Top 50 for the Purists

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Thread starter #1
One for the connoisseurs:

I’ve been contemplating this list on and off for a while now. I believe that one of the things that elevates Aussie Rules above many other ball sports is the artistry that players possess and the way in which they can express themselves instinctively on the field. It is one of the reasons our indigenous players are so good to watch. These players I list here are aesthetically the most pleasing players to watch in my time viewing the game (late 70s onward). They are what elevates our game above the rest. I am not looking for the most powerful, dominant, athletic, players. This is based more on the subtleties of a player’s make-up.
My criteria is based on;

- Finesse
- Grace
- Evasiveness/Elusiveness
- Instinctiveness
- Poise
- Skill
- Making the impossible seem easy
- Flair
- Deftness of Touch
- Agility
- Time Slowing/effortlessness
- Fleet footed/Light on their feet
- Anticipation/Game sense
- Composure
- Vision
- Excitement Inducement
- Smooth Movement
- Speed
- Athleticism
- Presence
- Power

...roughly in that order.

There will be a 50 games minimum and of course this will be somewhat subjective to my taste. It will aim to move from the skilled, smooth movers to the more artistically sublime.

So counting down from 50;

50/ Gerard Healy (Syd)
49/ Merv Neagle (Ess)
48/ Darryl White (Bris)
47/ Chad Wingard (Port)
46/ Gary Buckenara (Haw)
45/ Steven Motlop (Gee)
44/ Chris Lewis (WC4
43/ Adam Goodes (Syd)
42/ Tim Watson (Ess)
41/ Craig Bradley (Car)
40/ Alan Didak (Coll)
39/ Marcus Bontempelli (Foots)
38/ Kevin Bartlett (Rich)
37/ Steve Johnson (Gee)
36/ Eddie Betts (Car/Ade)
35/ Phil Krakouer (Nth)
34/ Dustin Martin (Rich)
33/ Winston Abraham (Nth)
32/ Geoff Raines (Rich)
31/ Nathan Buckley (Coll)
30/ Malcolm Blight (Nth)
29/ Robbie Gray (Port)
28/ Nigel Lappin (Bris)
27/ Gary Ablett Jr (Gee/GC)
26/ Nick Dal Santo (StK)
25/ Maurice Rioli (Rich)
24/ Anthony Koutoufides (Car)
23/ Daniel Wells (Nth)
22/ Nat Fyfe (Freo)
21/ Gavin Wanganeen (Ess/Port)

20/ Gary Ablett Sr (Gee)- was powerful, brutal and imposing which detracts a little from the requirements of this list but his finesse, instinctiveness, poise etc. are above most and he had an undoubted artistry to his game.

19/ Doug Hawkins (Foots)
18/ Sean Burgoyne (Port/Haw)
17/ Michael Long (Ess)
16/ Cyril Rioli (Haw)
15/ Simon Black (Bris)
14/ Keith Greig (Nth)
13/ Robert Harvey (StK)
12/ Scott Pendlebury (Coll)
11/ Bernie Quinlan (Fitz)
10/ Jason Akermanis (Bris)
9/ James Hird (Ess)
8/ Andrew McLeod (Ade)
7/ Darren Jarman (Haw/Ade)
6/ Mark Mercuri (Ess)
5/ Nicky Winmar (StK)
4/ Peter Daicos (Coll)
3/ Peter Matera (WC)
2/ Buddy Franklin (Haw/Syd)
1/ Robbie Flower (Melb) - poetry in motion, and possibly the only player I’ve seen who survived the highest level largely on artistry alone.
 
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Thread starter #3
Good stuff, bit stiff on Ablett Jr though.
Yeah, possibly.

As I said, it’s subjective, and I have GAJ rated as the 3rd best player I’ve seen in another thread.

But the players I have ahead of him here just do something for me aesthetically a bit more. Harvey’s movement through traffic, for example was sublime. His shimmy and side-step were close to the best I’ve seen. For GAJ to make it as high as he does suggests he is still an artist of the highest order.
 

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Thread starter #5
I know it is your opinion, but Mark Mercuri so high is an eyebrow raiser.
I think most Bomber supporters would agree with me here when I say that he was our most aesthetically pleasing player to watch (or very close to it). Smooth moving, evasive, highly skilled above and below the knees, wonderful spatial awareness... he was a delight to watch play. Long, at his best, was probably more like Flower with his fleet footed, turn-on-a-dime, make time stand still style of play but Mercuri was slightly more to my liking from a purist sense.
 

