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A-B-C midfield ratings

A-B-C midfield ratings

No, I’m not talking about rating everyone in relation to the Geelong engine room of Ablett-Bartel-Corey. Well, not directly. I’m talking about the way of looking at midfield groups in terms of classing them as A-grade, B-grade and C-grade, as they do on Fox Sports every week on their AFL Teams show.

I’ve always liked that method of looking at the relative merits of the midfield rotations of each club. I’m not always a fan of the classifications that some of the pundits claim, with Tony Shaw in particular being a culprit of overrating certain of his favourites. David Parkin is normally more level-headed. I’ll try not to let my club biases show through…. but you’ll be the judge of that!

Okay, let’s go through them in alphabetical order.


A Grade B Grade C Grade
Scott Thompson
Simon Goodwin
Andrew McLeod
Nathan Van Berlo
Chris Knights
Brent Reilly
Tyson Edwards
Robert Shirley
Michael Doughty
Bernie Vince
Patrick Dangerfield

McLeod is barely an A given his physical deterioration in recent years, which is only going to get worse. NVB, Knights and Reilly need to make that next step: all are capable, but it remains to be seen if any of them can.


A Grade B Grade C Grade
Simon Black
Luke Power
Jed Adcock
Jared Brennan
Bradd Dalziell
Travis Johnstone
Daniel Rich
Michael Rischitelli
Justin Sherman
Tim Notting
Troy Selwood

Power is another lucky to retain A-grade status, on the back of a solid second half of the season after a poor start. Adcock is on the cusp of moving up a grade, as is Dalziell if his late-season formn can hold up in the new year. Rich slots in smoothly as a B-grader based on his WAFL form.


A Grade B Grade C Grade
Chris Judd
Bryce Gibbs
Marc Murphy
Nick Stevens
Andrew Carrazzo
Heath Scotland
Andrew Walker
Adam Bentick
Kade Simpson

Yes, okay, they’re the new 05/06 Eagles. Some might say it’s a stretch to include Stevens as an A-grader, given his lack of accountability, but his disposal is elite enough to fit him in. The midfield is not the Blues’ problem though, like those Eagles of old.


A Grade B Grade C Grade
Dane Swan
Alan Didak
Scott Pendlebury
Leon Davis
Dale Thomas
Shane O’Bree
Marty Clarke
Tarkyn Lockyer
Steele Sidebottom

Pie zealots will bag me for this, I suppose. Davis has had a good couple of years, yes, but he’s still inconsistent. Pendlebury needs to beat good opponents, and not just beat up on lesser teams. Thomas just needs to get more of the pill.


A Grade B Grade C Grade
Mark McVeigh
Brent Stanton
Jobe Watson
Andrew Welsh
Brent Prismall
Bachar Houli
Alwyn Davey
Andrew Lovett
Sam Lonergan
Kyle Reimers
David Zaharakis

There seems to be a lot of hate for the Essendon midfield, mainly because Don supporters tend to overrate it, but it’s not as bad (or good) as the hype from either side. McVeigh and Stanton are solid players who have come on very pleasingly, McVeigh for his leadership and Stanton for his new found ability to break the tag. Watson remains the barometer of this team: if he can get his s— together with his disposal, the Bombers instantly become a much better club.


A Grade B Grade C Grade
Rhys Palmer
Ryan Crowley
Paul Hasleby
Des Headland
Byron Schammer
Garrick Ibbotson
Stephen Hill

What a mess. Palmer shot straight to A-grade with a stellar debut, and Crowley showed late in the season that if freed up to play his own attacking game, he can be quite damaging. However, Hasleby and Headland have to start all over again in 2009, while the lesser said of the rest the better.


A Grade B Grade C Grade
Gary Ablett jnr
Jimmy Bartel
Joel Corey
Joel Selwood
Cameron Ling
Corey Enright David Wocjinski
James Kelly

Yes, five A-graders, they are that good. Is it a weakness that they perhaps haven’t got much depth underneath those five or six guns? Kelly certainly got exposed in the grand final. Their draft concentrated mostly on talls again, so it would be interesting to see who steps up from the bottom of their list if they struggle with midfield injury a bit more this year.


A Grade B Grade C Grade
Sam Mitchell
Brad Sewell
Chance Bateman
Jordan Lewis
Clinton Young
Xavier Ellis
Rick Ladson

There are a bunch of D-graders sitting just outside this chart waiting for their chance, such as Travis Tuck, Josh J. Kennedy and Beau Muston. With Crawf gone and Ellis nobbled, early 2009 will be their chance to race up the rankings.


A Grade B Grade C Grade
Brad Green
Cameron Bruce
Brock McLean
James McDonald
Cale Morton
Nathan Jones
Shane Valenti
Lynden Dunn
Sam Blease

Am I being too charitable about classifying Green and Bruce as A-graders? You could argue the toss, certainly. Morton must be fast-tracked again this year, as must Blease and Valenti. Bailey has no choice, really.

