Greatest AFL Players Ever

The greatest players in the history of the Australian Football League.

The Top Ten

1 Gary Ablett Gary Ablett

By far the greatest player in terms of passion, class and showing how the game should be played.

No player has ever consistently reached the heights of this fellow. An absolute freak, a magician, uncontrollable amongst the opposition. Was able to manufacture situations from nowhere. Fast, a great mark, unbelievably strong, good at ground level and equally as skilled on either
side of the body. A further string to his bow centred on his ability to play equally well in a multitude of positions... as a wingman, centreman, half-forward or full forward... his versatility was awesome. In short no player was feared so much by players (and coaches) of opposition sides. People would go to the football just to watch this bloke play. His strength, skill, fierce attack on the ball put the fear of God into opposition players. And incidentally, not far behind him on the scale of best ever players was his son Gazza Junior

Gary Ablett ia an amazing and awesome player he never takes his eyes off the ball and most importantly he is not afraid to lose, I mean he use to be on one of the best ever AFL sides and then changed to the worst team

He sucked as much as a dog

V 151 Comments
2 Leigh Matthews

This man is the best voted best player of all time. Kicked 915 goals as a small forward, and voted player of the century. Won 8 premiership medallions as a coach and player for the hawks, he's won a coleman and 9 best and fairest.

The best "rover" in the game, later to then become the best small forward in the game. Simply ruthless on his attack on the ball, opposing players ( sometimes to his detriment) and pesky point posts at "Windy Hill". His nickname to VFL fans was "Lethal", but to the Hawks faithful he was always known as "Barney" as in Barney Rubble. Brute strength is what broke the point post that day and he only received a little lump on his elbow from it. I'm glad I was there to see this happen and for it to reinforce the "Legend that is "Leigh Matthews.

Pound for pound the best player ever. For a man of his height to dominate and on top of that a burning desire to win at all costs. He was a leader in arguably the best team of the 70's and 80's.Fearless.A winner. Even after his playing days he won 4 premierships at 2 different clubs.This guy knows what it takes to win.I'm sure the players he played with and coached would say the same thing.A winner.. A legend of Australian rules football.

He is a champion of the game, and was an elite unit in the midfield and forward line.

V 80 Comments
3 Wayne Carey

Best contested mark the game has ever seen and as good at ground level as anyone his size has ever been. Best on-field leader of the modern game. The complete package who dominated from centre half forward but could play anywhere if required. What puts him above all others though is his match-winning ability. He wasn't just great, he was great when he needed to be!

Certainly the best player ever at his best. Had all the x-factor of a buddy franklin, but was so much more. He was the best on-field leader I've seen, best contested mark, great at ground level as well, one of the most reliable shots on goal from any range. He was probably the strongest bloke in the league and was quick for his size... There genuinely wasn't an aspect of the game that he wasn't great at. And he was a winner. I don't think there's ever been a player with the same ability to win games for his team.

There has been no better player than Wayne Carey. His strength, athleticism and skills were obvious but equally important was his huge work ethic. He rarely, if ever, played a bad game and was the consumate match winner. Despite immense attention throughout his whole career, he never succumbed to injury or poor form and routinely played at a level that most players could only dream of. Unlike some of his feted peers, he was instrumental in his team winning premierships. Not more than you can ask, really. Mark M.

Stephen Silvagni

V 76 Comments
4 Gary Ablett Sr.

This dude is great. Even if you don't barrack for the Cats he is still a legend, freak or whatever you wanna call him. He is definitely in my top players.

This is my top 5...

1. Garry Ablett junior is just like his father, or maybe even better. Definitely first because he reads the play so well, he's talented and is always reliable to get at least 25 disposals a game.

2. Gary Ablett Senior is just a freak (Full stop).

3. Jonathan Brown is in there. He is brave as you can tell with all his reconstructions, great vic bloke who never gives up and will never stop playing. Said he will not leave the Lions even though Collingwood gave him a couple hundred thousand more he still said NO. Can still play fotty in 2014 and can still kick thw winning goal or the mark of the year.

