Players who have actually got better in their early 30s

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btdg

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Best nomination I've seen.

Blues fans would know more but to me Kade Simpson was much more consistently damaging HBFer as an over 30 year old then he was as a wingman.
It's close with Simpson. He had a fantastic 2010 year on the wing, but probably played the footy he was most remembered for after going to a half-back flank under Malthouse (might be the only good thing Malthouse did for the club). Simpson won the BnF for Carlton in our last finals year (2013) aged 29 - that was a pretty good team too. His best statistical season was 2016 (aged 33), and that was also the only year he made the All-Australian squad.

Ed Curnow is another from Carlton -turned 30 this year. He had slightly better numbers 2 years ago, but this year he has just so reliably shut down the best opposing midfielder, while also playing a more attacking role himself. Carlton's midfield numbers are all down under Teague as part of our game plan, but from the eye test at least he's better at 30 than ever before.

Of course, the all-time Carlton example of this is Craig Bradley. Had 55 brownlow votes in 9 seasons prior to 30, and 86 votes in 8 seasons after 30, including hist best ever season in '99 at age 35. He was a fantastic rover when he first came to the club but thrived when switched to that outside role from '95 onwards. He did win 2 BnF before 30 and only 1 after, and split All-australians 2 before and 2 after as well, but for consistency I'd take 30+ Bradley.
 

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RichLeMonde

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Richo's best year as a footballer in my opinion was in 2008 when he nearly won the Brownlow playing as a 6' 3 wingman for the second half of the year. It rends to be forgotten because a few games into 2009 Wallace put him back on the field after he'd done a hammy and he tore it off the bone.
Sorry to be a stickler but Richo was exactly 6'6" (and the best runner at Richmond), so yeah, was a bit of a beast on the wing.
 

Farm Boy

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Mayweather was all time great material in his 20’s. He didn’t get better in his 30’s just got bigger fights. He was better in his 20’s, but was considered too much of a risk for the bigger names to fight, plus, he was at a smaller weight division bereft of talent. Such was his class in his 20’s that he regularly jumped divisions looking for challenges anyway.


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PhatBoy

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Mayweather was all time great material in his 20’s. He didn’t get better in his 30’s just got bigger fights. He was better in his 20’s, but was considered too much of a risk for the bigger names to fight, plus, he was at a smaller weight division bereft of talent. Such was his class in his 20’s that he regularly jumped divisions looking for challenges anyway.


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On the flipside the likes of Holyfield and even Foreman to an extent (not as dominant in his second coming but probably a lot smarter) certainly produced some of their best in that time.

Though I think with Boxing the scope for one's peak is a lot longer than in football or other sports
 

RichLeMonde

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Can't say he was better in his 30s, but maybe more consistent - Boomer Harvey played 8 season in his 30s and averaged > 21 touches in all of them, and > a goal a game in all of them except 1, which is unbelievable. Before the age of 30 he had a couple of seasons averaging < than a goal a game and 4 seasons averaging < than 20 touches (not including his first season when he played 1 game), although to be fair all his AA gongs came in that patch.
 

Hawker55

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Burgoyne is a weired one. He peaked around 2006-07. But theN was an average mid for many years before getting much better in his 30s again albeit in a pinch hitting role.
Don't forget he did his knee around about then and was on crutches when he came over to us (2010).
 

Seeds

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Can't say he was better in his 30s, but maybe more consistent - Boomer Harvey played 8 season in his 30s and averaged > 21 touches in all of them, and > a goal a game in all of them except 1, which is unbelievable. Before the age of 30 he had a couple of seasons averaging < than a goal a game and 4 seasons averaging < than 20 touches (not including his first season when he played 1 game), although to be fair all his AA gongs came in that patch.
Harvey is definately oen that fits the mold. He still had serious pace and damage even in his mid to late thirties let alone early thirties.
 

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Freomaniac

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It's close with Simpson. He had a fantastic 2010 year on the wing, but probably played the footy he was most remembered for after going to a half-back flank under Malthouse (might be the only good thing Malthouse did for the club). Simpson won the BnF for Carlton in our last finals year (2013) aged 29 - that was a pretty good team too. His best statistical season was 2016 (aged 33), and that was also the only year he made the All-Australian squad.

Ed Curnow is another from Carlton -turned 30 this year. He had slightly better numbers 2 years ago, but this year he has just so reliably shut down the best opposing midfielder, while also playing a more attacking role himself. Carlton's midfield numbers are all down under Teague as part of our game plan, but from the eye test at least he's better at 30 than ever before.

Of course, the all-time Carlton example of this is Craig Bradley. Had 55 brownlow votes in 9 seasons prior to 30, and 86 votes in 8 seasons after 30, including hist best ever season in '99 at age 35. He was a fantastic rover when he first came to the club but thrived when switched to that outside role from '95 onwards. He did win 2 BnF before 30 and only 1 after, and split All-australians 2 before and 2 after as well, but for consistency I'd take 30+ Bradley.
Craig Bradley was a consistently good player. It helped being super fit though. Came to Carlton at 22 after 5 years at the Port Magpies. He didnt retire at Carlton until 37 or 38.

