With the 2016 AFL season done and dusted, we can now turn our attention to 2017 and look at the Top 100 Hero’s still going around, and celebrate their achievements in 2017 as they happen.
Our 2016 Games hero’s list was decimated at the end of the season with the retirement/delisting of 5 players, including the four leaders from the current day players list: Brent Harvey (North Melbourne), Matthew Pavlich (Fremantle), Corey Enright (Geelong) and Nick Dal Santo (North Melbourne and formerly St Kilda). This list includes three club record games holders (Harvey, Pavlich and Enright). Jimmy Bartel, Corey Enright’s team mate at Geelong also retired, meaning that the current list includes a healthy 11 players set to climb up the ladder during the year. Five of these players (Including Drew Petrie, who received a late reprieve from West Coast Eagles) have already passed the once iconic total of 300 games, whilst another six current Top 100 players (including the returning Robert Murphy (Western Bulldogs) would be hoping to achieve it during the 2017 season. Western Bulldog’s Matthew Boyd would be hoping to not only join the Top 100, but to also pass the 300 game milestone. Steve Johnson (Greater Western Sydney) and Leigh Montagna (St Kilda) should be able to join the Top 100, but will find the 300 club a bridge too far in 2017.
Interestingly, with the change of club of Drew Petrie and Sam Mitchell during the off season, only four current Top 100 players still remain with the club that they started with: Nick Riewoldt (St Kilda), Robert Murphy (Western Bulldogs), Jarrad McVeigh (Sydney Swans) and Luke Hodge (Hawthorn).
The Top 100 Goal Kickers had 2 members who finished their careers at the end of 2017 (Pavlich and Harvey) but can still boast 9 players in this elite group. Gary Ablett (Gold Coast Suns) and Mark LeCras (West Coast Eagles) would only require average goal kicking seasons to join this list of hero’s, whilst a stand out season by Jarrad Waite could see him also become a member.
Travis Cloke, now with the Western Bulldogs would be hoping for a year much better than his disappointing 2016 at Collingwood that saw him slip down the goal kicking list behind the two stand out forwards for 2016: Josh Kennedy (West Coast Eagles) and Eddie Betts (Adelaide). Steve Johnson, Jack Riewoldt, Eddie Betts and Josh Kennedy would all be hoping to achieve the 500 goals mark in 2017.