Well the footy season is in full swing and with finals just around the corner, it’s time to round up the top players to look out for as we reach the pointy end of the season. Whether they’ve been playing for years or are fresh on the scene, the talent on the field this year is pretty epic. Here’s our list of the players we think we’ll make an impact this finals season.

Nic Naitanui, West Coast

Not only is Naitanui sitting at the top of the AFL ratings with 594 points by early August, he’s also known on the field as one of the fairest players on the field. He’s received the John Worsfold Medal and held a spot on the All-Australian team, all the while staying loyal to the West Coast Eagles throughout his career. Come finals, watch closely as Nic Nat steps it up a notch. The finals bring out a whole new side of the big man, and we can’t wait to see what tricks he’s got up his sleeve going into September.

Lachie Neale, Brisbane

Winner of the 2020 Brownlow Medal, Neale was always going to make our list of players to look out for come finals. Having led the AFL in disposals (511) and contested possessions (237) in 2020, he was the star midfielder last year and has been shining bright this season. With the Lions sitting in the top 8 as of early August, there’s still time to creep to the top of the ladder. You can expect Neale to turn it on, particularly as we head into the last few games of the season, if playing in finals is on the line.

Tom Hawkins, Geelong

Sitting as the AFL’s top key forward, Hawkins signed a 2 year contract to bring him up to 16 seasons with the Cats. He’s leading the way in pretty much every stat in the competition and there’s no sign of him stopping. He’s strong, reliable and an all around great player on one of the best teams of the season. We’ve been a fan for years and love watching Hawkins dominate the field.

Marcus Bontempelli, Bulldogs

With the Doggies at the top of the ladder (at the time of writing this), it’s no wonder their fearless leader makes the list. Last year he made All-Australian (for the third time) and came in as runner-up in the best and fairest, and with good reason. Bontempelli has won 3 Charles Sutton Medals, making him the youngest multiple-winner in Club history. At 26 years old, that’s a pretty big deal. The big question is, can the Bulldogs come out on top in the 2021 season?

Max Gawn, Melbourne

Towering high at 208cm, and with a solid build to match (108kg), Gawn is a unit not to be messed with. As captain of Melbourne, he made the All-Australian team 4 times and might possibly be the best ruckman yet. Ranked number 1 in the AFL for hit-outs and hit-outs to advantage, this captain is leading his team to great heights with Melbourne sitting in the top 5.  Yet to win a premiership, Gawn is in his prime going into finals this year, with the star power around him in the midfield with the likes of Petracca and Oliver, will this be the year they do it? 

To be honest, the AFL is so jam-packed with epic players this season, it’s hard to narrow down our faves. It’s too soon to tell which team will come out on top, but be sure to check in as we cover the 2021 Finals Season as it unfolds. And, as always, footy is best watched at your local, live and loud.