Bracket Madness: The Best Centre Half Forward of This Millennium

The AFL has been blessed with many dominant centre half forwards in the modern era, but which one is the best?

With so many dominant centre half forwards strutting their stuff on an AFL field throughout the modern era, we thought we would try settle the debate and decide who really is the greatest centre half forward of this millennium.

The below bracket features the best centre half forwards since the year 2000, based on three important attributes… ability to impact a game, likeability, and their trophy cabinet.

Our star-studded bracket featured a clash of the cousins, a ginger-haired derby, and a South Australian showdown, and that was just the first round!

First Round:

Nick Riewoldt vs Jack Riewoldt

A battle of the cousins to open the bracket proceedings! While Jack enjoyed the ultimate success on Grand Final day in 2017, his tantrums sometimes gets in the way of his ability, and his leadership and likeability does not measure up to cousin Nick. Winner: Nick Riewoldt


David Neitz vs Josh Kennedy

A good match-up between two honest footballers. Neitz remains a Demons legend, while Kennedy continues to dominate for West Coast. This first round battle could have gone either way, but Kennedy’s two Coleman Medals compared to Neitz’s one gives him the win. Winner: Josh Kennedy


Tom Hawkins vs Scott Lucas

The ‘Tomahawk’ has one more premiership than the former Essendon goalkicker, but both big men have the ability to win a game off their own boot. We love that both can kick a goal from 60-plus metres, but Hawkins’ two flags give him the nod over Lucas’ one. Winner: Tom Hawkins


Lance Franklin vs Travis Cloke

This was an easy one. Cloke’s inaccuracy plagued him throughout his whole career, while Franklin continues to amaze us on a weekly basis. Franklin also has one premiership more than Cloke (two in total). Winner: Lance Franklin, by a mile


Lance Whitnall vs Jarryd Roughead

The ginger-haired derby, what else could we ask for!? We don’t have to remind you that ‘Roughy’ is a much fitter forward than Whitnall, and continues to enjoy a lot more success. The current Hawks captain is also one of the most likeable guys in footy today. Winner: Jarryd Roughead


Michael O'Loughlin vs Jonathan Brown

A couple of really likeable guys, “Micky O” and “Browny” were both premiership players for the Swans and Lions respectively, but Brown won the flag three times compared to O’Loughlin’s one, and was a pivotal figure in the Lions’ three-peat dynasty. He also won a Coleman Medal and captained his team from 2007-2013. Winner: Jonathan Brown


Taylor Walker vs Warren Tredrea

A South Australian showdown between the current Crows captain and the former leader of Port Adelaide, this is a huge rivalry clash. Tredrea will forever be a Port legend after he captained the Power to their only AFL premiership in 2004, while Walker’s Grand Final performance against Richmond in 2017 was highly disappointing. Winner: Warren Tredrea


Matthew Pavlich vs Matthew Richardson

“Pav” vs “Richo” in a battle of the Matthews and two iconic figures. Richardson never had the honour of playing in a Grand Final, and was known for his inaccurate set-shot kicking, but he had the ability to impact any game on any given day and excite the entire Tiger army. Pavlich captained the Dockers for eight years which included an unsuccessful Grand Final appearance against Hawthorn, but his leadership just gives him the edge over Richo. Winner: Matthew Pavlich


Quarter Finals:

Josh Kennedy vs Nick Riewoldt

A great quarter final match-up pits the retired Riewoldt against the 30 year old Kennedy. There’s no doubt that both of these big men could win a game off their own boot, but Riewoldt captained St Kilda for 11 seasons in a time where the Saints went through many ups and downs, including their Grand Final draw and Grand Final Replay loss against Collingwood in 2010. Riewoldt’s leadership alone is enough to see him through to the semis. Winner: Nick Riewoldt


Tom Hawkins vs Lance Franklin

A couple of big, current-day centre half forwards, Buddy Franklin and Tom Hawkins are excitement machines who love a big mark and a big goal. Franklin is the last player to kick 100 goals in a season (2008), which was soon followed by a shock Grand Final win for the Hawks over Geelong a few weeks later. Both forwards have two flags each, but we have to give this one to Buddy. Winner: Lance Franklin


Jarryd Roughead vs Jonathan Brown

We love both of these guys, and they would be at the top of our “who would you like to have a beer with” list. Both guys are leaders, and both are loved by fans of all teams (although Brown was problematic in his younger days). Roughead has four premierships compared to Brown’s three, but the former Lion’s leadership and intimidation factor give him the edge. Winner: Jonathan Brown


Warren Tredrea vs Matthew Pavlich

One of the closest match-ups of the whole bracket, two club legends and captains with amazing ability who both hail from South Australia. This really could have gone either way, as both were not only great centre half forwards, but also had the ability to play at either end of the ground. Ultimately, Tredrea’s 2004 gives him the advantage over Pav. The Power hero captained his side to premiership glory after skipper Matthew Primus suffered a long term injury in Round 3. Winner: Warren Tredrea


Semi Finals:

Nick Riewoldt vs Lance Franklin

A marquee match-up between two stars of the game kicks off our Final Four, with Buddy and Saint Nick going head to head for a spot in the final. Riewoldt’s captaincy proves he is the better leader, but Buddy has won two premierships and four Coleman Medals compared to Riewoldt’s zero. Another factor which sets Buddy apart from anyone in modern footy is the fact that his 100 goal season in 2008 allowed a “legal” pitch invasion from the crowd to help celebrate his ton! Winner: Lance Franklin


Jonathan Brown vs Warren Tredrea

No disrespect to Warren Tredrea, but Browny was a much more popular footy player than the former Port Adelaide captain. He also has two more flags and a Coleman Medal, and could dominate any defender in his heyday. It must be acknowledged that Tredrea did captain his side to a successful 2004 Grand Final triumph against Brown’s Brisbane Lions, but JB’s overall likeability, trophy cabinet and ability to impact a game are enough to see him through to the final. Winner: Jonathan Brown



Grand Final:

Lance Franklin vs Jonathan Brown

Wowee! This is a genuine heavyweight clash to determine who really is the greatest centre half forward of this millenium. Buddy Franklin vs Jonathan Brown could sell out the MCG on its own, and both star forwards had phenomenal ability to impact a game.

Franklin has four Coleman Medals compared to Brown’s one, but JB has three premierships compared to Buddy’s two, giving him a better trophy cabinet as premierships are the ultimate success in footy (although Buddy still has time to add to his accolades).

Both are likeable guys, but Franklin’s celebrity lifestyle is surpassed by Browny’s down-to-earth, relatable personality. Brown is also more loyal, spending his entire career at the Brisbane Lions despite big offers to go elsewhere, while Franklin jumped ship from Hawthorn to Sydney after the 2013 season, signing a nine-year, $10 million deal.

We could have given the title to either of these legends, but Jonathan Brown’s likeability and trophy cabinet are enough to give him the win! We may have to revisit the bracket once Franklin hangs up his boots, but for now, we officially crown Jonathan Brown as the best centre half forward of this millenium.

Remember, this is just our opinion, but did we get it right? Feel free to let us know/heckle us!

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Anthony Ierardi


Adrian Bortignon


Anthony Ierardi


Anthony Ierardi


Anthony Ierardi


Anthony Ierardi