ILIndoor Top 50: Brodie Merrill #11

Brodie Merrill does so many things, and does them all so well as one of the game's true greats. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Brodie Merrill does so many things, and does them all so well as one of the game's true greats. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

Sometimes, all you have to do is mention a player’s name and you know the conversation that follows is about greatness. That’s where we are with Brodie Merrill, who has long been a dominant force in lacrosse whether indoors or outdoors. Merrill’s been on the level of elite since his days as a long stick at Georgetown University and his ability to dominate the pace of a game 8 years later is no less dominant. He’s not a scorer by assignment, although he’s fully capable. No, what Merrill does best, is control the tempo from the back end by establishing himself defensively, forcing opponents into mistakes and turnovers, then taking it from there. He leads in transition and whether he’s doing that for the National Lacrosse League’s Philadelphia Wings, Major League Lacrosse’s Hamilton Nationals or the Senior B Snake Island Muskies, Merrill’s among the best in the world and is a natural inclusion on ILIndoor’s Top 50.

Trying to figure out how Merrill does it is a fruitless effort. Many have tried over the years and considering what he’s accomplished, few if any have stopped him. A big reason for this is his physical stature. At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, this right-hander out of Orangeville, Ont., has a gait that allows him to cover ground in a hurry.

Of course, that’s only part of his game. His work defensively is superb and efficient, frustrating ball carriers to no end. And making this combination of speed and tactic most effective is the way Merrill makes it all work within the team concept. He doesn’t stand out on his own as a defender; he blends in with the unit he’s working with, making the defense better as a group.

His offensive NLL numbers with the Wings last winter (10-16, 26) were down a bit from his career average, but his 123 loose balls led the Wings (7th overall in the NLL) and his 11 forced turnovers were among the team’s leaders. In the summer, he split time with the MLL’s Hamilton Nationals (his 91 ground balls ranked 4th in the league) and the Senior B Snake Island Muskies, where he carded 24 points (9-15) in 7 games.

So no, Merrill’s not going to score a ton of goals for your indoor team, but he’s very capable of scoring goals that shift momentum. It’s a lot like the work he does on the back end, where he controls pace and dictates tempo. And it’s his ability to combine this skill set into 1 complete package that makes him one of today’s best players.

ILIndoor’s take

“No one can control the game like Merrill does on so many different levels. He’s such a versatile player and can provide exactly what his team may need at any point. Goals, turnovers, short-handed rushes and even the occasional fight, Merrill’s the epitome of what you want in a leader. He commands respect anywhere on the floor.” – Bob Chavez

“I have to admit that whenever the next flavour of the month hits the NLL, I’m not ready to jump on that bandwagon. The hype surrounding Merrill’s entrance to the NLL immediately had me on the defensive. As the years have passed, I salute Merrill as he stands in a class by himself when it comes to a true defensive floor general. Merrill’s abilities to take charge and control tempo are substantial. In earlier days, Brodie would run for 3 consecutive shifts and give up some detail on the defensive end but defense isn’t really an issue. The new 16-player route should see Merrill staying up on offense more often, creating his best numbers to date.” – Marty O’Neill

“Merrill continues to be one of the truly game-changing transition men in lacrosse. He’s a defensive leader, a loose ball machine, still fast enough to lead the transition charge and with the stick skills to score or set up others for goals when he gets opportunities. Just look at his career numbers: 105 goals and 210 assists for 315 points in 125 games, along with 1,494 loose balls. Simply, one of the all-time greats.” – Stephen Stamp

Top 50

No. 50: Aaron Bold
No. 49: Brad Self
No. 48: Jesse Gamble
No. 47: Rory Smith
No. 46: Kiel Matisz
No. 45: Lewis Ratcliff
No. 44: Johnny Powless
No. 43: Tyler Hass
No. 42: Sid Smith
No. 41: Brett Mydske
No. 40: Stephan Leblanc
No. 39: Kevin Ross
No. 38: Jeff Moleski
No. 37: Drew Westervelt
No. 36: Jeff Gilbert
No. 35: Ryan Ward
No. 34: Cory Vitarelli
No. 33: Kyle Sorensen
No. 32: Corey Small
No. 31: Shawn Williams
No. 30: Scott Ranger
No. 29: Mark Steenhuis
No. 28: Casey Powell
No. 27: Josh Sanderson
No. 26: Brandon Miller
No. 25: Mike Grimes
No. 24: Chris Corbeil
No. 23: Kevin Crowley
No. 22: Geoff Snider
No. 21: John Tavares
No. 20: Mark Matthews
No. 19: Dan Dawson
No. 18: Andrew Suitor
No. 17: Jordan MacIntosh
No. 16: Adam Jones
No. 15: Callum Crawford
No. 14: Tyler Richards
No. 13: Ryan Benesch
No. 12: Dane Dobbie

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