Tiger six-pack rates a mention

If Richmond is looking for evidence it can feature this season in its first finals campaign in more than a decade, this may be it.

In a detailed statistical analysis, Champion Data says the Tigers boast six elite players in their positions in the past two seasons - Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio and Jack Riewoldt are givens, but Bachar Houli, Ivan Maric and Shane Tuck would surprise some.

To put this in perspective, only West Coast, with seven, had more. Collingwood and Hawthorn had six, while defending champion Sydney had five. One of those Swans is Kurt Tippett, who was not with the team last season.

The Eagles, Magpies and Hawks will begin the campaign among the premiership favourites. So too will the Swans. So, should this be enough to give the long-suffering Richmond faithful hope of being alive come September?

''That's all very well and good, but guess what? It's probably not those six players that win you the premiership,'' says former Tiger Brian Taylor. ''Collingwood's premiership [in 2010] was won with the [depth of the] bottom six and the six that missed out on the game. It boils down to this: you may have six elite players, but then it is which club has got the closest 20 other players to those elite.''

Taylor, 3AW's leading football commentator, would know, as he missed selection in the Tigers' 1982 grand final team and again with the Magpies in 1990. His comment has even more merit as the Champion Data analysis showed the Swans did not have one player branded as poor.

An analysis of all teams in Champion Data's AFL Prospectus has the usual suspects branded as elite, the likes of Chris Judd, Gary Ablett, Jobe Watson, Lance Franklin and Scott Pendlebury.

Elite players are in the top 10 per cent for their position. Other categories were above average (top 35 per cent of position), average (middle 30 per cent), below average (bottom 35 per cent), poor (bottom 10 per cent), while players who had managed five games or fewer in 2011 and 2012 were only afforded a question mark.

Taylor took umbrage that Richmond's Brandon Ellis, a defender, was judged to have had a below-average campaign in his first season in 2012. ''I thought Brandon Ellis had a cracking year for his first year. He hardly wasted the ball. He is a real good runner, an elite runner,'' he said.

Ellis played in all but one game in his debut season, posting an above-average kick rating.

Conversely, Daniel Jackson and Jake King were deemed to be ''average'' Tigers, another ranking Taylor said was questionable.

''Daniel Jackson, I would put him as below average, and probably Jake King as well,'' he said. ''Jake King, he doesn't give up, he gives a bit of forward pressure and nothing else. Daniel Jackson gives the ball back every time he gets it by trying to do too much with it.''

Other interesting assessments included the below-average campaigns of Collingwood's Alan Didak, Geelong's Travis Varcoe and Josh Caddy, the former Sun who has joined Geelong.

The Cats would insist Jimmy Bartel, Steve Johnson and James Kelly are elite, although Champion Data rated them only above average in the past two years.

''I don't have the benefit of sitting here and looking at stats, but I would have said they were elite,'' former Geelong premiership skipper Cameron Ling said.

Ruck recruit Hamish McIntosh was in the same category as his new teammates, despite playing just eight games over the past two seasons.

Melbourne recruit Shannon Byrnes was said to have been poor at Geelong, while Nathan Bock was considered to have been elite at the Gold Coast, despite his season ending in round six last year because of a broken leg.

Carlton coach Mick Malthouse will hope Matthew Kreuzer and Andrew Walker emerge from average seasons, while the likes of Bryce Gibbs and Chris Yarran transform from above average to elite.

Hawthorn's Luke Breust would surprise some observers as being elite. Conversely, Brad Sewell had claims to being elite, as opposed to above average.

Essendon has been seen as a team in need of a touch of class in recent years, a point the Bombers have acknowledged by securing Brendon Goddard, one of only three elite players at Windy Hill.

Champion Data's AFL Prospectus 2013, available at bookstores or from Champion Data, $39.95.

