No matter who you support, there are certain AFL players you love, are in your Supercoach team every year, and you’d love to have at your club. There are also certain players that you hate, and you’d go to the footy just to hurl abuse at them from row A of the members stand. But who are the most loved and hated players in the comp?
5. Shane Mumford
Even with a chest bigger than the MCC waiting list, carrying GWS on his enormous shoulders for the last two years can’t have been easy, but you have to love this truck. Arguably the best ruckman in the AFL, he inspires the young Giants with his physicality, and without him, you can’t see them winning too many games.
4. Jack Viney/Ziebell
You’ve just got to love the way these two young Jacks go about their footy. Head over the ball, go in hard, playing footy the way it should be played. If these two players aren’t captains of their respective clubs in five years, I’ll ride a tandem bike with James Hird.
3. Bob Murphy
This man has done everything right since being appointed Bulldogs’ captain in 2015. After losing their CEO, coach, captain Ryan Griffen to GWS, and best player Tom Liberatore to injury before the season had started, the Western Bulldogs’ season looked in more trouble than Harley Bennell. Many (including myself) even predicted they’d be wooden spooners. However the doggies are pushing for an unlikely finals spot, and it has been mostly accredited to Bob’s captaining. He may be skinny, but he’s fierce, and that’s why we all love him.
2. Matt Spangher
A premiership star, I can see no reason as to why he doesn’t get a game in Hawthorn’s first team. Sure, they have two All-Australians, one of which is also a Norm Smith medallist, and a golden fist winner as their key defenders, but this is Spang we’re talking about – he looks like Jesus! Spang would have taken the number one spot based on his cult hero status, but for a very special player.
1. Nat Fyfe
This fine specimen makes most straight men (including me) question their sexuality. The 2015 Brownlow medallist (unless something goes drastically wrong) is clearly the best player in the game at the moment, and on top of that he’s a helicopter pilot! He’s surely the captain of your Supercoach team, and be honest, you got a tiny excited when he was dacked earlier this year.
Notable mentions: Lenny Hayes, Scott Pendlebury, Luke Ball, Jono Brown
5. Travis Cloke
Has there been a more overpaid player in the history of the game? (The jury’s still out on Tom Scully). For someone who is paid to kick goals, he sure kicks a lot of behinds. When he’s firing, he can win games off his own boot. But when he’s not firing, everyone loves to let him know about it.
4. Joel Selwood
This spot was saved for Steve Johnson, until Selwood ‘chicken-winged’ Sam Wright on the weekend. If the constant ducking and raising of the arm wasn’t enough reason to hate the (pains me to say it) talented Geelong captain, the chicken-wing tackle surely pushed him over the line. He’s like Chris Judd but without the Brownlow medals and the eye gouges.
3. Lindsay Thomas
He ducks into tackles. He dives. He whinges. He broke Gary Rohan’s leg. He’s goal hungry and will always try to kick the impossible goal rather than set up a team mate. Good on Brad Scott for dropping him last week.
2. Hayden Ballantyne
Nobody likes this little pest. He enjoys annoying other players with little jabs to the ribs, hair pulling, and other pesky behaviour. Remember when Matthew Scarlett dropped him? Scarlo should have received a medal, not a three week suspension.
1. Adam Goodes
After all the controversy this year, what really needs to be said? He slides in legs first, whinges to the umpires, is protected by the umpires, and looked after by the MRP. He deservedly won two Brownlow medals, but that was a while ago now. Time to retire, Goodesy.
Notable mentions: Stephen Milne, Nick Maxwell, Chris Judd, Steve Johnson, Ryan Crowley, Boomer Harvey, Heritier Lumumba.