FOR the fourth year, on the eve of the premiership season presented the AFL players with a simple challenge: rank the best 50 players in the League.

We continue the 2017 AFL Players' Top 50 countdown with players 40-36, starting with resilient Magpie Adam Treloar's debut at No.40.

The countdown continues until Thursday, March 16, when the AFL's No.1 player – according to his peers – is unveiled.

Who's next? Check out the rest of the AFL Players' Top 50 as they are revealed

40. Adam Treloar

Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 18
Debut: 2012
Games: 101
AFL Fantasy value: $673,000 

Adam Treloar withstood a pressure cooker 2016 to deliver his best year to date and earn the recognition of his peers with the No.40 spot in the AFL Players' Top 50.

Arriving at Collingwood from Greater Western Sydney, Treloar was open in declaring the Magpies had the "better list" than rival suitor Richmond.

The barb at the Tigers ensured there was plenty of spice when the two teams locked horns during the season.

His exchange with Tigers skipper Trent Cotchin at the end of the club's thrilling last-gasp one-point victory in round two was one of 2016's most discussed moments.

Treloar (r) wrestles with Tiger Nick Vlastuin during last season's fiery clash. Picture: AFL Photos

But the 23-year-old managed to ignore the talk and continue to deliver where it mattered.

Treloar averaged 30.6 disposals (12 contested possessions) and 5.4 clearances per game.

Runner-up in the Magpies' best and fairest behind only skipper Scott Pendlebury, he established himself as an inside and outside threat and one of the competition's premier midfielders.

Treloar's ability to burst away from stoppages and send the ball inside 50 gives the Pies a point of difference.

However, he doesn't just rely on his breakaway speed. Treloar has displayed throughout his career that he is more than happy to dig the ball out from the bottom of packs or put his body on the line to stop an opponent. He averaged a career-high 6.3 tackles per game in 2016.

When he accepted a trade to the biggest club in the land, Treloar knew he'd face the glare of the AFL spotlight. Happily for Magpie fans, he's thriving in it.

– Ben Guthrie

39. Steele Sidebottom

Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 79
Debut: 2009
Games: 49
AFL Fantasy value: $624,000 

Early in his career, Sidebottom developed a reputation as a big-game player. The higher the stakes, the better he would perform. The smooth-moving midfielder retains that status. But as his Players' Top 50 ranking suggests, he is also an every-week performer – a player Nathan Buckley can depend on to get to the job done. Sidebottom runs opponents into the ground with his exceptional endurance base; he makes good decisions with the ball and uses it effectively on most occasions.  

38. Taylor Walker

Last year's ranking: 38
Official AFL Player Rating: 92
Debut: 2009
Games: 130
AFL Fantasy value: $453,000 

Recognised as the best captain in the League by the AFL Players' Association, it's no surprise his fellow players rate the Adelaide captain higher than what his pure numbers might suggest. The key forward's 47 goals for last season and 6.7 marks per game only tell half the story of what Walker brings to the table. His leadership to the Crows is invaluable, setting the tone for the side's younger players to follow while also pushing his more experienced teammates to go the extra mile.

37. Luke Shuey

West Coast
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 20
Debut: 2010
Games: 134
AFL Fantasy value: $597,000

Shuey stamped himself among the competition's elite midfielders after the finest season of his career in 2016. Blessed with line-breaking pace and tough enough to win his own ball, the 26-year-old took his game to a new level with his consistency and ability to swing games – most notably the epic one-point win over GWS in round 21 when he had 38 touches and booted two goals. Shuey had 21 disposals or more in every game bar one last season on his way to claiming his maiden club champion award and being named in the 40-man All Australian squad. 

36. Dayne Zorko

Brisbane Lions
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 10
Debut: 2012
Games: 101
AFL Fantasy value: $640,000

Zorko stood head and shoulders above his teammates in a horror 2016 for the Lions. The diminutive midfielder won his second successive Merrett Murray Medal for best and fairest, averaging 23 disposals, six tackles and kicking 23 goals. He has explosive pace from the contest, is dangerous when pushing forward and did not drop his standards despite the Lions winning just three games. His fellow players clearly expect more of the same in 2017.

Catch up

50-41: Tough-as-nail Demon's time arrives

Who's next?

• Check out the rest of the AFL Players' Top 50 as they are revealed

• Breakout stars: The players name the seven most likely to explode

Who topped the count in 2016?