T G M

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#8
One for the connoisseurs:

I’ve been contemplating this list on and off for a while now. I believe that one of the things that elevates Aussie Rules above many other ball sports is the artistry that players possess and the way in which they can express themselves instinctively on the field. It is one of the reasons our indigenous players are so good to watch. These players I list here are aesthetically the most pleasing players to watch in my time viewing the game (late 70s onward). They are what elevates our game above the rest. I am not looking for the most powerful, dominant, athletic, players. This is based more on the subtleties of a player’s make-up.
My criteria is based on;

- Finesse
- Grace
- Evasiveness/Elusiveness
- Instinctiveness
- Poise
- Skill
- Making the impossible seem easy
- Flair
- Deftness of Touch
- Agility
- Time Slowing/effortlessness
- Fleet footed/Light on their feet
- Anticipation/Game sense
- Composure
- Vision
- Excitement Inducement
- Smooth Movement
- Speed
- Athleticism
- Presence
- Power

...roughly in that order.

There will be a 50 games minimum and of course this will be somewhat subjective to my taste. It will aim to move from the skilled, smooth movers to the more artistically sublime.

So counting down from 50;

50/ Michael O’Loughlin (Syd)
49/ Michael Turner (Gee)
48/ Merv Neagle (Ess)
47/ Chad Wingard (Port)
46/ Gary Buckenara (Haw)
45/ Steven Motlop (Gee)
44/ Chris Lewis (WC)
43/ Adam Goodes (Syd)
42/ Tim Watson (Ess)
41/ Craig Bradley (Car)
40/ Nathan Brown (Foots/Rich)
39/ Alan Didak (Coll)
38/ Marcus Bontempelli (Foots)
37/ Kevin Bartlett (Rich)
36/ Steve Johnson (Gee)
35/ Eddie Betts (Car/Ade)
34/ Phil Krakouer (Nth)
33/ Dustin Martin (Rich)
32/ Winston Abraham (Nth)
31/ Geoff Raines (Rich)
30/ Malcolm Blight (Nth)
29/ Robbie Gray (Port)
28/ Nigel Lappin (Bris)
27/ Gary Ablett Jr (Gee/GC)
26/ Nick Dal Santo (StK)
25/ Maurice Rioli (Rich)
24/ Anthony Koutoufides (Car)
23/ Nathan Buckley (Coll)
22/ Nat Fyfe (Freo)
21/ Gavin Wanganeen (Ess/Port)

20/ Gary Ablett Sr (Gee)- was powerful, brutal and imposing which detracts a little from the requirements of this list but his finesse, instinctiveness, poise etc. are above most and he had an undoubted artistry to his game.

19/ Doug Hawkins (Foots)
18/ Sean Burgoyne (Port/Haw)
17/ Michael Long (Ess)
16/ Cyril Rioli (Haw)
15/ Simon Black (Bris)
14/ Keith Greig (Nth)
13/ Robert Harvey (StK)
12/ Scott Pendlebury (Coll)
11/ Bernie Quinlan (Fitz)
10/ Jason Akermanis (Bris)
9/ James Hird (Ess)
8/ Andrew McLeod (Ade)
7/ Darren Jarman (Haw/Ade)
6/ Mark Mercuri (Ess)
5/ Nicky Winmar (StK)
4/ Peter Daicos (Coll)
3/ Peter Matera (WC)
2/ Buddy Franklin (Haw/Syd)
1/ Robbie Flower (Melb) - poetry in motion, and possibly the only player I’ve seen who survived the highest level largely on artistry alone.
This is an excellent list - Flower is the most skilled player I have ever seen.
 

T G M

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#9
Yeah, possibly.

As I said, it’s subjective, and I have GAJ rated as the 3rd best player I’ve seen in another thread.

But the players I have ahead of him here just do something for me aesthetically a bit more. Harvey’s movement through traffic, for example was sublime. His shimmy and side-step were close to the best I’ve seen. For GAJ to make it as high as he does suggests he is still an artist of the highest order.
 

Mitchell54

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#11
Surprised Franklin was so high in the list. Dominates a lot of the criterion’s at the bottom of that list and lacks in some at the some at the top.
 

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Snake_Baker

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#13
One for the connoisseurs:

I’ve been contemplating this list on and off for a while now. I believe that one of the things that elevates Aussie Rules above many other ball sports is the artistry that players possess and the way in which they can express themselves instinctively on the field. It is one of the reasons our indigenous players are so good to watch. These players I list here are aesthetically the most pleasing players to watch in my time viewing the game (late 70s onward). They are what elevates our game above the rest. I am not looking for the most powerful, dominant, athletic, players. This is based more on the subtleties of a player’s make-up.
My criteria is based on;

- Finesse
- Grace
- Evasiveness/Elusiveness
- Instinctiveness
- Poise
- Skill
- Making the impossible seem easy
- Flair
- Deftness of Touch
- Agility
- Time Slowing/effortlessness
- Fleet footed/Light on their feet
- Anticipation/Game sense
- Composure
- Vision
- Excitement Inducement
- Smooth Movement
- Speed
- Athleticism
- Presence
- Power

...roughly in that order.

