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Docherty breaks three records

Docherty proud of AA honours Carlton Media spoke to Sam Docherty after his inclusion in the Virgin Australia AFL All Australian team.

CARLTON'S task of replacing knee victim Sam Docherty next year has been further highlighted by the star defender's effort to claim a key statistical record last season.

Along with Docherty's leadership, composure and dash, the Blues will also desperately miss his precision kicking, with the 24-year-old delivering the most effective kicks in a home and away season since Champion Data first recorded the stat in 1999. (Unless otherwise specified, 1999 will be the starting point for all records in this story.)

Docherty's 353 effective kicks edged past the previous record of 351 set last year by Greater Western Sydney veteran Heath Shaw.

The 2016 Carlton club champion's kicking efficiency was no doubt boosted by his decision-making – he also distributed record tallies of short kicks (228) and kicks backwards (43).

To cap it off, Docherty also equalled the record for the most uncontested marks in a season, matching the 188 taken by St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt last year.

Docherty set a new record in 2017 for most effective kicks in a season. (Photo: AFL Media)

The Blues' leadership group member was among a raft of players to break season stats records this year, along with Melbourne youngster Clayton Oliver, Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield, West Coast wingman Andrew Gaff, Adelaide young gun Matt Crouch, Hawthorn ball magnet Tom Mitchell and Richmond premiership heroes Alex Rance and Dustin Martin.

Oliver's achievement was astounding for such a young player. The second-year Demon, 20, dished off the most handballs in a season in history, including finals, even though the Demons didn't feature in September. He was just two clear of Mitchell.

Oliver, who won Melbourne's best and fairest this year, also posted unprecedented season numbers for effective handballs (385) and groundball gets (276).

Most handballs in a home and away season (1999-2017)





482 Clayton Oliver (Melb) 21.91 2017
480 Tom Mitchell (Haw) 21.82 2017
448 Lachie Neale (Frem) 20.36 2016
439 Matt Priddis (WC) 19.95 2015
431 Matt Crouch (Adel) 19.59 2017

Dangerfield continued to take all before him, winning the most contested possessions in a season with 385 – 37 more than when he won the Brownlow Medal last year.

Between them, Dangerfield and Swans skipper Josh Kennedy occupy the top five positions in this category.

As for career contested possessions average, Kennedy (14.97) leads the way, followed by Carlton's emerging star Patrick Cripps (14.31), Fremantle captain Nat Fyfe (13.74) and Dangerfield (13.49).

Most contested possessions in a home and away season (1999-2017) 





385 Patrick Dangerfield (Geel) 18.33 2017
368 Josh Kennedy (Syd) 16.72 2012
365 Josh Kennedy (Syd) 16.59 2013
362 Josh Kennedy (Syd) 16.45 2015
361 Patrick Dangerfield (Geel) 16.41 2012

Gaff broke his own record in collecting the most uncontested possessions in a season. In fact, the classy left-footer holds the first three spots on the list.

In terms of career uncontested possessions average, the leaders are Gaff (18.86), Hawks defender Grant Birchall(16.92), young Bulldog Jack Macrae (16.80), Tom Mitchell and Roo-turned-Crow Sam Gibson (both 16.54). 

Most uncontested possessions in a home and away season (1999-2017) 





502 Andrew Gaff (WC) 22.82 2017
488 Andrew Gaff (WC) 22.18 2015
472 Andrew Gaff (WC) 22.48 2016
464 Rory Laird (Adel) 21.09 2017
458 Lachie Hunter (WB) 20.82 2016

As has been well documented, the extraordinarily prolific Mitchell posted the most disposals in a home and away season.

The left-footer easily boasts the highest career disposal average (27.83), followed by Collingwood jet Adam Treloar(26.97) and Brownlow medallists Greg Williams (26.88) and Dane Swan (26.85), and Crows star Crouch (26.71).

Mitchell is also well clear in highest career handball average (16.44).

Most disposals in a home and away season (1999-2017)





787 Tom Mitchell (Haw) 35.17 2017
737 Lachie Neale (Frem) 33.50 2016
726 Matt Crouch (Adel) 33.00 2017
721 Matthew Boyd (WB) 32.77 2012
701 Matthew Boyd (WB) 31.86 2011
701 Dane Swan (Coll) 31.86 2010

* Going further back, other sources place Collingwood great Wayne Richardson second with 748 disposals in 1971.

Crouch accumulated the most disposals in a season (including finals), his tally of 825 eclipsing Collingwood great Swan's 820 in 2010.