4. Daniel Rich is in my top five. Where the Hell is he on this page, he can kick 80 metres and has the speed. Definitely going to be a freak in the years to come.

5. Pearce ...more

Greatest player I have seen he has brilliant consistency. He is the best kick ever. To kick 65 metres on your right foot and 60 on your left is amazing, when some players can not even kick 50. He kick a kick against hawthorn that went around 80 metres. He had excellent hands and perfect judgement. His speed is astonishing he could not bet beat. Ablett could have the whole back line on him and still kick goals. 9 goals against richmond at half time from the wing is incredible. He had the best season of any footballer in 1993. He his the best footballer by a country mile.

he can do anything you want he once kicked 18 goals he took the best mark and it still is he is tough he is a great man!

hi

V 82 Comments
5 Chris Judd

Judd's contested football, ability to get the ball away to a teammate when he has 3 players hanging off him and his ability to turn a game is second to none. Now he's starting to kick goals. Magnificent

chris judd is by far the best he's got the paste talent and one of the best centre clearences in the afl and already wrapped up 2 brownlows how good is that

CHRIS JUDD is by far the best player the AFL has ever seen duel brownlow medalist and a real ball getter. He has been the best player in his era and the most outstanding player VFL/AFL has ever seen he's an out right legend.

One of the best players ever

V 70 Comments
6 Ted Whitten

Ted Whitten is nicknamed "Mr Football" because he is the best at football

If your're called mr football, I think it's for a good reason.

One of the top Aussies to have ever set foot on this land.

So good a oval is named after him

What a legend, best afl player by far

V 27 Comments
7 Tony Lockett

Will I ever see the day that anyone gets close to Lockett's record. I won't hold my breath!

In his area, just get ready for the next centre bounce. It will most likely be a goal to Locket. Is the only player who can win a game off his own boot.

Power forward. Only way to stop him, was to stop the ball heading his way. Great hands and a great shot for goal.

He is the best player of all time

V 30 Comments
8 James Hird

Seemed to always have time when in possession, unbelievable grace and talent

Better than all except for maybe ablett snr and carey. But better to watch than carey and premierships which ablett snr did not. Judd and ablett jnr close but can't match the flair!

The best 4 sure him and matthew lloyd made the afl superb

Instinctive, fast, next level. When the ball came near him it was hard to stay in your seat.
If Hird was within 50 and got a smell of the ball, he'd goal.
In a pack, facing away from the sticks, a nanosecond of space, he'd goal.
Hird played best under extreme pressure, which probably explains his sometimes ordinary set shots, and his insane commitment with no thought for self-preservation explains all the broken bones:(
Hird + Michael Long was football poetry.

V 60 Comments
9 Robert Harvey

Most underrated player ever. Amazing ability to hit target after target with his 20-30metre short passes/

His level of sportsman ship and ability to run any other player on this list off their legs should really have him at no. 1

Robert Harvey is so awesome. He can kick better than franklin and is just a freak player

Legend by far

V 10 Comments
10 Nathan Buckley

Hands down to Nathan Buckley who has been a Collingwood all time great. Hard nut at the footy, and was so close to winning a premiership for the pies. Definitely should be in the top 5!

I hate collingwood but this guy could play. He should be 5th not nick maxwell whos done nothing as captain since taking over buckley. He held the cup in 2010 because of his team mates leadership not his

Legend of the game! Could hit a target on either foot from any distance. Great leader.

good

V 54 Comments

The Contenders

11 Michael Voss

Did all the hard unnoticed work in a scrap as well as performed the miraculous. An absolute game changer, he led his team by example, put his body on the line and did whatever had to be done to inspire his team.

Totally needs to be in top ten. Literally carried inspired drove the lions into and win 3 grand finals by his play and leadership

led his team to 3 consecutive premierships and just lost in the fourth one. - THEMASTER

Best player all up

V 9 Comments
12 Bobby Skilton

Left or right foot and over his head. Bashed and bruised he won the ball against winning rucks. Had to fight for every kick and still won three Brownlows. Never reported nor suspended and always humble. Belongs on everyone's mantle piece among the very best.

