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Gray polls top ten in AFL Players' annual rankings

Matthew Agius  March 16, 2015 11:55 AM

Robbie Gray sits at No. 10 in the AFL Players' Top 50.

Robbie Gray sits at No. 10 in the AFL Players' Top 50.

ROBBIE Gray has polled tenth in the AFL Players’ top 50, further highlighting his swift rise among the competition’s elite.

It follows Chad Wingard ranking in the top 40 for the second consecutive year.

Surprisingly, AFL.com.au - which compiled the top 50 along with the players’ association – lamented Gray’s “inconsistency” as a “glaring weakness”, despite the 26-year-old playing in all of the Power’s 22 home-and-away games and three finals last season.

Gray also led the competition in goal assists, bagged his first All-Australian selection, romped home in the Power’s best and fairest count and was crowned the AFL Coaches’ champion player of the year.

If anything has held back the East Burwood product, it has surely been his difficult run with injuries.

Limited by a hamstring in 2010, he worked hard as the Power’s best forward in 2011 despite the club’s worst season in the league.

His 2012 campaign was shaping to be a breakout year before a freak knee injury against Collingwood in Round 4 saw him spend the following 12 months in rehab.

He returned 364 days after that injury, and slowly salvaged a good 2013 season that saw him poll in the top twelve of the Power’s best and fairest.

But it was his 2014 performance that really made the football world stand up and take notice.

Crafting himself into an exciting small forward-cum-regular midfielder, Gray’s evasive, cool-headed style in pressure-packed situations became a trademark, and he was undoubtedly the Power’s best player for the year.

His incredible four-goal performance against Fremantle in the Power’s semi final remains one of the club’s best individual efforts from last season.

But despite his individual brilliance in 2014, Gray remains the consummate team man.

To him, 22 players produce a winning result – not one.

“It’s the most consistent footy I’ve played, but as a group we had a fantastic year and there were a number of guys who played really good footy, that took the pressure off me a bit,” Gray said after the 2014 season.

“The main thing is the group keeps playing good footy.”

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Port Adelaide skipper Travis Boak, himself yet to poll in the top 50, was full of praise for Gray at the end of last year, and is excited about what his fellow 2006 draftee can bring to the field this season.

Already, Gray has shown he hasn’t lost his trademark touch, winning 28 touches and booting three goals in the Power’s first NAB Challenge hit out against West Coast.

“It’s exciting for our club to have him as part of our group, and knowing he’s still got plenty to give,” Boak said after last season.

“I think he’s still got plenty of work to do, and he knows he’s got plenty of work to do, and that’s scary, because we know what he produced [in 2014].”