Defenders are arguably the most crucial players on the ground at any time during a game of AFL.

Whilst awards such as the Brownlow and Coleman Medal are highly respected, an award for the game's best defender is yet to be added to the AFL's top awards. Whilst the Brownlow can of course be won by any player, it is undoubtedly a 'midfielder's award' rather than a title for any player.

Whether it be a game-saving mark, diving interception, or a punch of the footy that would make the late great Danny Frawley proud, defenders deserve more recognition in our great game.

In 2023, plenty of defenders had phenomenal seasons. In this list, we tried to break down and order the ten best of the season just passed.


10. Steven May

Premiership-winning defender Steven May has been a dominant force for a number of years now. He regularly finds himself on these lists of best defenders and 2023 is no exception.

Arguably the best-contested mark in the competition, May once again had a stellar year.

Although his team ultimately disappointed once again in the finals, May was still a strong player for his side. A strong performance in the semi-final loss to the Blues highlighted his importance, holding Coleman medallist Charlie Curnow to only one goal.