South melbourne swans

With 3 brownlow medals is one of the greatest

Is by far the best afl/vfl player of all time

V 6 Comments
13 Jason Dunstall

For someone who just got behind opponents and pushed ( sarcasm intended) he was an extraordinary mark on the lead. Great hands, accurate kick and only Pratt and Hudson kicked more goals in a season and they never dished one off to a team mate. He was a fantastic big game player and continued at an elite level even when Hawthorn went in to a decline.

A Hawks legend a real sharpshooter who often kept the team in games when they no right to be winning

Best goal kicker

Chief and Plugger are the best 2 Forwards by far.
Lmao..Hird is in the top 10, you must be on drugs to have voted for him... oh.

V 10 Comments
14 Buddy Franklin

The very best player in the game bar none. To kick 65 -70 goals a year and play Winger, Half forward, Full Forward is a testament to the complete player that he is. I reckon he will have 900 or 1000 goals by 2021.

Buddy is the freakiest forward the afl has ever seen with his insane range and skill, talent and especially passion for the game. He's the full package with his work up the ground!

Since he was in the draft and then to the Hawks my team, he was an amazing player total class. Remember his 13 goals it was amazing.

Just watching him play no one can touch him he’s basically unstoppable in 2008 & 2014 he was four votes off of winning the Brownlow while playing centre half forward. And how could I forget he’s won four Colman medals plus he was the last player to kick 100 goals in a season and judging how less and less goals are being kicked every season he’s probably go be the last person every to kick 100 goals (as of 2018)

V 47 Comments
15 Kevin Bartlett

The ordinary man who did extraordinary things.

Pretty good lad

Receiver nevergot dirty quick to pounce on other player's hard work...

he is t

V 4 Comments
16 Alex Jesaulenko

Jezza you Beauty enough said Jezza is one of the greatest players of all time if not the best he was able to take brilliant marks kick great goals the only blue to kick a century of goals in a season and took the mark of the century in the 1970 grand final kicked 7 in 1972 and was the last captain coach to captain coach a premiership in 1979.

For his size, he had an amazing leap and grip for the ball, and could always be relied on to kick a goal when needed

Balance poise all weather player was never beaten one of the few players who could play either end witch a lot of the top players couldn't do

Time goes on and the younger generations didn't see him. Jezza could play anywhere on the ground and excel. Stood up in the grand finals. Weaved through packs with ease. Kicked 100 goals in a season when sent forward. Mark of the century. Captain/coach in grand final year. Carlton's best. And best ever!

V 6 Comments
17 Ron Barassi

Probably rated about where he should be for football ability but deserves to be in the top ten just for his fantastic contribution. I shook hands with him when I was 12 in 1957 and only just washed my hand the other day.

In my day every Melbourne supporting kid, and there were thousands of them in those days, wore a number 31 jersey. He was and still is a true inspiration.

Barassi was right up there with Teddy Whitten for sure.

he's a gun

18 Greg Williams

He was awesome to watch live. He'd be in a pack looking one way and handball the other way to a player 20 yards away. In a pack it was like he slowed down time, ducking and weaving standing still, and still not gettin tackled. Just magic.

Should be in top 5 @least. Vision on field 2nd to none.

Pure Champion.

Carlton

V 5 Comments
19 Matthew Lloyd

Matthew should still play. I play footy and I look up to him a lot. His my hero. That's why I love the bombers. In the EJ game (2013) he was a superstar I've got something to say Matthew you ROCK

A true legend of the game. One of the best players I've ever seen.

Lloyd was one of the greats. Fantastic player should be ranked a lot higher!

legend

V 12 Comments
20 Peter Hudson

Met this man in December last year, a fantastic bloke. Would've loved to have been there to watch him at the peak of his powers.

