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Leppitsch on Rance

Ben Collins, AFL Media  December 5, 2017 12:26 PM

AFL 2017 Training - Richmond 041217

Alex Rance at pre-season training.

Richmond premiership hero Alex Rance is "in the conversation" for the best full-back of all time and still has three or four years left to further enhance his status, Tigers assistant coach Justin Leppitsch says.

Rance's back-half dominance has resulted in four successive All Australian selections, including the captaincy honour this year.

The 28-year-old has finished in the top two in Richmond's best and fairest in each of the past three seasons, winning the award in 2015.

The supremely athletic 175-gamer was one of the best players afield in the Tigers' drought-breaking Grand Final win over Adelaide this year.

Leppitsch's opinion of Rance carries significant weight given he was a star key defender himself, playing a key role in the Brisbane Lions' 2001-03 premierships.

His admiration for Rance is shared by Carlton legend Stephen Silvagni, who was selected at full-back in the AFL Team of the Century in 1996 ahead of Collingwood's 'Prince of Full-backs' Jack Regan, Carlton's Geoff Southby, North Melbourne's David Dench and Hawthorn's Kelvin Moore.

In more recent times, Geelong's Matthew Scarlett and Essendon's Dustin Fletcher have also been standouts.

"He's in that conversation, isn't he?" Leppitsch told Melbourne radio station SEN on Tuesday morning.

"It's always dangerous to compare … you're sort of comparing with a fine-tooth comb once you get to that level, and I think he's at that level.

"He's a four-time All Australian and he plays the modern game as well as anyone.

"You can only really play to your era and what your era provides, and in my era we didn't press up and down the field as much as they do nowadays, you sat back a bit more, whereas 'Rancey' has got that run to get up and back, which is a bit different to the (full-backs) of the past.

"Amongst his peers in this era he's definitely the best (full-back), no doubt, and he's in the conversation for the best of all time.

"He's an unbelievable, committed player.

"The beauty is he's still got three or four good years in front of him. That's the exciting part for Alex."