We’ve reached the midway point of the season — and it’s time for some stars to lift.
For a variety of reasons, some players haven’t quite been able to back up their form from last season, on the stats sheet at least, to give their team the best chance at winning each week.
Of course, certain players might be fulfilling specific aspects of their role internally, but on the outside, aren’t performing to the level they have previously.
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So with the help of Champion Data, we’ve named the player from every club who needs to lift — based on the largest percentage decrease in player ratings.
To qualify, players had to play a minimum of 10 matches in 2021 and six games in 2022.
DARCY FOGARTY (ADELAIDE CROWS)
2021 Games: 17 2021 Rating Points: 7.5 2022 Games: 6 2022 Rating Points: 4.5 Change -40%
It shaped as a breakout season for the former Pick 12 after his career-best 24-goal 2021 season, and the Crows have needed Fogarty to deliver more than ever before in 2022 given the club’s inexperienced forward line. But he’s in fact gone the other way, with just two majors — both of which came in one contest — from his five matches. Fogarty then spent several weeks in the SANFL before bouncing back with a season-best three goals against Geelong last weekend as the 22-year old gets another opportunity to make his mark at senior level and spearhead the Crows’ forward line. It’s now about consistency for Fogarty and tying good form together into a block of games.
DAYNE ZORKO (BRISBANE LIONS)
2021 Games: 23 2021 Rating Points: 16.1 2022 Games: 11 2022 Rating Points: 11.6 Change -28%
This probably says more about how good Zorko was last year, when he averaged a career-best 24.1 disposals and booted 17 goals, although the Lions skipper had a particularly quiet fortnight including recording just 14 touches against GWS last week. Injuries have also hampered Zorko in 2022, while he’s been deployed in different roles at stages. If the 33-year old can stay healthy in the second half of the season you’d expect his rating points to be closer to his 16.1 return last year.
NIC NEWMAN (CARLTON)
2021 Games: 14 2021 Rating Points: 10 2022 Games: 11 2022 Rating Points: 7.7 Change -23%
Although Newman has still been a valuable contributor for Carlton, playing all 11 games for Michael Voss’ side, he hasn’t had as many standout performances as last year. It comes as the much-improved Blues are getting more even contributions across the board, while Sam Docherty has really taken charge across half back as the general. But with Zac Williams now set to miss the majority of the season, Newman will be leaned on more heavily as a distributor in defence.
TAYLOR ADAMS (COLLINGWOOD)
2021 Games: 14 2021 Rating Points: 13.4 2022 Games: 10 2022 Rating Points: 10.8 Change -19%
The Magpies co vice-captain just hasn’t quite looked himself in 2022, going at 22.7 disposals per game — his lowest return since his first year at Collingwood in 2014 (factoring in scaling for 2020). Although his fewer numbers are also symptomatic of the club’s lower-possession, more direct style under Craig McRae to create more scoring opportunities, his inside 50s are basically on par to last year. And Adams has also just generally struggled to impact games and get as involved. Still very much the heart and soul of the Collingwood midfield and racking up seven and nine tackles respectively over his last two games, if Adams can get back to some of his best form it could help the Pies make a genuine finals tilt.
JAKE KELLY (ESSENDON)
2021 Games: 202021 Rating Points: 7 2022 Games: 10 2022 Rating Points: 4.7 Change -33%
A key cog for Adelaide’s back six for so many years, Kelly hasn’t had the impact the Bombers would’ve hoped for in his first since at the club since arriving as a free agent. Of course, not to pin all of the club’s defensive woes on Kelly, but it’s an area of the ground they were hoping to improve in to take the extra step, and yet have actually diminished further in.
ALEX PEARCE (FREMANTLE)
2021 Games: 10 2021 Rating Points: 8 2022 Games: 10 2022 Rating Points: 5.9 Change -26%
Pearce is finally getting a good run at it in 2022, playing all but one game after injuries have hampered the 26-year old’s career to date. Once the Dockers’ stand-out key defender, there’s now less of a reliance on Pearce’s individual defensive output with so many of his teammates standing up and the club playing a more system-based style — with his spoils per game dropping from five in 2021 to 3.4 this year. Justin Longmuir’s team is also blessed with key-position depth in defence too where the likes of Griffin Logue and Brennan Cox are playing more important roles than ever before.
