Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Numbers Up for Comp's Most Improved Players

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Numbers Up for Comp's Most Improved Players

Article excerpt

SHIRTFRONT

TERRY MALLINDER

@tmall27

I'VE said it before and I'll say it again.

It's time the AFL introduced its own 'most improved player' award, via the league itself, or either of the players' or coaches' associations.

Have it up there on a pedestal alongside the Rising Star. Here are the early contenders ...

DEFENDERS

DYLAN ROBERTON (StK)

The 25-year-old has benefited from the arrival of Jake Carlisle and Nathan Brown down back, freeing him up to average 25.4 disposals (up from 18.9 in 2016).

ADAM TOMLINSON (GWS)

Not only has he played every game, but only Alex Rance has spent more time on the field. The forward-turned-backman is getting the big jobs in defence.

NIC NEWMAN (Syd)

Hello Newman. Didn't play a game in his first two seasons, but the 24-year-old is another Sydney rookie revelation, plucked from Frankston. Has collected 35 and 30 disposals in the past two weeks off half back.

ELLIOT YEO (WC)

Always likened to Nat Fyfe, and is now playing like him, albeit further upfield. Average disposals are up from 16.6 to 25.5, and marks 4.2 to 9.5, with so many of them intercepts.

CALEB MARCHBANK (Carl)

One GWS did not want to lose. Happy back in Victoria, no key defender has taken more marks - averaging eight a match, up from three as a Giant.

RORY LAIRD (Adel)

Hit the ceiling with his improvement last season, but has gone through the roof, average disposals up from 27 to 33, rebounds from 3.3 to 5.2.

MIDFIELDERS

JAKE LLOYD (Syd)

It's not Josh Kennedy or Dan Hannebery leading the disposal count at Sydney, but the fleet-flooted wingman, who's averaging 30 per match (up from a career average 21).

CLAYTON OLIVER (Melb)

Still in only 19, but now sits among the league's top 10 for average disposals (jumping from 19 to 31), contested disposals (9.5 to 16.6), clearances (4 to 6.5), tackles (5 to 7.5). The biggest jump will be in Brownlow votes after three in his debut year.

BRAD HILL (Fre)

Already has three premiership medallions from his time at Hawthorn, but is in career-best form playing alongside brother Stephen at Freo, average disposals up from 17 to 25. …

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