Most disposals in a season incl. finals (1999-2017)





825 Matt Crouch (Adel) 33.00 2017
820 Dane Swan (Coll) 31.54 2010
802 Dan Hannebery (Syd) 30.85 2016
787 Tom Mitchell (Haw) 35.77 2017
787 Josh Kennedy (Syd) 31.48 2016

Crows sharpshooter Eddie Betts is also the most prolific goal-assist merchant on record, this year surpassing retiring genius Steve Johnson.

Meanwhile, Port Adelaide gun Robbie Gray has the best career goal assist average (1.10), followed by Hawthorn genius Cyril Rioli (0.98), Betts (0.96), along with Hawk Luke Breust and Brisbane Lions champ Jason Akermanis(both 0.93).

Most goal assists (2003-2017)

Goal assists



265 Eddie Betts (Carl/Adel) 0.96
256 Steve Johnson (Geel/GWS) 0.91
233 Brent Harvey (NM) 0.77
224 Nick Riewoldt (StK) 0.73
221 Gary Ablett jnr (Geel/GC) 0.76

Freo giant Aaron Sandilands has the most hit-outs in history, but the career hit-out average list reads like this: Adelaide's Sam Jacobs (32.42), North Melbourne's Todd Goldstein (31.98), Melbourne's Max Gawn (31.34), Sandilands (31.02) and retired Swan/Giant Shane Mumford (30.03).

Intercept extraordinaire Rance set the season record for the most uncontested marks from opposition kicks (49), while Eagles counterpart Jeremy McGovern equalled Bulldog Easton Wood's 2015 record for the most marks from opposition kicks (75).

Essendon's explosive little man Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti laid the most rundown tackles in a season (since first recorded in 2007).

Among the single game records set this year, Dockers youngster Luke Ryan, in just his eighth AFL game, posted the most uncontested marks from oppositions kicks, while Carlton captain Marc Murphy produced the most baulks in a game (since first recorded in 2011) during a controversial clash with St Kilda in which he was subjected to some intensely personal sledging.

Tigers superstar Martin shattered his own 2016 record for the most broken tackles in a season, including a game record of eight in the preliminary final against Great Western Sydney.

Less flattering for Martin was that although he is one of the most damaging kicks in the game, he also claimed season records for the most ineffective kicks and the most clanger kicks. This was perhaps a result of Martin backing himself to hit high-risk, high-reward targets.

Meanwhile, several retiring champions finished their great careers as stats record holders – St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt (most marks, most contested marks and most marks inside 50), Brownlow winners Matt Priddis (most tackles) and Sam Mitchell (most clearances, most handballs, average handballs) and Josh Gibson (one-percenters).

2017's record breakers







 Sam Docherty (Carl)  Effective kick  353  1999  351  Heath Shaw (GWS), 2016
 Sam Docherty (Carl)  Short kick  228   1999    226   Joel Bowden (Rich), 2007
 Sam Docherty (Carl)  Uncontested mark   188    1999   188   Nick Riewoldt (StK), 2016
 Sam Docherty (Carl)  Kick backwards   43   2005   41   Sam Docherty (Carl), 2016
 Anthony McDonald-
 Rundown tackle   13   2007   12   Alwyn Davey (Ess), 2007
 Lachie Neale (Frem)   Missed tackles  18   2011   15   Jack Crisp (Coll), 2016
 Patrick Dangerfield(Geel)  Contested possessions  385   1999   368   Josh Kennedy (Syd), 2012
 Tom Mitchell (Haw)  Disposal  787   1999   737   Lachie Neale (Frem), 2016
 Tom Mitchell (Haw)  Effective disposal   573   1999   554   Shane Crawford (Haw), 1999
 Clayton Oliver (Melb)  Handball  482   1999   448   Lachie Neale (Frem), 2016
 Clayton Oliver (Melb)  Effective handball   385   1999   370   Lachie Neale (Frem), 2016
 Clayton Oliver (Melb)  Ground ball get   276   1999   263   Patrick Dangerfield (Adel), 2012 
 Dustin Martin (Rich)  Ineffective kick  150   1999   148   Matthew Boyd (WB), 2011
 Dustin Martin (Rich)  Clanger kick    61   1999   54   Ollie Wines (PA), 2016
 Dustin Martin (Rich)  Ground kick   48   1999   40   Adem Yze (Melb), 2004
 Dustin Martin (Rich)  Broken tackle  68  2011   45   Dustin Martin (Rich), 2016
 Alex Rance (Rich)  Uncontested mark 
 from opposition 
 49  1999   44   Tom McDonald (Melb), 2016
 Andrew Gaff (WC)  Uncontested possessions  502   1999   488   Andrew Gaff (WC), 2015
 Jeremy McGovern (WC)  Mark from opposition kick  75   1999   75   Easton Wood (WB), 2015