AFL Grand Final 2020: Every Richmond and Geelong player rated
AFL Grand Final 2020: Every Richmond and Geelong player rated

1 to 44: Every Grand Final player ranked

Dustin Martin can change Saturday's Grand Final with a brutal fend-off or a perfectly weighted pass to a leading forward.

But other players bring their own weapons to the 2020 decider.

Jon Ralph ranks every player based on their importance to the outcome.


1. Dustin Martin (Richmond)

His finals record might be dwarfed by only Leigh Matthews but who would doubt he is capable of a record third Norm Smith Medal? Has six goals and a million game-turning moments from his two Grand Finals. Chris Scott cannot let him saunter around changing the course of this match unmarked.


2. Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong)

A legacy-defining contest awaits. Must hold his defender accountable to allow Tom Hawkins one-on-one contests, and dominated himself after a scoreless preliminary final. Win and his AFL resume is complete.


Dustin Martin and Patrick Dangerfield both have the ability to tear the Grand Final apart.
Dustin Martin and Patrick Dangerfield both have the ability to tear the Grand Final apart.


3. Tom Hawkins (Geelong)

In Round 17 he effectively played on five Tigers defenders so will have to scrounge opportunities and capitalise upon them. Geelong simply can't win if he doesn't kick three or more goals, which is why he is on the podium. Cometh the hour, Tommy ...


4. Tom Lynch (Richmond)

The red mist will envelop him as always when he walks across the white line. Can he channel it into a reprise of the five-goal 2019 prelim against the Cats? Has taken a dozen contested marks in five finals. Continue that form-line and Richmond wins.


5. Toby Nankervis (Richmond)

Richmond controls the stoppages and it wins. Nankervis is built for finals after a 10-tackle, four-clearances, four-intercept mark, six hitout-to-advantage preliminary final. Needs to establish dominance as Stanley and Blicavs try to work him over.


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6. Harry Taylor (Geelong)

This is THE match-up for Geelong, so Taylor shoots up the rankings. Embarrassed by Lynch (five goals) last year but at 34 he has cracked the code this year, using all his wiles to trounce a series of star forwards including restricting Lynch to a single goal in 46 minutes in Round 17.


7. Gary Ablett (Geelong)

Who else apart from Dustin Martin can flip the script on its head in the space of five minutes? Deserves a standing applause for his impact on the modern era. Might get it if he can seize the moment with a darting run and goal. Nathan Broad and Nick Vlastuin got him in last year's prelim.


Trent Cotchin hunts the footy in the preliminary final.
Trent Cotchin hunts the footy in the preliminary final.


8. Trent Cotchin (Richmond)

The cheap-kicks exponent has become footy's ultimate inside player with 54 per cent of his touches won in the contest. Will burrow in hard - and attempt to bury a big-name rival. Remember his missile tackle on Shane Mumford last year as he went hunting early. Richmond's midfield talisman.


9. Joel Selwood (Geelong)

Geelong's Captain Courageous hasn't missed a beat despite finger surgery, peeling off two finals of rare quality. He needs to be the midfield firestarter with Dangerfield starting forward, just as he was in his two-goal, 28-possession Grand Final in 2011.


10. Bachar Houli (Richmond)

Simply magnificent in two Grand Finals. Richmond will orchestrate a match-up to give him maximum impact - it was Luke Dahlhaus in last year's prelim - then allow his teammates to cover as he roars upfield on that lethal left foot.


11. Jack Riewoldt (Richmond)

Just one goal in two finals so far but his game is now filled with subtle tap-ons and team-first moments instead of soaring leaps for the three-time Coleman Medallist. Got Jake Kolodjashnij in the 2019 prelim and went goalless but kicked three on Lachie Henderson in Round 17.


Cam Guthrie was named in the All-Australian team. Picture: Michael Klein
Cam Guthrie was named in the All-Australian team. Picture: Michael Klein


12. Cam Guthrie (Geelong)

The 2020 All-Australian is on such a ball-winning purple patch (averaging 21.6 possessions) but a player who kept Dustin Martin quiet early in the 2017 qualifying final before a significant calf strain mid-match surely must be considered for a hard tag on the Richmond game-breaker.


13. Mitch Duncan (Geelong)

Three bumper finals for Geelong including a massive semi-final against the Pies, when he had 30 touches at 94 per cent kicking efficiency. Has always been a smooth moving midfielder but he and Selwood need to dominate in close to get this contest done.