YOUR TEAM'S BEST AND WORST

Based on Champion Data statistics 2011-2012
ELITE: Top 10 per cent of position in league
BELOW AVERAGE: Bottom 35 per cent of position in league
POOR: Bottom 10 per cent of position in league
(ABOVE AVERAGE and average players not listed, except where the above average were the team’s highest-rated players)

Adelaide

ELITE
Scott Thompson midfielder
Patrick Dangerfield midfielder
Brent Reilly defender
Taylor Walker forward
BELOW AVERAGE
Richard Tambling defender
Shaun McKernan forward
Brodie Martin defender
Tom Lynch forward
POOR
Aiden Riley midfielder

Brisbane Lions

ELITE
Jed Adcock defender
Pearce Hanley defender
BELOW AVERAGE
James Polkinghorne midfielder
Claye Beams midfielder
Billy Longer ruck
Elliot Yeo defender
Andrew Raines midfielder
Joshua Green forward
Jared Polec midfielder
Todd Banfield forward
Jack Crisp midfielder
Rohan Bewick forward
Patrick Karnezis forward
Niall McKeever defender
Aaron Cornelius forward
POOR
Jesse O'Brien midfielder

Carlton

ELITE
Marc Murphy midfielder
Chris Judd midfielder
Heath Scotland defender
Jarrad Waite forward
BELOW AVERAGE
Matthew Watson defender
Dennis Armfield mid-forward
Andrew McInnes defender
Simon White defender
Zach Tuohy defender
Aaron Joseph defender
POOR
Kane Lucas midfielder
Joshua Bootsma defender
Marcus Davies defender

Collingwood

ELITE
Scott Pendlebury midfielder
Dane Swan midfielder
Dayne Beams midfielder
Heath Shaw defender
Travis Cloke forward
Ben Reid defender
BELOW AVERAGE
Alan Didak forward
Jamie Elliott forward
Marley Williams defender
Jackson Paine forward
Ben Sinclair forward
POOR
Paul Seedsman midfielder

Essendon

ELITE
Jobe Watson midfielder
Brendon Goddard midfielder
Brent Stanton midfielder
BELOW AVERAGE
Jake Melksham midfielder
Nathan Lovett-Murray midfielder
Jason Winderlich forward
Tayte Pears defender
Alex Browne defender
Travis Colyer midfielder
POOR
Cory Dell'Olio forward

Fremantle

ELITE
Aaron Sandilands ruck
Matthew Pavlich forward
Paul Duffield defender
Luke McPharlin defender
BELOW AVERAGE
Alex Silvagni defender
Ryan Crowley midfielder
Nick Suban defender
POOR
Lachie Neale midfielder
Jesse Crichton midfielder
Josh Mellington forward
Jayden Pitt defender

Geelong

ELITE
Joel Selwood midfielder
Corey Enright defender
Tom Hawkins forward
Harry Taylor defender
BELOW AVERAGE
Travis Varcoe forward
Taylor Hunt midfielder
Josh Caddy midfielder
Jordan Murdoch defender
Jesse Stringer midfielder
Billie Smedts forward
Mitchell Brown forward
POOR
Nathan Vardy ruck
Cameron Guthrie defender

Gold Coast

ELITE
Gary Ablett midfielder
Greg Broughton forward
Nathan Bock forward
BELOW AVERAGE
Rory Thompson defender
Charlie Dixon defender
Luke Russell defender
Campbell Brown forward
Matthew Shaw defender
Maverick Weller defender
Karmichael Hunt midfielder
POOR
Jack Hutchins defender
Sebastian Tape defender
Jeremy Taylor defender
Liam Patrick forward
Sam Day forward
Joel Wilkinson defender
Daniel Gorringe ruck
Alex Sexton midfielder

GWS

ELITE
None
ABOVE AVERAGE
Callan Ward midfielder
Toby Greene midfielder
Jonathan Giles ruck
Phil Davis defender
BELOW AVERAGE
Setanta O'hAilpin ruck
Tim Mohr defender
Devon Smith forward
Curtly Hampton defender
Dom Tyson midfielder
Sam Darley defender
Shaun Edwards defender
Adam Kennedy defender
Stephen Gilham defender
Will Hoskin-Elliott forward
Matthew Buntine defender
Adam Tomlinson forward
Jonathon Patton forward
POOR
Andrew Phillips ruck
Sam J Reid midfielder
Jacob Townsend midfielder
Nick Haynes forward
Nathan Wilson forward

