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Beams ranked Players' Top 26

AFL Media  March 9, 2018 2:47 PM

 - Dayne Beams,Brisbane Lions

Ahead of the 2018 season, AFL Media will be ranking the top 50 players in the competition starting from 50-21.

Coming in at number 26 is Lions' Skipper Dayne Beams

Recovered from surgey and performing well through pre-season, Lions fans can look forward to a big year from the Captain.

50. Nic Naitanui

West Coast
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 292
Debut: 2009
Games: 146
AFL Fantasy value: $417,000

It's been a long time since the West Coast ruckman has been seen. His absence stretches back to round 22, 2016, when he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Despite the long layoff, it's hard to forget what the big man offers at his best. Naitanui is one of the most exciting players in the competition and will make the Eagles' midfield far more dangerous if he can return to his peak.

49. Rory Laird

Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 78
Debut: 2013
Games: 101
AFL Fantasy value: $707,000

The Adelaide backman was underrated for a period but has won over the respect of the competition after earning a reputation as a prolific ball-winner. He finished third in last year's best and fairest as the Crows made the Grand Final and only once did he pick up fewer than 20 disposals. After consecutive years of making the squad, Laird was recognised in the Virgin Australia AFL All Australian team for the first time last season.

48. Ollie Wines

Port Adelaide
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 33
Debut: 2013
Games: 107
AFL Fantasy value: $703,000

There's so much speculation about where the 23-year-old will play after his contract expires at the end of this season because of the traits he has shown. Wines entered the AFL with a man's body and has shown he is as tough as they come, and will be highly sought after if Port can't lock him in beyond 2018. For all the talk about the Power's recruits, Wines will continue to be one of their most important players.

47. Adam Treloar

Last year's ranking: 40
Official AFL Player Rating: 9
Debut: 2012
Games: 122
AFL Fantasy value: $761,000

One of the more consistent players in the competition, Treloar's lowest disposal count last year was 21. The Magpies haven't had a lot of recent success but their midfield is full of stars and Treloar is one of their best. His kicking sometimes comes under criticism but the former Giant can be relied upon to run hard all game long.

46. Steele Sidebottom

Last year's ranking: 39
Official AFL Player Rating: 55
Debut: 2009
Games: 185
AFL Fantasy value: $745,000

Another Magpie jet who runs through the middle. Sidebottom is close to the fittest player at the club and can deliver the ball on either side of his body. After winning his maiden best and fairest last year, Sidebottom can go to another level by playing more in attack and kicking more goals, as he did in 2011, when he averaged a goal per game.

45. Shaun Higgins

North Melbourne
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 127
Debut: 2006
Games: 183
AFL Fantasy value: $665,000

Injuries plagued Higgins for much of his time at the Western Bulldogs but his body has proven much more durable at North, and he was rewarded with the Syd Barker Medal last year. The classy midfielder can hit the scoreboard and offers a different option to many of the in-and-under types at the Kangaroos. It's a sign of faith by the club that it recently re-signed Higgins until the end of 2020.

44. Tom Scully

Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 84
Debut: 2010
Games: 151
AFL Fantasy value: $576,000

Scully is as impressive as anyone in the AFL when it comes to being able to cover kilometres. He has shown over several years that no one can match him as a midfielder covering territory and the left-footer can consistently produce huge efforts, running both ways. The former Demon has been nominated for the All Australian squad over the past two seasons.

43. Seb Ross

St Kilda
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 59
Debut: 2012
Games: 81
AFL Fantasy value: $718,000

The onballer took his game to the next level in 2017 and was a runaway winner of St Kilda's best and fairest. He can be assigned a variety of jobs, whether that involves winning the football himself or stopping an opposition player. The left-footer runs hard, rarely fumbles and can be relied upon to deliver the football accurately.

42. Dane Rampe

Sydney Swans
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 117
Debut: 2013
Games: 115
AFL Fantasy value: $470,000

It's not a coincidence Sydney started slowly last season while Rampe nursed a broken arm. He has become perhaps the Swans' most important defender, because he can stop an opponent while providing rebound. The Rampe story is all the more remarkable considering he was originally picked up as a rookie in 2013.