14. Noah Balta (Richmond)

A shy kid who plays like a man, he can stake a claim of his own after all those "next-Rance" comparisons by taking down Tom Hawkins. He will have help, but in those few moments when the ball comes in deep and it becomes a pure test of strength between these two, who wins the day?


15. Shane Edwards (Richmond)

Richmond's score assists king typifies this club's ethos - making his teammates better by releasing them into space with the deftest of touches. The perfect blend of clearance power and assists, with six of both those stats in last year's Grand Final.


Shane Edwards’ vision and quick hands set up Richmond scoring opportunities. Picture: Michael Klein
Shane Edwards’ vision and quick hands set up Richmond scoring opportunities. Picture: Michael Klein


16. Dylan Grimes (Richmond)

Is Grimes the Dangerfield super-stopper, having taken him for periods of both the past two encounters? Has had a dozen spoils and 10 intercept possessions in the past fortnight after a poor qualifying final, but Dangerfield is the ultimate defensive challenge.


17. Tom Stewart (Geelong)

Two cracking finals in the past fortnight for the Cats' VFL success story Stewart including a 150-SuperCoach point, 14-mark semi-final. A triple threat who can play lockdown, fly for intercept marks or rebound from half back.


18. Rhys Stanley (Geelong)

It has taken a full decade for this athletic freak to get respect. Needs to replicate the semi-final contest against the Pies with three shots at goal because has only five hitouts to advantage in two finals. Only has to break even with "Nank'', just can't get physically dominated.



19. Shai Bolton (Richmond)

No player better represents the Tigers' play-on-at-all costs game plan as they take space any way possible. Dermott Brereton believes he could be the midfield's next big thing across the competition. No better time after three semi-final goals.


20. Dion Prestia (Richmond)

Nine of his 11 finals for Richmond so far have been from the absolute top shelf for a player who believed his season could be over due to a golden staph infection. A relentless ball winner and surging runner who should be at peak fitness in his fourth game back.


21. Mark Blicavs (Geelong)

Geelong's Mr Fixit was quiet in the qualifying final then has roared back in his midfield-wing-ruck role, including five score launches and five score involvements last week. Will use his never-quit engine to get back in front of Lynch and Co in what might be his most important role.


22. Nick Vlastuin (Richmond)

Beloved by the Tigers faithful, the dependable Vlastuin will be desperate to put his opponent to sleep then throw himself in the path of Hawkins. He minded Ablett for 32 minutes in last year's prelim so can he come up big one more time in September?


Lachie Henderson has resurrected his career in 2020. Picture: Michael Klein
Lachie Henderson has resurrected his career in 2020. Picture: Michael Klein


23. Lachie Henderson (Geelong)

This time last year he was all at sea as a Hail Mary attacking replacement for the suspension Tom Hawkins then delisted weeks later. In what could still be his last game he has played a trio of superb finals and could get the huge role on Jack Riewoldt as reward.


24. Sam Menegola (Geelong)

Geelong fans used to wonder if he could deliver on at the pointy end of the season but after three strong finals the Cats wingman is rewriting his reputation. Will start on Kamdyn McIntosh and surge up and down the wing, so which of this pair can sneak forward to land a telling blow?


25. Gary Rohan (Geelong)

Gets a high rating given what he can do rather than what he has in finals so far. Three goals against Brisbane - his only majors in finals - show he can pull apart a defence and give Hawkins one-on-one looks - if his hands are clean and his mind unclouded. A chance to banish his Grand Final record.




26. Kane Lambert (Richmond)

Footy reject Lambert has long cast off the shadow of being unwanted, now playing selfless roles in the Richmond machine. Has been quieter this year but one of footy's hardest runners both ways.


27. Brandan Parfitt (Geelong)

The newly re-signed Parfitt has beautiful dancing feet and surprising intensity after 16 tackles in the past fortnight, but must hit the scoreboard after only a single finals goal at half-forward.


28. Jack Graham (Richmond)

Dustin Martin's loyal sidekick, starting at half-forward then swapping into the midfield where his gut-busting runs up and back help spark the Tigers' run. Gets the chance to taste premiership glory after missing last year's Grand Final with a shoulder injury.


Daniel Rioli and Shai Bolton can cause problems for Geelong’s small defenders.
Daniel Rioli and Shai Bolton can cause problems for Geelong’s small defenders.


