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Jonathan Brown, king of the centre half-forwards, but who else is in Wayne Carey's top five?

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Two-time AFL premiership captain

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Wayne Carey's top five: Jonathan Brown, Lance Franklin, Matthew Richardson, Warren Tredrea and Nick Riewoldt.

Wayne Carey's top five: Jonathan Brown, Lance Franklin, Matthew Richardson, Warren Tredrea and Nick Riewoldt.

Footy fans were robbed of one of the true champions this week. Jonathan Brown wasn't just one of the AFL's most decorated players, he was also one of the most loved.

His fearlessness, courage, work ethic and never-say-die attitude made him one of the AFL's most admired leaders and also helped him become one of the greatest centre-half-forwards the game has seen.

It's long been said that centre-half-forward is the most difficult position to play in footy and Browny made it his own.

The Lions' triple-premiership dynasty has been well documented and while Browny played a key role in that three-peat, it was his dominance as a key forward that yielded Brisbane success for many more years to come. They may not have won a premiership since, but they've rarely been anything but competitive. That's Browny's influence.

The very best teams have gun centre-half-forwards and the very best of those players share similar qualities. Not only are they sheer brutes when it comes to their size, but they're also amazing athletes, with huge tanks and a thirst for work.

While it seems to have taken a while, modern footy seems to be welcoming a return of the key forward and Browny would no doubt have been an inspiration to all.

I'm really looking forward to watching the progress of blokes like the Giants' Jeremy Cameron and Jonathon Patton. They've already showed glimpses of form, and teammate Tom Boyd is another to watch.

Then there's Tex Walker at Adelaide and even Jesse Hogan from Melbourne, who we haven't seen a lot of. From all reports, he also has what it takes.

If any of those players go about their business the way Browny did, then they'll go far.

So just where does Browny sit among the greats? Ranking him is no mean feat, but I believe that he’s the best centre-half-forward we’ve seen since the turn of the millennium. Here’s my top five since 2000:

1. Jonathan Brown, Brisbane Lions

Matches 256 

Average Disposals 14.4

Marks 7.1

Marks inside-50 3.0

Score involvements 6.5

Score assists 0.9

Goals average 2.3

Total goals 594

Honours: 3 premierships (2001-03), 3 best & fairests (2007-09), 5 x leading Lions goalkicker (2007, `09, `10, `12, `13), 2 times All-Australian (2007, ’09), captain 2009-12, co-captain 2007-08, 2013  

Browny was the complete package. While his courage stands out, he was also an unbelievably good pack mark, he kicked goals when they were needed most and his endurance and athleticism were outstanding for a 100 kilogram-plus bloke. 

The other string to his bow was that, for such a huge man, he was really good below his knees. For that reason Leigh Matthews often moved him into the centre to give the Lions something else. 

The battering that he copped, coupled with suspensions (16 games between 2001 and `13), meant he struggled to get continuity in his career, but at his best, Browny was without peer.

2. Nick Riewoldt, St Kilda

Matches 272 

Disposals 16.3

Marks 8.6

Marks inside-50 3.2

Score involvements 7.5

Score assists 1.2

Goals average 2.2

Total goals 603

Honours: 5 best & fairests, 3 x leading goalkicker, 4 x All-Australian, Rising Star 2002, AFLPA MVP 2004, captain since 2008

Riewoldt’s evolution as a centre half-forward is easily the most remarkable of the modern era. He has transformed from a Brown-like forward who took really strong pack marks, to a gut-running lead-up forward who would be taking more uncontested marks now than when he started his career. 

He simply burns his rivals into the ground. At times he’s lacked accuracy and penetration with his kicking, but that has returned. His form earlier this year was amazing. Probably not as good as Brown below his knees, but the way in which he goes about his marking - taking the ball at its highest point - makes him an incredibly difficult proposition for defenders. 

3. Matthew Richardson, Richmond

Matches  282 

Disposals 14.9

Marks 8.6

Marks inside-50 3.8

Score involvements 7.8

Score assists 0.7

Goals average 2.8

Total goals 800

Honours: 1 best & fairest, 13 x leading club goalkicker, 3 x All Australian, AFL Hall of Fame

People often forget that Richo booted 800 goals. It’s an amazing figure and if Brown and Riewoldt had his measure in certain aspects of their games, then Richo had them for his rare athletic ability. 

This recent inductee into the Hall of Fame was a machine. For a guy who was about 198 centimetres and weighed more than 100 kilograms,  he just took his fitness to another level. He also had genuine speed. 

That ability to cover the ground made him incredibly difficult to match up on. He was sometimes maligned for his accuracy in front of the sticks, but he was the sort of guy who could have booted 20 goals in a match. He just got so much of the ball. He finished his career on the wing, which just goes to show how good an athlete he was.

4. Warren Tredrea, Port Adelaide

Matches  255 

Disposals 14.6

Marks 7.1

Marks inside-50 2.8

Score Involvements 7.6

Score assists 0.9

Goals average 2.2

Total goals 549

Honours: 1 x premiership, 4 x best & fairest, 8 x leading goalkicker, 4 x All-Australian, 3 years captain, AFL Hall of Fame

Like Brown and in the same era, Tredrea was able to do everything. A strong mark, he was the focal point of Port’s game plan, was a four-time All-Australian, a premiership player and incredibly good on his opposite side. Being so accomplished on his left foot added another dimension to his game, making him less predictable to opponents. He was a great decision-maker and user of the ball.

5. Lance Franklin, Sydney

Matches 194 

Disposals 15.2

Marks 5.5

Marks inside-50 3.0

Score involvements 8.3

Score assists 1.0

Goals average 3.2

Total goals 615

Honours: 2 x premierships, 1 x best & fairest, 6 x leading goalkicker, 2 x Coleman medallist, 4 x All-Australian 

Franklin isn’t like any of the other players I’ve mentioned. In fact, he’s a rare species when it comes to centre half-forwards. He’s not nearly as good at marking the ball, though that area of his game is improving. His kicking, at times, also lets him down, but he’s such a freak athlete that not only does he get away with any deficiencies, he hurts opposition teams. 

He is almost impossible to match up on. He’s super-quick, is very good below his knees and has the endurance to match, if not surpass Richo. Throw in his ability to turn players inside out and his relatively young age (27), Franklin will be a force to be reckoned with for some time.

So there you have it, two Hall of Famers in my top five and the other three will join them soon enough. What they all had, and have, in common is a desire for hard work and a competitive instinct. They were rarely beaten.

HuffPost Australia

AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 108vs NTH 67 Report Stats
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE ($2.20)vs ADE ($1.67) 13:05SS
BRI ($4.25)vs WBU ($1.22) 13:45G
PTA vs FRE 15:50Adelaide Oval
HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($17.00) 16:40MCG
SYD ($1.04)vs GCF ($11.00) 19:25SCG
WCE ($1.04)vs STK ($11.00) 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL ($2.40)vs GWS ($1.57) 13:10ES
COL ($1.28)vs ESS ($3.70) 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 21 17 4 0 125.10 68
West Coast Eagles 21 15 5 1 143.00 62
Hawthorn 21 15 6 0 156.77 60
Sydney Swans 21 15 6 0 124.11 60
Richmond 22 15 7 0 123.09 60
Western Bulldogs 21 14 7 0 116.76 56
Adelaide Crows 20 13 7 0 119.10 54
North Melbourne 22 13 9 0 106.45 52
View all
 

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