The quirky and unusual stats of the 2020 AFL season

We all know Cats spearhead Tom Hawkins kicked more goals than any other player during the 2020 home and away season. We also know Port Adelaide became just the third team in history to finish every round on top of the AFL ladder.

But what about some of the stats and facts which aren't common knowledge? What about the numbers which don't make the TV broadcasts?

With help from Champion Data, we've dived deep into the footy databases to find some of the quirky, unusual and under-the-radar stats from 2020. Enjoy!


Who has kicked the most goals from outside 50m?

The Tomahawk kicked 42 majors for the Cats to land his first Coleman Medal, but he didn't kick the most long-range goals this season.

Instead, Christian Petracca and Jack Gunston, who each kicked five goals from outside the 50m arc, tied for this honour. Petracca kicked 15 goals in what was a breakout season, which means one in three were from at least 50m out.


Who has kicked the most goals from within 15m of goal?

So we now know who has been the most effective from long range, but what about those who are lethal closer to goal?

Well, little surprise Hawkins tops this list with nine majors from within 15m of the big sticks but alongside him is Saints goalsneak Dan Butler.

Butler actually kicked more goals in that 0-15m range in this shortened season than he managed from anywhere on the ground last year. St Kilda has done very well indeed.


Who is the competition's best tackle evader?

Ask anyone who the best player at avoiding tackles is and you're likely to hear 'Dustin Martin' as the answer.

But the stats say it's not Dusty. The Richmond superstar had just one baulk -- sidestepping and getting around a potential tackler -- for the whole season.

The answer is actually young Sun Jack Bowes. There were 12 occasions in 2020 where Bowes successfully beat a tackler, leading the league in this area.


Who has given away the most 50m penalties?

Ah, footy's bad boys. These are the players who more often than not are copping a glare from their coach.

There were three players who each gave away a league-leading (if you can actually call it that!) four 50m penalties in 2020 - Sun Brandon Ellis, Demon Jake Melksham and Docker Jesse Hogan.

However, we can comfortably say Hogan deserves the biggest spray of the trio.

Melksham played every game this season, while Ellis missed only one. Hogan, on the other hand, featured just seven times, meaning he conceded a 50m penalty basically every seven-and-a-bit quarters. Justin Longmuir cannot be pleased with those numbers!


Who has had the most effective metres gained?

We all speak about metres gained ad nauseam but they're not very useful if the ball is turned over.

Instead, we should be focusing on the effective version of the distance gained by a player.

Metres gained: Breaking down footy's most misunderstood stat

Topping the pile in 2020 is Jayden Short. The Tiger has gained a staggering 6,440 effective metres over the course of the season, almost 379 per game. Rankings second in this area is gun Dockers defender Luke Ryan with 5,764m, while Sydney's Jake Lloyd comes in third with a total of 5,634m.


Who forced the opposition into the most turnovers?

Aussie Rules is a turnover game, so having players who can force them is extremely valuable.

One Brisbane midfielder finished the season as the best in the competition at creating turnovers. A clue: it wasn't Brownlow Medal favourite Lachie Neale or skipper Dayne Zorko.

That's right, it was Jarryd Lyons. The former Sun and Crow forced 73 turnovers -- more than four per game -- from his elite pressure around the ball. No player in the competition did it better in 2020.

Interestingly, Zorko ranks second with 68 forced turnovers. Demons pair Clayton Oliver and Petracca tied for third with 64 each.


Who is the best at defending one-on-ones?

The competition is blessed with some elite defenders. Harris Andrews, Jeremy McGovern, Steven May and Darcy Moore, to name a few. But none of them can claim the title of the best one-on-one defender.

That honour goes to Carlton's Liam Jones.

Of the top 50 players to contest one-on-ones, Jones lost the fewest - just 8 percent. This year, the Blues defender engaged in 88 one-on-one battles and won or halved 81 of those.

The next best in this category was Jake Lever who lost four of his 35 one-on-ones, for a loss rate of 11 percent.


Who hit the post most in 2020?

The player to strike the post most often was Hawkins, who struck the woodwork seven times over the course of the season.

But which team hit the post most? That would be Brisbane.

The Lions have had 19 posters so far this year, more than one per game. Not only that but Chris Fagan's team leads the league in out-on-the-fulls. A little bit of tidying up and this side could go all the way this October.


Who came to the interchange bench the most?

It might surprise many that a real Brownlow Medal fancy is the most interchanged player of the 2020 season.

Port Adelaide star Travis Boak has come from the ground 116 times this year. That's an average of almost seven interchanges per game! There were actually four games where Boak was interchanged a staggering eight times.

The second most interchanged player in 2020 was Crows ball-magnet Matt Crouch, who came off 112 times over the course of the season.

Despite spending so much time on the pine, it hasn't hurt either player's output, particularly Boak. The Power midfielder has enjoyed a career best season and few would be surprised to see him take home Charlie in a couple of weeks.


Who won the first disposal of a match most often?

Patrick Dangerfield? Nope. Lachie Neale? Nope. Nat Fyfe? Guess again.

It's actually Gold Coast's Hugh Greenwood. Out of his 17 games in 2020, Greenwood won the first disposal in six of them to lead all comers.

But a special shoutout has to go to Power ruckman Scott Lycett who collected the first disposal of a game five times, from just 13 appearances. Very impressive.