Inside 50: AFL premiers might be the team drawing most from players 17-22 | JP Howcroft

With five teams jockeying for top spot in the lead-up to the finals, this eason’s AFL premiership may well go to the team with the greatest depth in their 22

I’ve always been drawn to Paul Roos’ logic that it’s the bottom end of a list that decides finals, not the top. September can be as much about avoiding losing as it is winning – and not succumbing to the added pressure of the occasion while retaining a clarity of thought in the most extreme circumstances. It’s a factor arguably more relevant this season with the manic intensity of the modern game placing such a premium on decision-making and the execution of skills under duress.

The top five (can we all agree we’re down to five contenders?) could end the home and away season separated only by percentage. Cases for flag favouritism can be made for all five, but it’s more volatile than recent seasons when a dominant side or two have emerged by this part of winter. Success will depend on myriad factors, including ladder position, finals match-ups, home ground advantage, form, fitness, and much more besides. Selections 17 to 22 on match day should be included on this list.

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