Over and Unders: Top three rated current AFL players
By Daniel Emilio Amato
Overrated #3: Chad Wingard Perception: Elite, A-Grade Superstar Reality: Talented Player While Chad Wingard began his career in emphatic fashion, kicking 148 goals from 89 games in his first four seasons… the early Ken Hinkley days at Port Adelaide still remain his best seasons. While certainly capable of producing match winning moments, incredible skills by foot and the ability to take the ball in the air and out of packs, Wingard is sporadic and tends to have drift in and out of games. While disappointed to lose their favourite-son, Port are winning the Wingard-Burton trade at this point in time. Underrated #3: Brad Sheppard Reason: In the shadow of Premiership stars who play similar roles ie. McGovern, Hurn, Yeo etc. Brad Sheppard is easily the most underrated Eagle. While he doesn’t have the aerial ability of Jeremy McGovern or the penetrating boot of Shannon Hurn, he has always been a reliable defender who works as the link from defence to midfield. His ability to run off half back cannot he underestimated. Averaging 16 possessions in 2020, he is every chance to finally get that premiership medal he missed out on in 2018. Overrated #2: Dyson Heppell Perception: One of the best midfielders in the game. Reality: 2011 NAB Rising Star winner. While Dyson Heppell is certainly skilful and by all means a good player and captain, he is no where near the level of a Martin, Fyfe or Dangerfield. He gets enough of the ball and does usually use it well, he doesn’t impact the game as much as some think. He isn’t overly quick, nor is he overly versatile. He rarely goes into the forward line and kick goals, nor does he go in defence… something many A-Graders do. He also has not translated his great games into finals… playing in four losing elimination finals. Underrated #2: David Mundy Reason: Playing for the smaller of two Western Australian clubs. David Mundy just keeps on keeping on, and is now second on the all time Fremantle games played list. Since his debut, he has been a solid, durable and consistent performer who has given his heart and soul to the Dockers. An elite field kick, strong mark and physically imposing, Mundy is tough to quell. Still averages 18 possessions at 70% efficiency at 35 years of age… may very well play on in 2021. Overrated #1: Jake Stringer Perception: Won a flag in 2016 Reality: Plays 1-3 truly great games a season. Good player, fun to watch and can be trusted in kicking 2-4 goals per game and winning All-Australian. Just because you’re a potential match winner, does not necessarily mean you’re a superstar. While Stringer is talented, he isn’t elite by AFL standards and has only kicked more than 40 goals in a season once. A solid B-Grade forward at his absolute best. Underrated #1: Jarryd Lyons Reason: Always played with superstars ie. Sloane, Dangerfield, Ablett, Hodge, Neale etc. Jarryd Lyons has always been in the shadow of some modern day champions. While isn’t as fast, silky, skilful or exciting to watch as a Gary Ablett Jnr, Patrick Dangerfield or Lachie Neale, what Jarryd Lyons brings it cannot be denied. What Lyons lacks in speed, he makes up for in ball use. He finds the football and uses it well, averaging 22 possessions or more since 2016, extracting to ball from the contest, creating opportunities for his forwards. If Jarryd Lyons was removed from Brisbane, the likes of Lachie Neale and Dayne Zorko would be double-manned and the connection would be stifled. Could be a premiership player this season.