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Katrina Gill  February 1, 2013 10:45 AM

Sam Jacobs and Scott Thompson formed the best ruck/rover combination in the League in 2012

Sam Jacobs and Scott Thompson formed the best ruck/rover combination in the League in 2012

Love a good stat? Then you should enjoy this selection of brilliant and quirky statistics from the annual Champion Data AFL Prospectus …

2012 Club Champion Scott Thompson ranked No.1 in the AFL in gathers from hit-outs last season. This was helped by the fact that Thompson attended the second-most centre bounces of any midfielder.

All-Australian Crow Patrick Dangerfield was the most improved player in the League in 2012 according to Champion Data ranking points. Dangerfield ranked No.1 in hard-ball gets, second in contested possession and eighth overall in metres gained.

Forward Ian Callinan enjoyed road trips last year, posting the biggest differential in Champion Data ranking points between away and home games of any player in the competition. Interestingly, Callinan kicked 27 of his 39 goals interstate.

Callinan owned another interesting stat in 2012. The classy veteran used his non-preferred (left) foot for 38.1% of his kicks. Only Hawthorn star Sam Mitchell (49.3%) went to his ‘opposite’ foot more than Callinan. In a reflection of his uncanny skill level, there was only a 0.7% difference in kicking efficiency between Callinan’s right and left-foot kicks. This sees him classed as one of the ‘elite’ kicks in the competition.

Callinan's dual-footedness helped to make up for a lack of left-footers in the team. Adelaide is ranked last in the competition for games played by left-footers in the past two seasons (35), with only Sam Shaw and Chris Knights, who has joined Richmond contributing to that total. Hawthorn tops the list with 506 games by left-footers in 2011-12. Knights’ departure has been offset by the arrival of left-footed draftee Rory Atkins. Young midfielders Mitch Grigg and Nick Joyce are also left-footers.

Ruckman Sam Jacobs topped the AFL in hit-outs to advantage. Jacobs and Scott Thompson also formed the best ruck/rover combination in the League, combining for 68 hit-outs to advantage across the home and away season – 22 more than any other pair.

Captain Nathan van Berlo took out Champion Data’s ‘Ronaldo’ award, effecting more ground (soccer kicks) than any other AFL player. VB also kicked a few handy ones above the ground, scoring a career-high 13 goals for the season.

And while we’re making soccer references, defender Ben Rutten kept 10 ‘clean sheets’ (kept his direct opponent goalless) in 2012.

Brent Reilly also proved hard to get past in the latter part of the season, not conceding a goal to his direct opponent in his last seven games, while Sam Shaw averaged the second-most spoils of any general defender in the competition.

Star Crow Taylor Walker averaged 8.6 score involvements per game and was involved in 30.7% of Adelaide’s team scores. Gold Coast skipper and Brownlow Medallist Gary Ablett led the way in this statistic, involved in 36.2% of his team’s overall scores.

Walker kicked 65 goals for the season, including bags of four or more in nine games. He has kicked a total of 153 goals in his 64 games. Of the current AFL players, only Lance Franklin has kicked more goals at the same stage of his career (167).

Walker’s teammate in attack, Jared Petrenko ranked No.1 at Adelaide for forward-half pressure and equal-12th in the competition for forward tackles during the home and away season. Petrenko created turnovers more often than any of the top 150-ranked players for pressure acts in the minor round.