Bailey Dale’s renaissance from sharpshooting forward to rebounding half-back flanker has paid off dividends both for him individually and the Western Bulldogs.
Coming off a blistering performance against the Gold Coast Suns, it’s been revealed by David King and Champion Data’s Daniel Hoyne that he is the best kick in the competition in 2021.
After five rounds, the Western Bulldogs actually have two players placed inside the top five for kick ratings.
Dale, averaging over 20 disposals and 4.6 rebound 50's per game, sits atop at 19.1 per cent above the league average, with teammate Taylor Duryea in third with a rating of 13.2 per cent and just shy of St Kilda's Hunter Clark.
“Bailey Dale is plus 19 percent so his kicking is 19 percent above expectations so far this year,” Hoyne said on Pure Footy.
“Anywhere around plus three to five mark or minus three to five mark is when we actually start to take notice.
“For him to be plus 19 percent and then for (St Kilda’s) Hunter Clark to be second in the competition at 13 and a half percent, that is a significant gap on the second best player in the competition.
Bailey Dale is ranked as the best kick in the AFL. Who do you think is the best kick at your club?
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“His kicking is really low, hard, penetrating ball use, coupled with the fact that Caleb Daniel comes back in this week and he’s more of that short kicking, change the angles type of kick, it’s a really significant combination for the Bulldogs.”
Rounding out the top five best kicks in the competition so far in 2021 is Adelaide’s Taylor Walker whose rating is at plus 12.6 percent, followed by West Coast’s Shannon Hurn at plus 12.1 percent.
Conversely, Port Adelaide’s Darcy Byrne-Jones has been revealed to be one of the worst kicks in the competition, going at a rating of -10.8 percent, just ahead of Carlton’s Liam Jones at -10.5 percent.
“Darcy Byrne-Jones, All-Australian in 2020, that is probably why his overall rating is down significantly this year compared to last year, his ball use isn’t getting it done,” Hoyne said.
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“Liam Jones, his intercepting has been phenomenal, but his ball use the last couple of weeks has been really poor.”
Rounding out the top five for the worst kicks in 2021 are St Kilda’s Jack Sinclair (-8.6 percent), GWS’ Callan Ward (-8.2 percent) and Collingwood’s Jack Crisp (-8.1 percent).