His career was cut short by injury but he was the best

Hudson is the best forward I have ever seen play

My friends names hudson

V 7 Comments
21 John Coleman

I'm not old enough to have seen him play but must have been one hell of a player based on older people describe.
Had lunch with some workmates in about 1991 and we joined up with 4 older gents who were having there monthly 'catch-up'. ( It was around the period where many in the press were speculating that Garry Ablett And was the best player of all time.
None of these guys barracked for Essendon but to a man, each of them scoffed at the suggestion that Ablett and was in the same class as Coleman. They say he marked from anywhere, was too quick for any opponent, a great kick and a constant match winner over his 99 games. 'We will never see his like again'.
These are similar to the stories my parents, uncles, aunties, grand parents etc told about Coleman. Was he the best ever? I don't know but the generation that saw him say he was.

So good the crowd, including opposition supporters, used to move up and down the ground at each quarter change just to watch him play. Probably the best ever, dominant on the ground, untouchable in the air, just played too long ago to be clearly remembered of just how good he was. Sadly a short career. Those who know, know why the league's leading goal kicker now receives the Coleman medal.

You're all too young to understand but kicking around 538 goals in under 100 games is ridiculous. Best player of all time probably, much ahead of the likes of Chris Judd and Kevin Bartlett even.

Just a legend

V 1 Comment
22 Peter Daicos

Only a Collingwood fan would have him in the top 1000! Averaged about 5 touches per game in his final 4 years. Kicked some freakish goals but didn't do much else.

So talented and changed the game with his amazing skills

Great player who could score whenever he touched the ball. A real freak.

What a legend

V 3 Comments
23 Matthew Richardson

800 GOALS IN A POOR SIDE THAT COULDN't DELIVER the BALL TO HIM SATISTICLY BETTER THAN CAREY MORE GOAL MORE MARKS MORE KICKS had a huge tank could run like a midfielder imagine him in a good team would have been unstoppable he probably not number 1 but should be in the top 10 with out question I think he's the best center half forward to have played the game and I'm an essendon fan

Magnificent player. A fantastic ability to take high and stretched out marks and an amazing goal kicker too. Deserve red a lot better than 23.

One of the best contested marks the game has ever seen, had the ability to take on multiple players at once and kick the goal, had to earn a lot of the 800 goals

Bloody good player 800 goals and a gun

V 11 Comments
24 Adam Goodes

Adam Goodes your a fantastic player maybe not the best but your still awesome.

He was very good but started to play for free kicks in the later years

Dual brownlow medal winner. Enough said!

Best player in history of AFL

V 11 Comments
25 Matthew Pavlich

Much better then a lot off those players above. Should be in the top 15

Amazing, deserves to be number 1. Destroys everyone in history

He should be way lower down. Heaps of players that are behind him on this list are so much better than him

he good

V 13 Comments
26 NIck Maxwell

What a joke. Maxwell has never had an opponent in his life, all he does is punch when he could mark the footy. Any muppet can do that. Can 't kick the ball either. He's not in the best 500 of all time, let alone, the top ten.

I think this is pathetic he should be know where near the top 5 and there is way tougher players than him. He's to soft

Will go down as the best player ever to play the game. An icon. A household name. We should all take a moment to be grateful we saw the Great Nick Maxwell play in our lifetimes

He needed a break. But what a great Collingwood captain.

V 25 Comments
27 Graham Farmer

Everyone I know that saw this bloke play rated him as the best they had seen. Gave Bobby davis and Geelong glory. And coached WA to 1977 state of origin demolition of Victoria.

"The only individual man that changed the game".

Has to be in the top 10 if you saw him play it left no doubt he was one of the greatest players

27 is ridiculous - an insult really.

A Legend in two States. His hand balling skills were second to none. As a ruckman of the highest calibre his clashes with Jogn Nicholls were legendary. He played beat 400 games at the top level. Probably the greatest player from W.A.

28 Mark Riccuito

Best player for hard ball gets off all time

You are my second favourite of all times you are so the best

You are the best

Roo

V 4 Comments
29 Stephen Silvagni

Silvagni is the best full back in afl history he should be in the top 10 instead of nick maxwell

You're the best player ever I wish you still played

By far the best full back ever. Deserves alt better.

