Tatura icon John ‘‘JR’’ Ryan has put in the hard yards again this year to bring his Goulburn Valley League Top 50 into the public eye once more.
Ryan has been diligently collating information from across the region in order to slot the best 50 players in the competition into their rightful spots on the list.
Like the countless top 50s which have been produced by Ryan before, this edition is selected on current form, not perceived reputation.
The list is a veritable who’s who of the stars of the GVL, with almost all of the biggest names in the area included — although there are a few surprise packets and rising stars in the mix.
In somewhat of a rarity, the pair of guns who were named numbers one and two in last year’s early-season top 50 have taken out the quinella again.
Seymour’s Jason Cole holds the number one tag once more, followed closely by Euroa’s JD Hayes.
But Ryan stressed that Benalla’s Sam Martyn (number three) and Kyabram’s Lachie Smith (four) could have easily usurped the top duo.
‘‘I tossed up between the whole top four,’’ Ryan said.
‘‘I had Smith, Martyn, Cole and Hayes in the number one spot at stages, it was always going to be one of those four.
‘‘Cole has played six games and been in the best six times and really he just becomes a walk up start for number one with that form.
‘‘JD is also a fantastic player.’’
Echuca’s Andrew Walker, Mansfield’s Brett Mahoney and Rochester’s Nathan Marrone all slot into the list ahead of reigning back-to-back Morrison medallist Simon Buckley at number eight.
‘‘Buckley would have been a big chance for the number one spot, but he’s been injured a bit and missed a few games,’’ Ryan said.
Kyabram’s Liam Ogden is next in line at number nine, a player Ryan rates highly.
‘‘Some people might get a bit of a shock to see Ogden at nine,’’ Ryan said.
‘‘But I think he’s the most under-rated player in the league, and I’m amazed he’s not playing interleague this weekend.’’
Rounding out the top 10 is Benalla’s David Mennen.
Ryan has given a nod to the veterans of the region with ageless Tatura warrior Linc Wellington at 27, but on the flip side has spruiked the potential of young troops like Echuca’s Angus Byrne (39) and Mitch Kemp (49), Benalla’s Jamie Dunne (32) and Seymour’s Billy Cox (50).
One star that seems to have slipped down Ryan’s radar is Shepparton’s Nik Rokahr at 29, but he has a simple reason for the midfielder’s slow start to the year.
‘‘My personal thoughts on that are that blokes who go up and play in Darwin I think come back very tired,’’ Ryan said.
‘‘I don’t think you can play footy 12 months of the year.’’
All in all this top 50 was the hardest for Ryan to compile — something he feels is not a great sign for the league.
‘‘I would say that this top 50, with the standard of footy at the moment, was the hardest I’ve had to do without a shadow of a doubt,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s not a knock on the blokes in it, but the overall standard of the league has slipped dramatically and it makes it very hard to pick.
‘‘I think by the end of the year when I do the next one there could be 20-25 changes.’’
FROM 11 to 50
11. Sam Sheldon (Kyabram)
12. Ash Holland (Shepparton)
13. Tom Holman (Kyabram)
14. James Flaherty (Rochester)
15. Ben Clifton (Seymour)
16. Liam Barrett (Kyabram)
17. Brandyn Grenfell (Tatura)
18. Kayne Pettifer (Kyabram)
19. Brad Ryan (Tatura)
20. Steven Stroobants (Rochester)
21. Patrick Wearden (Kyabram)
22. Nathan McCarty (Rochester)
23. Tom German (Mansfield)
24. Luke Morgan (Benalla)
25. James Gledhill (Rochester)
26. Jimmy Herridge (Mansfield)
27. Linc Wellington (Tatura)
28. Max Gleeson (Euroa)
29. Nik Rokahr (Shepparton)
30. Luke Morris (Kyabram)
31. Tom Miller (Tatura)
32. Jamie Dunne (Benalla)
33. Brad Mangan (Kyabram)
34. Dan Willis (Echuca)
35. Jacob Gleeson (Euroa)
36. James Martyn (Benalla)
37. Lachie Watson (Rochester)
38. Marcus Varley (Euroa)
39. Angus Byrne (Echuca)
40. Mick Mattingly (Kyabram)
41. Jamason Daniels (Tatura)
42. Kyle Winter-Irving (Seymour)
43. Matt Ryan (Tatura)
44. Jason Morgan (Kyabram)
45. Nick Warnock (Benalla)
46. Shane Neaves (Shepparton United)
47. Will McFarlane (Euroa)
48. Mitch Brett (Shepparton)
49. Mitch Kemp (Echuca)
50. Billy Cox (Seymour)