AFL Rd 9 - Western Bulldogs v Richmond
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 29: Dustin Martin of the Tigers is tackled during the round nine AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and the Richmond Tigers at Metricon Stadium on July 29, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Taking a look at forming the best possible AFL player based on nine key attributes and traits, we've looked to piece together football's 'Frankenstein' using some of the AFL's best and most skilled current players.

Identifying those that lead the way for a variety of skills, collectively they form the ultimate AFL player.

Traits used: 

  • Athleticism
  • Right foot
  • Left foot
  • Marking
  • General skills
  • Strength
  • Football IQ
  • Speed
  • Endurance

Athleticism - Lance Franklin

Whilst Buddy has lost a bit of the explosiveness which he once possessed, he is still a deadly combination of size, strength, speed and power.

A few others like the King brothers, Nic Naitanui or Aliir Aliir could also be here, Buddy's the best athlete all-around since he can do it all. Simply put, in an AFL athletics carnival, Buddy would probably be the only one who could win every event.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 18: Lance Franklin of the Swans runs with the ball during the round 22 AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Sydney Swans at Spotless Stadium on August 18, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Right foot - Caleb Daniel

Whilst Caleb Daniel was only 19th for effective kicks during the 2021 season, his ability to hit a short or long target on the chest makes him the best right foot kick in the competition.

He sets up the team so well with the way he can pierce through defensive structures. Other potential candidates include the likes of Daniel Houston and Jayden Short, but they can't consistently hit targets as well as the Bulldogs' pocket-rocket. 

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 27: Caleb Daniel of the Bulldogs looks to pass the ball during the round 6 AFL match between Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium on April 27, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Left foot - Daniel Rich

Whilst Zach Merrett and Marcus Bontempelli are other great options here, Daniel Rich has to be the best left-footer in the competition.

He finished first for effective kicks with 397 in total and proves again and again that he has the most penetrative long leg in the AFL. If you need someone to hit a 55-metre target on the chest, Daniel Rich is your man.

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Hands/Marking - Harry McKay

This one is a dead-heat between Harry McKay and Aaron Naughton, but since McKay more consistently clunks big marks whilst receiving worse service, the Coleman Medal winner gets the nod here.

The big Blue led the league in contested marks for the season, averaging 2.63 per game to be simply unstoppable when he got a run and jump at the footy.

AFL Rd 3 - Carlton v Fremantle
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 04: Harry McKay of the Blues is congratulated by team mates after kicking a goal during the round 3 AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Fremantle Dockers at Marvel Stadium on April 04, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

General skills - Toby Greene

There are no real statistics to back up this claim but the fact that Greene can make something out of nothing at any time during a game gives him an edge over guys like Joshua Kelly and Robbie Gray.

He's clean, great in the air, can evade tacklers and can kick miraculous goals.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: Toby Greene of the Giants in action during the Greater Western Sydney Giants training session at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre on March 19, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Strength - Dustin Martin

Even though Dustin Martin isn't on the top of any tackling or contested possessions tally, the way that he can throw grown men off of him with ease makes him our strongest man in the AFL.

Exemplifying this is how Martin seems to always win one-on-one contests using his brute strength.

Jack Steele and Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines are also right up there, but Dusty gets the slight edge in this exercise. 

2020 AFL Grand Final - Richmond v Geelong
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 24: Dustin Martin of the Tigers slips past Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats during the 2020 AFL Grand Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the Geelong Cats at The Gabba on October 24, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Football IQ - Scott Pendlebury

Whilst rating football IQ is completely subjective, the majority of footy fans would see 'Pendles' as the smartest player in the AFL. He never panics and almost always seems to pick out the right option.

Whenever he gets the ball, it's like the whole game stops because no one wants to look silly. Other guys like teammate Steele Sidebottom and three-time premiership Tiger Shane Edwards are also close.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 19: Scott Pendlebury of the Magpies runs with the ball during the round nine AFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Collingwood Magpies at Etihad Stadium on May 19, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Speed - Nick Hind 

In the 2021 season, Hind recorded the fastest pace of 36.07 km/h, whilst Oleg Markov (35.89 km/h) and Adam Saad (35.75 km/h) finished second and third.

Hind's blistering pace allows him to break through lines and open up the field for the Bombers. 

AFL Rd 6 - Collingwood v Essendon
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: Nick Hind of the Bombers runs with the ball during the round six AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Essendon Bombers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 25, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

Endurance - Sam Walsh

Sam Walsh was seen to be the best long-distance runner in the game this year, averaging 15.49km covered per game, with premiership winger Ed Langdon and Blue Matthew Cottrell finishing a close second and third with 15.30km and 15.29km efforts respectively.

His hard work ethic provides the Blues with more chances to impact the game in all areas of the ground.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 25: Sam Walsh of the Blues looks dejected after a loss during the 2021 AFL Round 02 match between the Carlton Blues and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 25, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
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