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Tigers prolific in top 50 list

Training highlights: Rance Watch Alex Rance out on the track during the Tigers' 2016 pre-season.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Alex Rance of the Tigers in action during the 2016 NAB Challenge match between the Richmond Tigers and Port Adelaide Power at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on March 10, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Alex Rance was Richmond's highest-placed player in the AFL Players' Top 50

Five Tiger top guns have made the annual ‘AFL Players’ Top 50’ list.

Players from all 18 league clubs were presented with the challenge of ranking the competition’s best current performers in the lead-up to the 2016 season.

When the votes were tallied, five Richmond players appeared in the top 50 – Alex Rance being the highest-ranked Tiger at pick 19, Dustin Martin at pick 20, Trent Cotchin at pick 22, Brett Deledio at pick 40 and Jack Riewoldt at pick 47.

Here are the profiles on each of the five Tigers who feature in the AFL Players’ Top 50 . . .

19. Alex Rance
Richmond
Defender
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 30
Debut: 2009
Games: 130
AFL Fantasy value: $393,000

Regarded as the best key defender in the AFL after his second consecutive All-Australian season. Following a drawn-out contract saga, the West Australian re-signed and went on to win his first Jack Dyer Medal by a significant margin. Capable of both rebounding and locking down on the opposition’s best key forward, Rance was the Tigers' most consistent performer in big games. He burst into the top 50 after missing out last year, but looks set to stay on the list for years to come.

20. Dustin Martin
Richmond
Midfielder
Last year's ranking: 39
Official AFL Player Rating: 49
Debut: 2010
Games: 131
AFL Fantasy value: $573,000

After a slow start to 2015, the explosive midfielder started firing and rounded out his finest season with a second placing in the (Richmond) Best and Fairest, and a rise of 19 spots on the player ratings list. Continues to mature and has the ability to be among the best players in the competition. His average disposals, clearances, inside-50s and tackles all lifted to career-high levels last season and he remained an unstoppable opponent in attack with 24 goals. The sky is the limit for Martin in 2016.

22. Trent Cotchin
Richmond
Midfielder
Last year's ranking: 13
Official AFL Player Rating: 73
Debut: 2008
Games: 153
AFL Fantasy value: $506,000

A major reason the Tigers pushed to the edge of the top four last year, the captain grew as a leader and was inspirational in some games. One of the game's top midfielders, he lifted his inside game and led the Tigers with 271 contested possessions and ranked No.2 for clearances (112). Still, it wasn't his most consistent season and he will benefit from more midfield support this season. He will be desperate to atone for a quiet elimination final against North Melbourne and lead the Tigers back into September.

40. Brett Deledio
Richmond
Midfielder
Last year's ranking: 49
Official AFL Player Rating: 23
Debut: 2005
Games: 232
AFL Fantasy value: $530,000 

Had a massive impact last season and was named All Australian for the second time despite missing five games through injury and suspension. Richmond's vice-captain missed four games between rounds two and five, with the Tigers winning just one of those, highlighting his incredible value to the team. The players recognised his importance to Richmond by moving him up nine spots on the list. Deledio went on to kick 27 goals and averaged 21 possessions and was arguably the Tigers' most valuable player, standing up in big games, including four goals in the brilliant win against Hawthorn in Round 18. After managing a calf injury through the pre-season, Deledio will hope to keep the problem under control to maintain his streak of having played at least 18 games every season since he was drafted in 2004.

47. Jack Riewoldt
Richmond
Forward
Last year's ranking: -
Official AFL Player Rating: 46
Debut: 2007
Games: 180
AFL Fantasy value: $429,000

The Club's leading goalkicker for the sixth successive season, Riewoldt continued to mature into a fine leader in 2015. Playing a tweaked role further up the ground, he took more marks (144), won more uncontested possessions (166) and had more inside-50s (75) than in any of his previous eight seasons. His ability to play that role, but still kick 54 goals, saw him rewarded with his first All- Australian selection since 2010. Underwent minor shoulder surgery in the off-season, but was still able to enjoy a full pre-season. Riewoldt started 2016 with a bang in an excellent performance against Hawthorn in the NAB Challenge and will look to keep that form up throughout the year.