Hawthorn

ELITE
Lance Franklin forward
Sam Mitchell midfielder
Jarryd Roughead forward
Cyril Rioli forward
Grant Birchall defender
Luke Breust forward
BELOW AVERAGE
Max Bailey ruck
Shane Savage midfielder
Kyle Cheney defender
POOR
Bradley Hill midfielder

Melbourne

ELITE
Jack Grimes defender
BELOW AVERAGE
Rohan Bail midfielder
Jake Spencer ruck
James Sellar defender
Tom Gillies defender
Sam Blease forward
Neville Jetta midfielder
Luke Tapscott defender
James Strauss defender
POOR
Shannon Byrnes forward

North Melbourne

ELITE
Andrew Swallow midfielder
Drew Petrie forward
Scott Thompson defender
BELOW AVERAGE
Jamie MacMillan midfielder
Ben Jacobs defender
Levi Greenwood midfielder
Keiran Harper forward
Aaron Mullett midfielder
Taylor Hine defender
POOR
Cameron Delaney defender

Port Adelaide

ELITE
None
Above Average
Hamish Hartlett midfielder
Travis Boak midfielder
Kane Cornes midfielder
Brad Ebert midfielder
Robbie Gray forward
Justin Westhoff forward
Jay Schulz forward
BELOW AVERAGE
Matthew Lobbe ruck
Jarrad Redden ruck
Jack Hombsch defender
Brent Renouf ruck
Jasper Pittard defender
Chad Wingard midfielder
John Butcher forward
Thomas Jonas defender
Andrew Moore midfielder
Daniel Stewart forward
POOR
Cameron O'Shea defender
Aaron Young forward
Cameron Hitchcock forward

Richmond

ELITE
Brett Deledio midfielder
Trent Cotchin midfielder
Shane Tuck midfielder
Ivan Maric ruck
Jack Riewoldt forward
Bachar Houli defender
BELOW AVERAGE
Reece Conca midfielder
Chris Knights forward
Brandon Ellis defender
Matt White midfielder
Matthew Dea defender
Ben Griffiths defender
POOR
David Astbury defender
Brett O'Hanlon forward
Bradley Helbig midfielder

St Kilda

ELITE
Nick Dal Santo midfielder
Ben McEvoy ruck
Nick Riewoldt forward
BELOW AVERAGE
Tom Hickey ruck
Arryn Siposs forward
Jack Newnes midfielder
Beau Wilkes forward
POOR
Dylan Robertson defender
Thomas Ledger midfielder
Trent Dennis-Lane forward
Sam Dunell midfielder

Sydney

ELITE
Josh Kennedy midfielder
Ryan O'Keefe midfielder
Adam Goodes forward
Kurt Tippett forward
Ted Richards defender
BELOW AVERAGE
Luke Parker midfielder
Lewis Roberts-Thomson forward
Jesse White forward
Mitch Morton forward
Andrejs Everitt forward
Gary Rohan forward
Tony Armstrong defender
POOR
None

West Coast

ELITE
Dean Cox ruck
Matt Priddis midfielder
Nic Naitanui ruck
Beau Waters defender
Shannon Hurn defender
Mark LeCras forward
Darren Glass defender
BELOW AVERAGE
Cale Morton midfielder
Adam Selwood defender
Brad Sheppard midfielder
Patrick McGinnity midfielder
Jacob Brennan defender
Mitchell J Brown defender
POOR
Jamie Cripps midfielder

Western Bulldogs

ELITE
Matthew Boyd midfielder
Ryan Griffen midfielder
Robert Murphy defender
BELOW AVERAGE
Jordan Roughead defender
Christian Howard defender
Tom Williams forward
Easton Wood defender
Patrick Veszpremi defender
Clay Smith midfielder
Liam Jones forward
Lukas Markovic defender
Jason Tutt midfielder
Ayce Cordy forward
POOR
Tom Campbell ruck
Tom Young defender
Daniel Pearce midfielder
Koby Stevens midfielder

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