29. Daniel Rioli (Richmond)

One of Richmond's finest last week mixing his usual frenzied pressure with quality touches for a player built for finals. The famous Rioli name must pressure Geelong's assured ball-users to create dirty ball to fuel Richmond's renowned forward-half intercept game.


30. Jake Kolodjashnij (Geelong)

Often underrated and sometimes beaten by the game's best mid-sizers like Jordan De Goey, but a huge chance to get Dustin Martin if he is isolated forward and comes off a great clamp-down role on a white-hot Charlie Cameron in the prelim.


31. Kamdyn McIntosh (Richmond)

Back on the big stage, where he deserves to be after missing the VFL and AFL Grand Finals last year as the ultimate team man. Has a critical role surging into defence to help the Tigers' intercept game but has got forward for goals twice so far this finals campaign.


32. Jayden Short (Richmond)

The Tigers' rocket-launcher is more than a right foot after 15 intercept possessions in three finals. He is likely to take on a small like Gryan Miers or Luke Dahlhaus and starve them of chances.


33. Liam Baker (Richmond)

A fan favourite often seen burrowing deep into packs or belying his 173cm frame to take sound intercept marks in front of charging forwards. Needs to lock down on a Brandan Parfitt or Gryan Miers to take them out of this contest.


Zach Tuohy doesn’t have to get too close to goal to be dangerous. Picture: Michael Klein
Zach Tuohy doesn’t have to get too close to goal to be dangerous. Picture: Michael Klein


34. Zach Tuohy (Geelong)

The son of the Irish prison officer has moved up onto a wing, where he uses his dash to pound the ball into attack but also get on the scoreboard with a goal in each of his past four games. Will never flinch, and will never let Chris Scott down.


35. Sam Simpson (Geelong)

Sean's son adds a different dimension to this team with his lovely sidestep. Can create chaos as an elite ball-winning general forward. Desperate to live up to his dad's name while also turning the tables after Sean's 1992 Grand final loss at the same age of 22.


36. David Astbury (Richmond)

Richmond is so desperate to play the chronically underrated Astbury they have thrown him into the ruck and at times pick up to nine defenders to allow him to ply his lockdown trade.




37. Gryan Miers (Geelong)

Just two goals in the past five weeks for the lethal Miers, whose accuracy belies his quirky kicking action. Needs to stamp himself on the game early to get defensive respect from his opponent. Jayden Short was his main match-up six weeks ago.


38. Mark O'Connor (Geelong)

Don't sleep on the Irishman because he can put opponents to sleep himself. The unheralded defender has rebounded from a shaky qualifying final and should get a Kane Lambert or Daniel Rioli type.


Jason Castagna brings an element of chaos to the game. Picture: Michael Klein
Jason Castagna brings an element of chaos to the game. Picture: Michael Klein


39. Jason Castagna (Richmond)

Only five goals in the past 11 games for Castagna, whose pressure remains exceptional in a contest where he will be desperate to maximise chances after last year's 0.5 Grand Final.


40. Jack Henry (Geelong)

Geelong's spare parts man, spending time on seven opponents in Round 17 including Castagna and Graham and now taking more smalls after Lachie Henderson's inclusion. Stood tall with 103 SuperCoach points in the knockout semi against Collingwood.


41. Nathan Broad (Richmond)

Who would have told the WAFL success story when he debuted at 23 he was a chance to play in a third premiership in 70 AFL games? Fought his way back into the side late in the season and another option to spend time on Ablett after their prelim final match-up last year.


42. Marlion Pickett (Richmond)

After early second-year blues this century's AFL fairytale story took the blows on the chin and got back to hunting the ball with aggression. A second flag in his 20th game? That would be off the charts.


43. Luke Dahlhaus (Geelong)

Just seven total goals and an average of 13 possessions for 2016 Dogs premiership star Dahlhaus this season but his seven-assist semi final against the Pies shows he can still cut his opponent apart on his day.


44. Jed Bews (Geelong)

A low-possession, highly valued member of Geelong's back six desperate to do what dad Andrew could not despite his 27-possession, one-goal performance in the 1989 Grand Final for Geelong.





Originally published as 1 to 44: Every Grand Final player ranked

Luke Dahlhaus is aiming for his second premiership.
Luke Dahlhaus is aiming for his second premiership.