MARK O’CONNOR (GEELONG CATS)
2021 Games: 14 2021 Rating Points: 8.9 2022 Games: 8 2022 Rating Points: 6 Change -33%
The Cats midfielder is spending less time on the inside of the contest in 2022, which have seen his clearance numbers drop from 2.3 per game to 0.9, and his contested possessions dip from 5.8 to 4.1. O’Connor’s kicking efficiency has fallen away too, going at 69 per cent this season. Once a mainstay in the side in 2019 and 2020, O’Connor has now fallen out of the favour to some degree as the club has shifted towards exposing younger players.
BRAYDEN FIORINI (GOLD COAST SUNS)
2021 Games: 10 2021 Rating Points: 9.1 2022 Games: 10 2022 Rating Points: 7.6 Change -16%
The inside bull impressed for the Suns in the back half of last season, averaging 28.4 disposals, 4.7 clearances and 5.8 tackles from Rounds 16-21. And despite getting the best run of senior opportunities he’s had since 2018, Fiorini hasn’t been able to recapture his previous best form, averaging 19.3 touches per contest. His last two game were particularly quiet, tallying 15 and nine disposals respectively before getting dropped to the VFL as he looks to regain confidence at the lower grade.
NICK HAYNES (GWS GIANTS)
2021 Games: 21 2021 Rating Points: 8.5 2022 Games: 7 2022 Rating Points: 5.2 Change -39%
Just two seasons ago Haynes was an All-Australian and one of the premier defenders in the competition. He then took a slight step backwards in 2021, while this year looks a completely different player. The 30-year old has always been reliable as a pure defensive stopper and one-on-one combatant, but the intercepting and attacking flare he added to his game in that breakout 2020 season hasn’t been as prevalent. Perhaps a changing of coach will help reignite the spark for Haynes’ career.
JARMAN IMPEY (HAWTHORN)
2021 Games: 13 2021 Rating Points: 9.3 2022 Games: 8 2022 Rating Points: 5.3 Change -43%
It’s been setback after setback for Impey since his ACL blow sustained in late 2019, enjoying a strong return last season before having his campaign ended prematurely by an ankle injury. The defender hasn’t hit his straps under Sam Mitchell’s more attacking system, certainly not the level he was playing last year, averaging 17.5 disposals and 2.9 rebound 50s across eight contests in 2022. This more direct style has also seen a drop off from Impey’s uncontested possessions (17 to 13.9) and metres gained (329 to 268), while he’s averaging three intercept possessions compared to 4.8 in 2021.
JAKE LEVER (MELBOURNE )
2021 Games: 25 2021 Rating Points: 12.8 2022 Games: 7 2022 Rating Points: 7.2 Change -44%
The 2021 All-Australian backman has endured an interrupted start to 2022 after a foot injury caused him to miss the opening three games. And upon returning Lever hasn’t been able to have the same impact as last year, with Steven May doing most of the heavy lifting in Melbourne’s defence. The biggest drop off for Lever from 2021 has been his intercept marks (4.1 to 1.7) and intercept possessions (10.3 to 6.6), while as a result he’s recording less disposals overall. But still one of the premier defenders in the competition, Lever has set a much higher standard than most other defenders in the competition. The Dees will want the 26-year old back to his best though in their bid to go back-to-back.
TARRYN THOMAS (NORTH MELBOURNE)
2021 Games: 21 2021 Rating Points: 12.4 2022 Games: 8 2022 Rating Points: 6.6 Change -47%
Primed for a big breakout season as arguably North Melbourne’s most promising young gun, it hasn’t yet panned out that way for Thomas. Young players can sometimes build form off strong finishes to seasons, but the 22-year old Thomas has struggled to back up his brilliant run in the second half of the 2021 campaign when he averaged 20.4 disposals, 3.9 tackles and 1.2 goals from Rounds 10-23. This year he’s gone at 13.3 touches from eight games and kicked just two goals. Of course, Thomas missed three games earlier this year due to a brutal collision, but his drop off is reflective of the team’s struggles across the board compared to some of its promising performances in he back end of last season.