North Melbourne

A Grade B Grade C Grade
Brent Harvey
Daniel Wells
Adam Simpson
Daniel Harris
Brady Rawlings
Sam Power
Andrew Swallow
Jack Ziebell

I’m sure the Roo supporters will squeal about Simmo being only a B, but I didn’t think he had a great year. Perhaps the burden of captaincy was the problem, and he’ll return to elite status in 2009. Here’s hoping on your behalf!

Port Adelaide

A Grade B Grade C Grade
Chad Cornes
Kane Cornes
Shaun Burgoyne
Steven Salopek
Domenic Cassisi
David Rodan
Danyle Pearce
Travis Boak
Hamish Hartlett

Salopek is probably the unluckiest not to be A-grade given his second half, which was excellent. He’ll no doubt graduate all the way during ’09. The Power have an impressively deep midfield, truth be told, which is why I’m of the opinion that they’re not far away from a big rebound up the ladder.


A Grade B Grade C Grade
Brett Deledio
Shane Tuck
Nathan Foley
Trent Cotchin
Kane Johnson
Richard Tambling
Adam Thomson

There is a huge host of D-grade Tigers who have been D-graders at Punt Road for years and years now: White, Connors, Edwards, Jackson, Polo, Collins, Howat, Oakley-Nicholls. Well, perhaps JON is more of an F-grader. 😀

St Kilda

A Grade B Grade C Grade
Lenny Hayes
Nick Dal Santo
Luke Ball
Leigh Montagna
Jason Gram
Steven Baker
Farren Ray
Clinton Jones

I hemmed and hawed about Ball, but decided he deserved a spot among the As. Saint fans might argue for Montagna as well, but let’s not get greedy! This is another team with a bunch of kids who haven’t been impressive enough yet to qualify for C-class.


A Grade B Grade C Grade
Brett Kirk
Adam Goodes
Jarrad McVeigh
Jude Bolton
Amon Buchanan
Kieren Jack
Rhyce Shaw
Craig Bird

McVeigh almost made it to A this year: if he can back up his second half of 2008 then he’s there. I’m assuming that Goodes remains a midfielder, which is under question at this point. Shaw is a decent depth player at best.

West Coast

A Grade B Grade C Grade
Daniel Kerr
Matt Priddis
Andrew Embley
Tyson Stenglein
Adam Selwood
Matt Rosa
Chad Fletcher
Chris Masten
Brad Ebert

The Bs and Cs here seem to be legion, and you could possibly throw Luke Shuey and Tom Swift in there was well. The Eagles will have to give their young midfielders much more time this year and finally superannuate Embley, Stenglein and Fletcher.

Western Bulldogs

A Grade B Grade C Grade
Adam Cooney
Daniel Cross
Ryan Griffen
Matthew Boyd
Dylan Addison
Nathan Eagleton
Josh Hill
Sam Reid

Griffen is a great player when he’s on, but he’s just not on enough. Boyd is also possibly a closet A-grader. Addison is a quiet achiever: Dog fans know about him but not many else do.

I’m sure everyone has an opinion on this sort of thing, so where did I go wrong? I’m open to suggestions if I made a glaring mistake, but remember this is just my own thoughts, not AFL policy! Let me know your theories in the comments.



  1. Fred

    November 30, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Pretty fair calls Monty, bit harsh on J Mcveigh, Boak and Kade Simpson (definately not C-graders). Very generous on Crowley and Green yet I supose you just felt sorry for Freo and Melbourne.

  2. scotty4

    November 30, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    how is priddis an a grader?
    surely riska would be a b pushing b

  3. scotty4

    November 30, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    *b pushing b

  4. m0nty

    November 30, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Crowley is an A grade tagger, like Ling. Green, yeah, that may just be charity. 🙂

    Priddis has elite skills in getting the footy, even if his decisions once he’s got it can sometimes be poor. I’m not happy with Riska. Bad Riska! Be better!

  5. Hank32

    November 30, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    Garrick Ibbotson is clearly a B grader after only 20 odd games, and he will quickly step into A.
    Boak is a B grader
    Jarrad McVeigh an A grader

  6. XztatiK *Shaun McKernan!!!*

    December 1, 2008 at 1:11 am

    Dont agree with all of it but its interesting.

    Is it based on fantasy ability or actual playing ability?

  7. m0nty

    December 1, 2008 at 1:23 am

    This one’s on pure footballing attributes, Xztatik.

  8. Pete

    December 1, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Good Post,

    Don’t agree with everything tho.

    A.Didak an A grade mid? He is a way better forward than mid-fielder. If you were putting good players from other positions that go into the mid field you could add Chappy, Pav and C.Rioli

    If you are leaving Pendlebury out as an A grade mid, then I don’t think Gibbs has done enough, haven’t seen him beat a good tag lately. However I rate N.Foley as an A grade mid.

