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Mitchell, Priddis primed to set records

Ben Collins  March 15, 2017 12:15 PM

West Coast champion Matt Priddis is set to break Lenny Hayes' tackle record this year

West Coast champion Matt Priddis is set to break Lenny Hayes' tackle record this year

West Coast Eagles Matt Priddis and Sam Mitchell head a bevy of stars who could achieve significant statistical milestones this season.

A number of the game's best players are in the box seat to break some landmark records:

• Prized West Coast recruit Mitchell could become the game's most prolific handballer, its clearance king and the most regular 30-possession winner.
• Eagle Matt Priddis is set to break the tackling record.
• St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt is on target to become the League's greatest mark-taker.
• Returning Gold Coast genius Ablett could finally claim the record for the most contested possessions.
• Swans superstar Franklin needs just 30 goals to become one of the top 10 goalkickers of all time.
• Brisbane Lions midfielder Tom Rockliff is closing in on the highest disposals average.

It's important to note the different times that certain statistical categories were first recorded – for the specifics of this exercise, the basics of kicks, marks, handballs (and therefore disposals) have been compiled since 1965; tackles since 1987, clearances since 1998, and contested possessions since 1999.

However, the game's evolution to a more defensive, high-possession style suggests that the highest tallies in these periods for handballs, tackles and possibly marks would each be all-time records.

Ex-Hawk Mitchell, 34, will eclipse Bulldogs great Scott West's probable all-time record if he can dish off a further 242 handballs – a huge possibility given that in his last two seasons at Hawthorn he tallied 374 and 309 handballs respectively. And, of course, he has been in terrific form in his first pre-season as an Eagle.

  MOST HANDBALLS: 1965-2016  
Handballs Player/Club Games Career
4093 Scott West (WB) 324
4008 Robert Harvey (StK)
Sam Mitchell (Haw/WC)
307 2002-
3781 Simon Black (BL) 322 1998-2013
Daniel Cross (WB/Melb)
249 2002-15

Mitchell is also just 15 clearances behind Brisbane Lions star Simon Black's benchmark of 1715, and is only three 30-disposal games away from surpassing St Kilda champion Robert Harvey, who broke the 30 barrier on 118 occasions. (Mitchell did it 10 times last year.)

The 2012 Brownlow medallist's new teammate Matt Priddis also has fast hands and holds the title for the highest handball average, his remarkable 15.87 being well clear of his nearest rival, new Sydney skipper Josh Kennedy (15.21).

Priddis also boasts the best tackle average with 6.69 – ahead of former North Melbourne captain Andrew Swallow (6.61) and returning Bomber Ben Howlett (6.22) – and in the early rounds is expected to overtake Saint Lenny Hayes' career tackling record.

  MOST TACKLES: 1897-2016  
Tackles Player/Club Games Career
1496 Lenny Hayes (StK) 297 1999-2014
1490 Jude Bolton (Syd)
325 1999-2013
Matt Priddis (WC)
219 2006-
1405 Scott Thompson (Melb/Adel) 307 2001-
Andrew Swallow (NM)
208 2006-

Riewoldt already holds records for both the most contested marks (a stat first recorded in 1999) and marks inside 50 (also 1999), and is now within striking distance of two other marking records, both held by Bulldogs and Kangaroos ruck great Gary Dempsey.

Riewoldt narrowly trails Dempsey, the 1975 Brownlow medallist, in both overall marks (2906 to 2819) and average marks per game (8.86 to 8.84).

  MOST MARKS: 1965-2016  
Marks Player/Club Games Career
2906 Gary Dempsey (WB/NM) 328
2819 Nick Riewoldt (StK)
Stewart Loewe (StK)
321 1986-2002
2270 Matthew Richardson (Rich) 282 1993-2009

The former St Kilda skipper, who last year hauled in a competition-high 222 marks, is more than 1000 clear of the next-best current player, ex-teammate Brendon Goddard, now at Essendon.

If dual Brownlow medallist Ablett can arrest the injury issues that have restricted him to just 35 games over the past three season, he'd certainly accumulate the 200 contested possessions he requires to pass Black's record.

Contested Possessions Player/Club Games Career
3523 Simon Black (BL) 313
3324 Gary Ablett (Geel/GC)
Chris Judd (WC/Carl)
279 2002-15
3181 Sam Mitchell (Haw/WC) 307 2002-
Scott Thompson (Melb/Adel)
307 2001-

Former Lions skipper Rockliff is challenging renowned ball-magnets Dane Swan and Greg Williams with his sheer possession numbers and will surge past that irrepressible pair if he continues his recent productivity.

Young Magpie Adam Treloar also has great scope to rise up these rankings given he's probably yet to reach his peak.

Minimum 50 games Ave. Player/Club Games Career
26.88 Greg WiIliams (Geel/Syd/Carl) 250
26.85 Dane Swan (Coll)
Tom Rockliff (BL)
134 2009-
26.62 Bob Skilton (Swans) 98* 1956-71
Sam Mitchell (Haw/WC)
307 2002-
26.36 Adam Treloar (GWS/Coll) 101 2012-

Another stats star is Fremantle giant Aaron Sandilands who, despite his recent injury issues, has easily amassed the most hit-outs since they were first compiled in 1966, his 7468 taps being almost 2000 clear of his closest current rival in North Melbourne's Todd Goldstein.