Player of the Century

V 5 Comments
30 John Nicholls

Are you kidding? Number 30? Big Nick was 'the general' who directed play and had a huge influence on so many games. He was the engine room of the mid-field of his day via his wonderful tap ruck work. John Nicholls had one of the best football brains of all time and, with his size, ability and ground leadership, he deserves, (along with Polly Farmer, incidentally), to be rated in the top 10.

31 Gordon Coventry

The great goal kicker who excelled and kicked tons on atrocious mud pits.
Great in finals also

In his heyday this man is the difference between Collingwood and the rest of the VFL team. In the late twenties and the early thirties. A tough and rugged players who drew the attention of every coach when he plays. Makes a habit of kicking 100 goals a seasonis at atime were on 16 games a season. Where Tony Lockett needed motivation to kick his 1000 or so goals Gordon Covenry set a legacy that took other full forwards overifty years to surpass. The greatest spearhead of all time.

32 Dean Cox

I love big cox

Awesome tall man

Most AFL games played by Eagles

legend

V 3 Comments
33 Royce Hart

If football was an art form Royce was the master artist, great leap in his younger days, seemingly out of a contest would soar through the air to take a crucial grab and goal with a flat punt. Was a big game player would would run on when the game was in the balance and lift the team. The whole team lifted when he was on the field and was instrumental in the 73/74 flags.

Royce is the 2nd best player ever. He invented current footballs skills. He taught himself how to kick a drop punt and was a genius at it. His high jumping technique for marking is perfect. He is the best captain ever. He stood up and guided Richmond to flags in 67, 69, 73 and 74.

Hart was a Richmond all star and took one of the greatest mark of all time WHAT A CHAMPION!

34 Bruce Doull

Bruce was was and still is my favorite player he never had his ice off the ball. What I like about Bruce is that he new he had to put in time and effort into training as much as the game.

Greatest defender ever. Never beaten. His games on Hart are Legendary. How this man is not an AFL Legend is a blight on the AFL.

None better. Best defender must be elevated to legend status of the AFL legends will be a joke.

Greatest defender Ever. Must be elevated to legend.

V 10 Comments
35 Kevin Sheedy

Better coach then player, legend

Alright Player, Fantastic Coach

36 Gary Dempsey

Most consistent player of all time

1975 Brownlow medalist and one of the greatest ruckman. Suffered severe burns in the Lara Bushfires and was told he would never play AFL again - but came back and proved that doctor wrong with 6 Best and Fairests and the record for the most awarded Brownlow votes.

Dogs, Roos and finally a premiership at the Southport Sharks, and best on ground to top it off, way to go Demps...

37 Dane Swan

How the hell is Dane Swan not in top ten I mean Gary Ablett is not getting high 30 disposals any more if you have a look he's getting low thirty high twenties and swan is still doing what he does best he's a brown low winner I mean come on nick maxwell isn't as good he should be in the fifty mark. Swan has skill, amazing at getting the clearances 30 or 40 disposals and KICKS GOALS! Give him a break would ya, he easily deserves top 10 a 6 year old could put him top5! You can't get much better then a guy who gets 35 disposals gets at least 5 clearances and kicks a goal or two that's WHAT ABLETT DOES! That's why I give my vote to Swan

Dane Swan is an amazing footballer he can almost close is eyes and get 35 Disposals and doesn't need to think about 30 of them I reckon he could get to the top ten, and also he kicks goals while having 30 or 40 disposals he is very fast and picks the right timing to get the ball, wins clearances and just dominates

Freakish player. Racks up possession like nobody else. Be game player as well, kicks goals regularly and loses the tag.

Dane Swan is an absolute legend and deserves to be in the top 15

V 22 Comments
38 Haydn Bunton, Sr.

Fitzroy captain 1936-1937
Fitzroy coach 1936
Best and fairest 2x
Fitzroy leading goal kicker 2x
Brownlow 3x first ever out of 4
Sandover 3x
Hall of fame legend
Team of the century
Fitzroy team of the century
Why isn't he number 1?

I think this guys record speaks for itself, close to a Don Bradman of football in achievements as a player

Absolute legend 3 times brownlow medalist also in his first 2 years should be first.

Phar Lap Bradman and Bunton.
They stand above all others.