    Do you also not rate Luke Hodge?

  9. Chad

    December 1, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Going to show my port bias. Cassisi has to be an A grader for mine. If Ling is Cassisi certainly is (not bad for a pick 50). Often overlooked.

    And Boak isn’t a C grader.

  10. XztatiK *Shaun McKernan!!!*

    December 1, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Cassisi’s a B-Grader but Boak certainly isn’t a C.

    For the Crows, I wouldn’t call McLeod a mid at all let alone an A-grader, and if Didak is in there, then the Porsche is an A-Grade mid for sure.

  11. Brendan

    December 1, 2008 at 11:43 am

    The most glaring mistake is that you left out Luke Hodge as a Hawks A. If Chad Cornes and Andrew McLeod classify as mids then Hodge definently does.

  12. Virgil

    December 1, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    “I’m sure the Roo supporters will squeal about Simmo being only a B…”

    No squeals from me m0nty, I think you got that right. I won’t go on about all the differences I would have, because it’s such a big task that we’re all going to have a lot of differences, but something that stood out was Leon Davis. Giving him a ‘B’ due to inconsistency is fair enough (I’d disagree, but that doesn’t matter), but to then give Daniel Wells an ‘A’ is a fair insult to Davis. Wells is A grade when he wants to be, but Davis does it a lot more consistently.

  13. Bob

    December 1, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Like some of your views here but must take exeption to Crowley being an A-grader, really is your love child or somthing! Pendlebury an Foley being B grade players is correct but only if Gibbs is a B-Grader too! Pendleburry and Foley are twice the play of Gibbs! Youalso went a little hard on Rischitelli, Kade Simpson, Travis Boak and Nathan Jones they are all better than C grade players!

  14. Davey

    December 1, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    no goddard?

  15. dylan

    December 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    i dont think wells should be an A grader

  16. m0nty

    December 1, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    I left out Hodge and Goddard due to their defensive roles. McLeod you could argue, but his primary role is not defensive. Chad has been running a lot more through the centre this year.

    As for Didak, he’s borderline I admit. Porps isn’t a mid though.

    Wells has quietly been a lot more consistent this year.

    Gibbs has shown more than Pendlebury. Foley is probably harsh, but he went backwards this year… he would have been A Grade based on 2007 but not this year.

    As for Crowley, go back and look at the jobs he’s done on Ablett, Judd and the rest this year. He’s an elite tagger.

  17. XztatiK *Shaun McKernan!!!*

    December 1, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    “Porps isn’t a mid though.”
    When he’s not injured, Porsche IS a mid.

    As for Crowley, go back and look at the jobs he’s done on Ablett, Judd and the rest this year.”
    Those jobs make him an elite hitman, not an elite tagger… dirty mongrel…

  18. Captain Fantasy

    December 2, 2008 at 6:34 am

    You can’t rate Ball an A and then consider Nathan Jones a C, when they perform essentially the same role for their teams. I’m worried you’re blurring fantasy value with their true footballing value. To rank Gibbs ahead of Pendlebury and Leon is also disappointing. I’m assuming you’re rating them from the two Collingwood matches you’ve seen last season. I agree Crowley has been fantastic, but he’s a completely different tagger to Ling, Kornes and even Gibbs. Crowley’s still like the old fashioned negative tagger such as Crouch or Libratore!

    I don’t want to completely focus on the negatives though because as a whole you’ve done a great assessment. Really like your analysis!

  19. m0nty

    December 2, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Ball and Jones may perform the same role, but Ball (when fit) performs that role much better than Jones.

    I’m a big fan of Gibbs. His jobs on some of the big names during the season, combined with his excellent second half when he turned more attacking, have me very positive about his quality.

  20. panesar

    December 3, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Boak,(C) wouldn’t be far off gibbs (A)
    also Wells(A) should be a B grader
    also McViegh(B) should be an A grader

  21. Lakey91

    December 3, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Id like to see simon buckley on the melbourne list – C, maybe pushed up into the Bs.

  22. harry

    December 4, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Boak is definitely not a C grader. He’s better than Stanton, Wells or Crowley and you gave them A’s. On that subject, why did you Stanton, Wells and Crowley A’s? To be honest I wouldn’t call Kane Cornes an A grader either.

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  25. Chad

    December 12, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Harry, Kane Cornes is premiership player, multiple all australian, multiple club best and fairest and arguably the best tagger in the competition, how is that not A grade?

  26. Jordan

    March 28, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    In regards to Mcleods Physical Condition, Have you seen him over the past year? Obviously havent been watching enough crows games. Also i have spoken regularly to one of the crows fitness coaches who says Mcleod is training as hard as anyone going around at the moment.

  27. josh 17

    April 24, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    peter burgoyne arguably an A midfielder now monty? as well as boak, definitely not a C grader. Foley definitely an A grader. Tambling lucky to be a C. pendulbury and montagna also A’s after a good start to the year

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