2014 campaign.
He missed five games in 2012 with a torn quad, but still played his part in a second flag. Last season, however, a knee injury in round 13 proved the end of his 2013 campaign. There were still highlights, including a stunning performance in the round nine victory over Collingwood, to show the Swans’ games record-holder is still a tremendously dangerous proposition when fully fit.
37. Brendon Goddard
Official AFL Player Rating: 54
Goddard’s terrific first season at Essendon was capped when he won the Crichton Medal, the first best and fairest of his career. The former St Kilda star played every game, mainly through the midfield, and averaged 26 disposals. He kicked 18 goals, his best season tally since 2010. Goddard’s leadership was valued on and off the field and his maturity and experience in big games aided the young Essendon list.
36. Rory Sloane
Official AFL Player Rating: 20
A super competitor, Sloane is often at his best in trying conditions when desire counts most. His work ethic is tremendous and he has pace and quick hands in close. Enjoyed another sensational season for the Crows in 2013 and was rewarded with the Malcolm Blight Medal as best and fairest. He is a natural leader and, along with fellow midfielder Patrick Dangerfield, is one of the club’s most influential players.
Official AFL Player Rating: 109
The champion ruckman had to shoulder the burden of being the main big man in 2013 as Nic Naitanui battled injury all season. Cox was one of only two Eagles to play all 22 games. He averaged 27 hit-outs and 15 disposals a game and kicked 13 goals. The veteran’s ability to have an impact in big games remains strong and his experience and leadership is of great value.
34. Chad Wingard
Official AFL Player Rating: 51
A supremely confident competitor, Wingard has the skill and ability to justify his approach. Fast, courageous and with an insatiable appetite for a contest, the youngster was one of Port’s most important players in 2013. His five-goal, match-winning performance against Adelaide in round 19 will go down as the day Wingard came of age. He earned All-Australian selection in just his second season and booted 41 goals. Wingard is a highlights reel and a superstar in the making.
33. Andrew Swallow
Official AFL Player Rating: 56
The Roos skipper started last season in brilliant fashion, polling 11 Brownlow Medal votes in the first six rounds as he averaged more than 28 possessions a game. But he suffered a knee injury in round seven against the Western Bulldogs that hampered him for several weeks. Swallow’s season ended in devastating fashion when he ruptured his left Achilles tendon in round 18 against Melbourne, an injury that could sideline him until the second half of this year. Despite his injury woes, Swallow finished sixth in the competition for average clearances (6.2 a game), ninth for tackles (6.3) and equal 14th for contested possessions (12.1).
Official AFL Player Rating: 15
The exciting Eagle is still to regain full fitness as he battles persistent groin troubles. Had surgery in November 2012 and did not play until round six last season. Was dominant in round eight with a big mark and goal after the siren to beat North Melbourne, but played sore thereafter before finally succumbing to injury in round 17. He was rested for the remainder of the season and trained solidly on his own during September and October to be ready and pain-free for the pre-season. Played in a trial game on March 14 and is expected to play this weekend.
When fit, Nic Naitanui is one of the League's most electrifying big men. Picture: AFL Media
Official AFL Player Rating: 26
Renowned big-game player who spent much of last season playing across half-back. Averaged almost 24 disposals a game, which was three more than in 2012, although he averaged close to 30 touches a match when he was a permanent fixture in the Cats’ midfield from 2007-09. The Cats’ vice-captain has been outstanding in finals and knows how to get himself involved in games whenever needed.
Who's next? Check out the rest of the AFL Players' Top 50 as they are revealed