Disposals are achieved by a controlled release of the ball, either with a kick or a handball.
It is an AFL stat that is typically dominated by midfielders, as they are the ones who get their hands on the footy most often. The players who are leading the disposals count at any stage of the season are typically midfielders who start in the centre bounce.
Example: “With 12 kicks and 22 handballs, Tom Mitchell had the most disposals on the ground with 34.”
Disposals are the stat that most easily equate to possession in sports like Rugby League and Soccer. Therefore, a team with high disposal numbers usually has more of the ball than a team with low disposal numbers.
Furthermore, a player that regularly accrues 25 or more disposals in each game is considered crucial to their team's fortunes, as they have the most opportunity to make a mark on the game.
Because of the importance of disposals in AFL footy, there are markets where you can bet on certain players to record 25 or 30 disposals in each game.
Benchmark: 20 or more Disposals in a game for a midfielder is a pass.