V 7 Comments
39 Bob Rose

Best footballer I have seen I hadn't been collingwood player would have been in the hall of fame in stead of some others in the hall of fame the selector were pretty bias

The toughest there has been

40 Andrew McLeod

Two norm smith medals deserves top 20 that all I need o say

This legend should be in the top 5 at least

Absolute legend. Should be in the top 15

Should easily be in top ten

V 4 Comments
41 Dick Lee

I like his name

Me too

Me three

42 Sam Mitchell

I think Mitchell's a great player sets up goals in the forward line and can be great in the centre.

I JUST CAN'T BELIEVE HE'S NOT IN THE TOP TEN

He's a Gun

He's amazing. He doesn't have a preferred foot. When lining up for goal, he must be deciding which foot to kick with. He's also great with his clearances.

He plays like a real AFL player, inventive tough and he fights to the end. A true hero in my books

Top 20 at least won of the better midfielders to play the game

V 17 Comments
43 Barrie Robran

I saw Robran play most of his games for North Adelaide and South Australia he was a freak could do anything, players would go to tackle him but was like they were grabbing fresh air, was an amazing footballer, multi skilled in every facet of the game, a role model on and of the field. The only player I saw that matched him or had the better of Barrie on the day was Stan Alves in an interstate game SA v VIC

Alex Jezalenko state Robran was in a total different league than all he sawduring his career. The greatest footballer I ever saw by so far it was not funny. Could stand on a blokes shoulder who was standing on another blokes shoulder mark the ball and handball it left handed in mid air to a bloke running past 35m away

Wont get many votes because only south aussies got to see him. 3 Magary medals. Often kicked a bag from centre. Quietly spoken gentlman of the game, not interested in money, stayed loyal to North Adelaide when half a dozen VFL clubs were bidding for him. Think Nick Riewoldt crossed with Chris Judd.

He was the greatest ever to lace up.

44 Nathan Fyfe

Depending on fitness, will likely become one of the all time greats. However, his courage might see him forced into an early retirement. One of the very best current players who we are happy to pay our money to see.

Has changed what a midfielder looks like. He is stronger, taller and more agile than any other afl player. Already is a star, but could be one of the games best ever players.

He should be at least top 25 he has played on a broken leg.

He sucked

V 13 Comments
45 Daniel Giansiracusa

Has stood the test of time. His grey hair while still playing shows it.

Top Dog. Goes hard and never gives up.

His talent is amazing

Absolute jet

46 Mark LeCras

Absolute gun of a footy player and is the greatest set shot to ever live! He is a versatile player that can play anywhere on the ground and should at least be in the top 5

Always plays as a team only goes for goals if there is no more options and should be in the top ten

He is not the best player of all time but he shows incredible speed and is a great kick at goal

That is about right

V 6 Comments
47 Nick Riewoldt

Hard working and my opinion is that he is either the BEST footy player of all time or the best for saint kilda..

He's been playing for years as the captain and he's still having a go!

Honest, hard working, never give up attitude... Plays for the team every game. Demands the most & the best from himself... And his team mates. A good leader/teacher for the kids.

Dealing with the loss of his sister, he still is one of the best players to ever play AFL

An absolutely great goal kicker and team player

V 12 Comments
48 Malcolm Blight

Agree that he was a jet footballer of the highest order. Could play every position on the ground and was a constant match winner. Clearly better than most players rated abovehim on this list.

Best tropes ever

Brownlow, sandover, 80 meter goals after the siren, Spectacular mark, Could turn game with his own efforts. Genius only headed by Cary, Ablett junior, and Dermott Brereton and leigh Mathews as best player ever.

Shamelessly talented.Even gave Malarky a 'bath' at Arden Street!

V 3 Comments
49 Ryan Griffen

You give Ryan 45 a lot of players are better then him!

He is far the best in the Western Bulldogs and defintly is in the top ten players of 2013 he might have a chance to sneak in to getting the brownlow medal this year. He is a Star of the AFL because of his Kicking, marking, tackling and basically every thing You Beauty Ryan Griffin!

50 Albert Collier

Great player no one better

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