On the flipside the likes of Holyfield and even Foreman to an extent (not as dominant in his second coming but probably a lot smarter) certainly produced some of their best in that time.

Though I think with Boxing the scope for one's peak is a lot longer than in football or other sports
Foreman won a world title vs Michael Moorer in late 1994.

Evander Holyfield has won world titles in his 40s as well.

Bernard Hopkins has had decent fights in his 40s and 50s.
 

PhatBoy

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Craig Bradley was a consistently good player. It helped being super fit though. Came to Carlton at 22 after 5 years at the Port Magpies. He didnt retire at Carlton until 37 or 38.

Foreman won a world title vs Michael Moorer in late 1994.

Evander Holyfield has won world titles in his 40s as well.

Bernard Hopkins has had decent fights in his 40s and 50s.

Absolutely. As much as speed and toughness are an inherent part of it, the performances of those guys prove how much of a 'between the ears' sport it is.
 

SSwans2011

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Tom hawkins just won the coleman at 32. In the last 3 years he has been a top 3 key foward in the comp in each year. Before that he was more like a 4-8 top key foward. Clearly improved in his thirties.

what other players have oddly got better after they hit 30?
Has Hawkins really improved that much or is there just a lack of strong experienced key forwards elsewhere to compare him to? Not shitting on Hawkins btw, he's always been a thorn in our side when Reg Grundy hasn't been there to play on him, but a few years ago he was still competing with the likes of peak Franklin, Kennedy, and Walker. Then you still had the likes of Nick Riewoldt around still producing quality.
 

Back One Out

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Brent Harvey was a champion right throughout his career, but he seemed to get better and better from the age of 28 to about 35.

He seemed to get more efficient in everything he did.

Maybe he was used to better effect by his coach as a high half forward, part-time midfielder/receiver instead of playing as a grunt on-baller (i.e. playing across the middle of the ground in open spaces instead of following the play down into defence)
 
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juss

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Tom hawkins just won the coleman at 32. In the last 3 years he has been a top 3 key foward in the comp in each year. Before that he was more like a 4-8 top key foward. Clearly improved in his thirties.

what other players have oddly got better after they hit 30?
This is not a troll question, observing Tom do you think he has gotten better as a player or that his peers have declined?
E.g. I would say Jack Riewoldt has declined recently, as has Franklin (hasn't played), J Kennedy, Tex Walker, etc.
 
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juss

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Bacher Houli has played his best football since 2018, the year he turned 30, his career best season was 2019.

Shane Edwards only really came on in his late 20s, got his first AA the year he turned 30, and looks to be just about at his best over the last couple of seasons.
 

juss

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Minimum 50 games before and after 30yo. Improvement due in many cases to playing closer to goal.

PlayerGms < 30Gms 30+Gls < 30Gls 30+Diff
Quinlan, Bernie2511151.563.70+2.13
Blight, Malcolm123551.853.95+2.10
Ablett senior, Gary1461023.535.06+1.53
Lynch, Alastair1831231.542.85+1.31
Harris, Dick D.144522.493.63+1.14
Mueller, Jack163531.502.51+1.01
Merrett, Roger1901231.011.96+0.95
Jarman, Darren1281021.312.14+0.82
Coventry, Gordon1981083.964.77+0.81
Bartlett, Kevin2471561.642.38+0.74
Waite, Jarrad154901.272.01+0.74
Titus, Jack1871073.063.71+0.65
Vallence, Harry140643.343.97+0.63
Matthews, Leigh243892.593.21+0.63
Goodes, Adam2521201.061.64+0.58
Johnson, Brad269951.381.96+0.57
Hall, Barry204852.432.95+0.53
Petrie, Drew2221101.181.66+0.49
Olliver, Arthur200721.181.65+0.48
Giansiracusa, Daniel213521.181.52+0.34
Neitz, David247592.002.31+0.30
Pavlich, Matthew256971.912.18+0.27
Kickett, Derek66861.031.29+0.26
Milne, Stephen188872.012.26+0.26
Akermanis, Jason248771.241.48+0.24
Kernahan, Stephen173782.883.08+0.20
Whitten senior, Ted2111101.071.23+0.16
Schimmelbusch, Wayne234721.121.26+0.14
Lee, Dick174563.043.18+0.14
Harvey, Brent2481841.151.27+0.12
O'Loughlin, Michael247561.701.79+0.08
Chapman, Paul222581.301.34+0.05
Moriarty, Jack118523.883.92+0.04
So the adage of player finishing their career up forward holds true.
Looking forward to parking Dusty in the 50 when he's 32.
 

Seeds

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This is not a troll question, observing Tom do you think he has gotten better as a player or that his peers have declined?
E.g. I would say Jack Riewoldt has declined recently, as has Franklin (hasn't played), J Kennedy, Tex Walker, etc.
He is better. His did his back in early 2013 and was hampered by it for the next 4 years. Had to switch from a jumping foward to a wrestling foward. his best year was 2018 stats wise followed by 2012 (the year gefore he did his back). 2019 was back to normal stats wise but this year he seems to have lifted again although a bit hard to evaluate stats this season whith shorter games.
 

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