There will be a 50 games minimum and of course this will be somewhat subjective to my taste. It will aim to move from the skilled, smooth movers to the more artistically sublime.

So counting down from 50;

50/ Michael O’Loughlin (Syd)
49/ Michael Turner (Gee)
48/ Merv Neagle (Ess)
47/ Chad Wingard (Port)
46/ Gary Buckenara (Haw)
45/ Steven Motlop (Gee)
44/ Chris Lewis (WC)
43/ Adam Goodes (Syd)
42/ Tim Watson (Ess)
41/ Craig Bradley (Car)
40/ Nathan Brown (Foots/Rich)
39/ Alan Didak (Coll)
38/ Marcus Bontempelli (Foots)
37/ Kevin Bartlett (Rich)
36/ Steve Johnson (Gee)
35/ Eddie Betts (Car/Ade)
34/ Phil Krakouer (Nth)
33/ Dustin Martin (Rich)
32/ Winston Abraham (Nth)
31/ Geoff Raines (Rich)
30/ Malcolm Blight (Nth)
29/ Robbie Gray (Port)
28/ Nigel Lappin (Bris)
27/ Gary Ablett Jr (Gee/GC)
26/ Nick Dal Santo (StK)
25/ Maurice Rioli (Rich)
24/ Anthony Koutoufides (Car)
23/ Nathan Buckley (Coll)
22/ Nat Fyfe (Freo)
21/ Gavin Wanganeen (Ess/Port)

20/ Gary Ablett Sr (Gee)- was powerful, brutal and imposing which detracts a little from the requirements of this list but his finesse, instinctiveness, poise etc. are above most and he had an undoubted artistry to his game.

19/ Doug Hawkins (Foots)
18/ Sean Burgoyne (Port/Haw)
17/ Michael Long (Ess)
16/ Cyril Rioli (Haw)
15/ Simon Black (Bris)
14/ Keith Greig (Nth)
13/ Robert Harvey (StK)
12/ Scott Pendlebury (Coll)
11/ Bernie Quinlan (Fitz)
10/ Jason Akermanis (Bris)
9/ James Hird (Ess)
8/ Andrew McLeod (Ade)
7/ Darren Jarman (Haw/Ade)
6/ Mark Mercuri (Ess)
5/ Nicky Winmar (StK)
4/ Peter Daicos (Coll)
3/ Peter Matera (WC)
2/ Buddy Franklin (Haw/Syd)
1/ Robbie Flower (Melb) - poetry in motion, and possibly the only player I’ve seen who survived the highest level largely on artistry alone.
Bloody good effort.:thumbsu:
 

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Norm Smith Medallist
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Thread starter #18
Surprised Franklin was so high in the list. Dominates a lot of the criterion’s at the bottom of that list and lacks in some at the some at the top.
Buddy ticks off a lot of the earlier criteria to a very high level. His instinctiveness, flair, agility, skill and ability to make things look easy is beyond most we’ve seen play the game. He is sublime to watch and this aesthetic makes it very easy to have him that high.
 
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Seeds

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#19
One for the connoisseurs:

I’ve been contemplating this list on and off for a while now. I believe that one of the things that elevates Aussie Rules above many other ball sports is the artistry that players possess and the way in which they can express themselves instinctively on the field. It is one of the reasons our indigenous players are so good to watch. These players I list here are aesthetically the most pleasing players to watch in my time viewing the game (late 70s onward). They are what elevates our game above the rest. I am not looking for the most powerful, dominant, athletic, players. This is based more on the subtleties of a player’s make-up.
My criteria is based on;

- Finesse
- Grace
- Evasiveness/Elusiveness
- Instinctiveness
- Poise
- Skill
- Making the impossible seem easy
- Flair
- Deftness of Touch
- Agility
- Time Slowing/effortlessness
- Fleet footed/Light on their feet
- Anticipation/Game sense
- Composure
- Vision
- Excitement Inducement
- Smooth Movement
- Speed
- Athleticism
- Presence
- Power

...roughly in that order.

There will be a 50 games minimum and of course this will be somewhat subjective to my taste. It will aim to move from the skilled, smooth movers to the more artistically sublime.