ROBBIE GRAY (PORT ADELAIDE)
2021 Games: 18 2021 Rating Points: 11.5 2022 Games: 8 2022 Rating Points: 7.7 Change -33%
The 34-year old has been as consistent as they come over his incredible 263-game career, but in 2022, hasn’t reached his epic heights of previous seasons. The out-of-contract veteran is still hitting the scoreboard (10 goals from eight games), but isn’t finding as much of the football (12.2 disposals per game) or generating as many inside 50s (career-low 1.2 per contest).
DYLAN GRIMES (RICHMOND)
2021 Games: 21 2021 Rating Points: 8.9 2022 Games: 7 2022 Rating Points: 6.1 Change -31%
Although Richmond inevitably plays better when its co-captain is marshalling its backline, Grimes has taken more of a back seat role in 2022 and played as more as a lockdown defender than in previous years. The 30-year old has averaged just 2.7 marks per game — his lowest return since his rookie season — while he’s taking less intercept marks (2.5 to 1.9) and getting fewer intercept possessions (7.6 to 6.6) compared to 2021. Grimes also missed three games earlier in the year due to a hamstring setback. Still a key pillar in defence, Grimes just hasn’t been as prolific as he’s been previously.
JIMMY WEBSTER (ST KILDA)
2021 Games: 20 2021 Rating Points: 7.3 2022 Games: 10 2022 Rating Points: 4 Change -45%
Credit to Webster for solidifying his spot in St Kilda’s best 22, playing all but one game. And it’s clearly smaller margins in evaluating his ratings drop — going from 7.3 last year to four. Alas, the defender isn’t finding as much of the footy as he has previously, averaging 14.1 disposals — his lowest return since 2016. It’s come as Webster’s intercept possessions are down from 5.1 last year to 2.9 in 2022, while his metres gained have dropped from 251 to 206. Not that anyone at the Saints would be complaining with how the fourth-placed club is travelling.
DANE RAMPE (SYDNEY SWANS)
2021 Games: 20 2021 Rating Points: 7.7 2022 Games: 11 2022 Rating Points: 5.3 Change -31%
The Swans co-captain and one-time All-Australian has built a reputation as one of the best defenders in the competition over the years, with his versatility and ability to impact games the other way key features. But the 32-year old has dropped right off in 2022, averaging career lows in disposals (11.4) and marks (4.2), while his 3.4 rebound 50s mark his lowest return since his rookie season. Rampe’s metres gained (395 to 252) and intercept possessions (5.7 to 3.6) are also down. It’s not quite the Rampe who’s had a big influence over the years and caused problems for opposition forwards in a variety of ways.
JOSH J. KENNEDY (WEST COAST EAGLES)
2021 Games: 18 2021 Rating Points: 10.1 2022 Games: 8 2022 Rating Points: 5.7 Change -44%
Now in the twilight of his decorated career, the 34-year old has set a very high standard to live up to, including a 41-goal season last year. But it’s fair to say the 1-10 Eagles need their champion forward up and firing in the second half of the season more than ever before to try and salvage something out of the club’s horror campaign to date. Widely tipped to call time on his AFL career at the end of the year, Kennedy quashed talk that he could retire mid-season as he remains committed to the cause, recently declaring his desire to play as many games as possible so long as his body holds up.
BAILEY WILLIAMS (WESTERN BULLDOGS)
2021 Games: 23 2021 Rating Points: 9.8 2022 Games: 10 2022 Rating Points: 6.6 Change -33%
Some sloppy mistakes in the club’s 2021 grand final loss seem to have carried into the new season, with Williams not quite playing with the same edge as he has previously. Another down performance against the Demons in Round 1 saw him get dropped to the medical sub the following week before then coming out of the side altogether. Although he’s since earned a reprieve, the emergence of Ed Richards across half back alongside Caleb Daniel and Bailey Dale has forced Luke Beveridge to experiment with Williams further up the ground, where he’s struggled to make an impact.