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AFL's Elite

Ben Guthrie, AFL Media  February 5, 2018 11:51 AM

AFL 2017 First Qualifying Final - Adelaide v GWS Giants

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 07: (L-R) Tom Lynch and Taylor Walker of the Crows celebrate after scoring a goal during the AFL First Qualifying Final match between the Adelaide Crows and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Adelaide Oval on September 7, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images/AFL Media)

Adelaide, Port Adelaide, West Coast have the most elite players in the competition, according to Champion Data's latest rankings. 

Sydney is the next best team with five players listed as 'elite', while Geelong, Greater Western Sydney and Melbourne have four players in that category. 

Those in the 'elite' category are classified as the top 10 percent of players in their position over the past two seasons.

The Crows' list of elite players consists of injured defender Brodie Smith, Rory Sloane, Rory Laird, Eddie Betts, Tom Lynch and Taylor Walker.

Reigning best and fairest winner Matt Crouch is considered 'above average,' along with four other Crows teammates (Sam Jacobs, Rory Atkins, Daniel Talia and Josh Jenkins).

Their crosstown foes, Port Adelaide, have Robbie Gray, Paddy Ryder, Justin Westhoff, Charlie Dixon, Chad Wingard and Travis Boak considered elite.

Champion Data has recorded Power recruits Jack Watts and Steven Motlop as above average. 

West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui has retained his elite status, despite missing the entire 2017 season following a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.

Jeremy McGovern, Elliot Yeo, Shannon Hurn, Josh Kennedy and Luke Shuey are the other elite Eagles.

The Swans have Lance Franklin, Dan Hannebery, Tom Papley, Josh Kennedy and Dane Rampe as elite, with 12 players ranked above average. 

Geelong's four elite players does not include inspirational skipper Joel Selwood, who is instead ranked in the above average category. 

However, mercurial forward Daniel Menzel is rated as elite after booting 73 goals over his last two seasons even despite missing several games through soreness, being rested or even omitted, as he was for last year's qualifying final against Richmond. 

Marquee recruit Gary Ablett, superstar midfielder Patrick Dangerfield and hard-working half-forward Sam Menegola make up the Cats' elite quartet.

Star Melbourne defender Jake Lever arrives at his new club, following a much-publicised trade from Adelaide, as elite, while Christian Petracca, Jayden Hunt and Tom McDonald are the other Demons to make the cut.

The Western Bulldogs have just one elite player and it's not who you would immediately suspect.

Rebounding half-back Jason Johannisen has been given the nod, despite what was a statistically down year compared with his 2016 season. 

Marcus Bontempelli hasn't been branded as elite, but instead has been given the tag of 'above average'. 

Other surprise elite players include Essendon's Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, St Kilda's Jack Sinclair, Brisbane Lion Daniel Rich, Collingwood's Jack Crisp and North Melbourne's Todd Goldstein. 

Last year's premier Richmond has three elite players – Dustin Martin, Alex Rance and Shane Edwards. 

Premiership skipper Trent Cotchin is rated as 'above average'. 

Champion Data rated Richmond's list as the ninth best in the competition, with the Swans' list the best – taking into account their elite and above average players. 

See below for the full list of elite players club-by-club. 

Adelaide

Brodie Smith
Rory Sloane
Rory Laird
Eddie Betts
Tom Lynch
Taylor Walker

Brisbane Lions

Daniel Rich
Dayne Zorko 

Carlton

Sam Docherty 

Collingwood

Jeremy Howe
Scott Pendlebury
Jack Crisp 

Essendon

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
Michael Hurley 

Fremantle

Nat Fyfe

Geelong

Patrick Dangerfield
Gary Ablett
Sam Menegola
Daniel Menzel

Gold Coast

Aaron Hall
Tom Lynch 

GWS

Zac Williams
Toby Greene
Jeremy Cameron
Lachie Whitfield 

Hawthorn

Ben McEvoy
Luke Breust
Cyril Rioli 

Melbourne

Jake Lever
Christian Petracca
Jayden Hunt
Tom McDonald 

North Melbourne

Todd Goldstein

Port Adelaide

Robbie Gray
Paddy Ryder
Justin Westhoff
Charlie Dixon
Chad Wingard
Travis Boak 

Richmond

Dustin Martin
Alex Rance
Shane Edwards 

St Kilda

Jack Sinclair

Sydney

Lance Franklin
Dan Hannebery
Tom Papley
Josh Kennedy
Dane Rampe 

West Coast

Jeremy McGovern
Elliot Yeo
Shannon Hurn
Josh Kennedy
Luke Shuey
Nic Naitanui

Western Bulldogs

Jason Johannisen