So counting down from 50;

50/ Michael O’Loughlin (Syd)
49/ Michael Turner (Gee)
48/ Merv Neagle (Ess)
47/ Chad Wingard (Port)
46/ Gary Buckenara (Haw)
45/ Steven Motlop (Gee)
44/ Chris Lewis (WC)
43/ Adam Goodes (Syd)
42/ Tim Watson (Ess)
41/ Craig Bradley (Car)
40/ Nathan Brown (Foots/Rich)
39/ Alan Didak (Coll)
38/ Marcus Bontempelli (Foots)
37/ Kevin Bartlett (Rich)
36/ Steve Johnson (Gee)
35/ Eddie Betts (Car/Ade)
34/ Phil Krakouer (Nth)
33/ Dustin Martin (Rich)
32/ Winston Abraham (Nth)
31/ Geoff Raines (Rich)
30/ Malcolm Blight (Nth)
29/ Robbie Gray (Port)
28/ Nigel Lappin (Bris)
27/ Gary Ablett Jr (Gee/GC)
26/ Nick Dal Santo (StK)
25/ Maurice Rioli (Rich)
24/ Anthony Koutoufides (Car)
23/ Nathan Buckley (Coll)
22/ Nat Fyfe (Freo)
21/ Gavin Wanganeen (Ess/Port)

20/ Gary Ablett Sr (Gee)- was powerful, brutal and imposing which detracts a little from the requirements of this list but his finesse, instinctiveness, poise etc. are above most and he had an undoubted artistry to his game.

19/ Doug Hawkins (Foots)
18/ Sean Burgoyne (Port/Haw)
17/ Michael Long (Ess)
16/ Cyril Rioli (Haw)
15/ Simon Black (Bris)
14/ Keith Greig (Nth)
13/ Robert Harvey (StK)
12/ Scott Pendlebury (Coll)
11/ Bernie Quinlan (Fitz)
10/ Jason Akermanis (Bris)
9/ James Hird (Ess)
8/ Andrew McLeod (Ade)
7/ Darren Jarman (Haw/Ade)
6/ Mark Mercuri (Ess)
5/ Nicky Winmar (StK)
4/ Peter Daicos (Coll)
3/ Peter Matera (WC)
2/ Buddy Franklin (Haw/Syd)
1/ Robbie Flower (Melb) - poetry in motion, and possibly the only player I’ve seen who survived the highest level largely on artistry alone.
This would make more sense if you remove the last four attributes from your list. You actually mark Ablett snr downwards for being more powerful and imposing yet you have power and presence on the list. Speed is also a form of power and not so much to do with grace, flair etc. If you delete these last traits it would make more sense.
 

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Norm Smith Medallist
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Thread starter #20
This would make more sense if you remove the last four attributes from your list. You actually mark Ablett snr downwards for being more powerful and imposing yet you have power and presence on the list. Speed is also a form of power and not so much to do with grace, flair etc. If you delete these last traits it would make more sense.
I can understand that point of view.

I was trying to emphasise how those last 4 traits, whilst aesthetically pleasing in their own right, are at the other end of the spectrum for what I am attempting with this list.
 

Shadow89

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#21
Give Tim Kelly another year or two, and I definitely think he could make this list. Great effort btw. Would have had GAJ higher, but other than that, very impressive. Only one that I think is obvious that you've missed, is Chris Judd. Could throw Cousins and Kerr in there at their prime too. Steele Sidebottom another that would have to be close along with (as much as I hate to say it haha) Sam Mitchell. There's probably heaps more, but it's tough to narrow down given just how many good players there have been. Jeff Farmer (the wiz) another. It just goes on
 

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Thread starter #22
Give Tim Kelly another year or two, and I definitely think he could make this list. Great effort btw. Would have had GAJ higher, but other than that, very impressive. Only one that I think is obvious that you've missed, is Chris Judd. Could throw Cousins and Kerr in there at their prime too. Steele Sidebottom another that would have to be close along with (as much as I hate to say it haha) Sam Mitchell. There's probably heaps more, but it's tough to narrow down given just how many good players there have been. Jeff Farmer (the wiz) another. It just goes on
Of those you mention I had Farmer probably next in line. Players like Judd, and Lethal Leigh (who I also ummed and ahhed about) were impossible to stop and had great footy intelligence. I loved watching them (especially Matthews), and I also loved watching Lockett and Carey, but their aesthetic seems to not quite fit what I am trying to emphasise in this thread. Kerr, Cousins and Sidebottom are close though but Mitchell is a ‘no’ from me.
 

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Thread starter #24
You forgot Polly Farmer, and Maurice Rioli is number one if it's about finesse and poise.
I didn’t forget Polly Farmer. I never saw Polly Farmer. I also specifically stated that it was from my time watching ie. late 70s onwards.

Maurice is highly rated in this list but from my perspective there were some who have done it for me a bit more. Sorry to disappoint. I do get your point though that if it were about just poise and finesse he would jump up the list above some of those who were perhaps more graceful such as Greig and Quinlan. But this list is based on the full combo of traits.
 
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Orazio2Joe

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#25
Just a reminder of that artistry;

Most amazing part of that was that Scott Lucas handballed it. Much like Moorcroft’s mark came from a right footed Scott Lucas kick.

But I digress. Great list. One player that I’d add without hesitation would be Darryl White. He was amazing to watch in full flight.
 
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