Zero Hanger's next instalment of 'start, bench, cut' sees us examine a trio of prominent medium-sized backmen.

Essendon hard nut Mason Redman, Collingwood premiership-winner Isaac Quaynor, and Port Adelaide rebounder Dan Houston culminate in three of the more impenetrable defensive-half players in the competition.

As we dissect the careers and recent form of this trio of formidable stoppers, we ponder who to hypothetically 'start' (our number one choice of the three), 'bench' (our runner-up) and 'cut' (our odd man out).

We reviewed the cases of Redman, Quaynor, and Houston before revealing our start, bench, and cut verdicts.

START, BENCH, CUT: Bailey Smith, Connor Rozee, Sam Walsh

START, BENCH, CUT: Tim Taranto, Josh Dunkley, Andrew Brayshaw
START, BENCH, CUT: Shai Bolton, Kysaiah Pickett, Gryan Miers


1. Mason Redman

Throughout recent seasons, the 26-year-old Redman has emerged as Essendon's key leader from the defensive half; plying his trade in a hard-nosed, workmanlike fashion. His admirable efforts this year earned him a third-place Crichton Medal finish behind Zach Merrett and Kyle Langford.

Whilst not a key-position backman, standing at 187 centimetres, the Millicent native's physical impact is felt when he frequently crashes marking contests.

However, the bulk of Redman's damage is done with the ball in his possession.

In 2023, the South Australian went at 82.1 per cent efficiency by foot an 'elite' grading, per AFL Stats. Considering three out of every four Redman possessions are kicks he registered a 3.1 kick-to-handball ratio that's an impressive feat (there's a pun to be made here).

Mason Redman during the 2022 AFL Round 4 match between Essendon and Adelaide (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

The Glenelg product also recorded an average of 3.9 score involvements per game this year, backing up an elite-rated 4.4 in 2022; highlighting his prominent slingshotting capability. Further, his 472.9 metres gained per contest also rated as elite, compared with his defending peers.

The Bombers will be thrilled to have secured Redman's services long-term after he signed a five-year contract extension in July.