41. Steven May

Gold Coast
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 93
Debut: 2011
Games: 106
AFL Fantasy value: $545,000

30. Callan Ward

Last year's ranking: 22
Official AFL Player Rating: 28
Debut: 2008
Games: 192
AFL Fantasy value: $659,000

Greater Western Sydney's co-captain (along with Phil Davis) adds hardness to a midfield loaded with talent. Few attack the contest harder than Ward and he tackles with intensity. A durable player, he has notched at least 20 games every season since 2011 and has finished in the top-three of the club's best and fairest in five of the past six seasons.

29. Matt Crouch

Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 27
Debut: 2014
Games: 72
AFL Fantasy value: $752,000

Crouch was the only Adelaide midfielder to make the All Australian team last year, which says a fair bit about the left-footer's rise to prominence. Crouch's kicking has improved from his early days and he ranked No.2 for disposals in the AFL last year, second to Hawthorn's Tom Mitchell.

28. Cyril Rioli

Last year's ranking: 18
Official AFL Player Rating: 125
Debut: 2008
Games: 185
AFL Fantasy value: $543,000

It's been a tumultuous 12 months for the premiership hero. A left knee injury ruined his 2017 season, while Rioli missed a chunk of the pre-season to spend time with his ill father in the Northern Territory. He deserves to be backed in to have a great season because of what he has achieved and at his best, Rioli is close to the most electric player in the competition.

27. Patrick Cripps

Last year's ranking: 32
Official AFL Player Rating: 30
Debut: 2014
Games: 59
AFL Fantasy value: $692,000

The big-bodied onballer did not deliver on the high expectations placed on him last year but is set to go to another level in 2018. A broken leg suffered in round 16 ended his 2017 season prematurely. At 195cm, Cripps is almost unstoppable at stoppages and has shown in the JLT Community Series he can take marks and have an impact up forward. Cripps is just 22, so there should be plenty of improvement left in him yet.

26. Dayne Beams

Last year's ranking: 46
Official AFL Player Rating: 271
Debut: 2009
Games: 147
AFL Fantasy value: $736,000

Playing in Brisbane keeps Beams out of the limelight but he constantly helps carry the Lions' midfield. The captain can win the football, deliver it well and hit the scoreboard. With another year of development into the club's young on-ball brigade, Beams should have more support and be able to thrive.

AFL 2017 Round 09 - Brisbane v Adelaide

25. Max Gawn

Last year's ranking: 17
Official AFL Player Rating: 17
Debut: 2011
Games: 74
AFL Fantasy value: $605,000

It will be a slimmer Gawn who takes to the field in 2018 and his weight loss should help him cover the ground even better. The big man dealt with a serious hamstring injury last year but in 2016 was widely considered the premier ruckman in the AFL, so Gawn will be keen to reclaim that crown.

24. Luke Parker

Last year's ranking: 26
Official AFL Player Rating: 16
Debut: 2011
Games: 151
AFL Fantasy value: $693,000

The 25-year-old's since being drafted at No.40 in 2010 are impressive. He has twice been named best and fairest at the Swans and was a member of their 2012 premiership. Few thrive at contests as much as Parker and that attribute, along with his impressive aerial abilities, could be used up forward more often this season.

23. Trent Cotchin

Last year's ranking: 9
Official AFL Player Rating: 15
Debut: 2008
Games: 198
AFL Fantasy value: $673,000

There have been doubts around how good the Richmond captain is but he dispelled those last year, adding premiership captain to his list of accolades, alongside the 2012 Brownlow Medal. Cotchin's physicality in the finals set the standard for the Tigers and they followed his example. If he spends more time in attack as has been mooted, averaging a goal a game is conceivable.

22. Dylan Shiel

Last year's ranking: 48
Official AFL Player Rating: 25
Debut: 2012
Games: 112
AFL Fantasy value: $666,000

Earned his maiden All Australian berth last year and it was not hard to see why. Shiel averaged 26 disposals and six clearances last season. His large frame is an asset in congestion but he can also explode away from the contest, and he's an integral part of one of the most dangerous midfields in the competition.

21. Toby Greene

Last year's ranking: 24
Official AFL Player Rating: 14
Debut: 2012
Games: 117
AFL Fantasy value: $644,000

Toby Greene has always been a prodigious talent, but he's now rightly regarded as one of the competition's best players. Gone is the carefree onballer chasing kicks, with Greene now a match-winning forward who has become Greater Western Sydney's most important player and one of its biggest stars. Given his numbers over the past two years, it's little wonder the 24-year-old was this week given a six-year contract extension by the Giants. And it's no surprise that he's been recognised by his peers as an AFL star.