AFL Team of the Week: Round 12

Josh Barnstable Roar Rookie

By , Josh Barnstable is a Roar Rookie

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    The bye week might have meant we were down on games this week, but there were still plenty of fine performances in Round 12.

    Back

    Back Pocket – Rory Laird (Adelaide)
    The gun defender just knows how to rack up the pill and he showed that ability on Friday night against the Saints.

    Laird finished with 34 possessions at 85 per cent efficiency, while he took four marks and laid five tackles.

    Full Back – Michael Hartley (Essendon)
    The unsung defender in the Essendon backline had the tough task of minding the in-form Charlie Dixon on Saturday night, and he performed his role with aplomb.

    Hartley kept Dixon to just seven disposals and one behind while taking eight marks and producing 14 possessions himself.

    Back Pocket – Harris Andrews (Brisbane)
    The beanpole defender from Brisbane was crucial to his side’s second victory of the season on Saturday evening against Fremantle.

    Matched up on the dangerous and agile Cam McCarthy, Andrews gave him no quarter, keeping him to a paltry five touches and one goal. Andrews meanwhile pulled in 11 grabs from 19 possessions.

    Half Back – Jeremy Howe (Collingwood)
    The former Demon was magnificent against his old side in the Queen’s Birthday thriller on Monday.

    Was at his intercepting best in defence, collecting 22 disposals at 81 per cent efficiency, laying three tackles and taking ten marks, including arguably the mark of the year just before halftime that had to be seen to be believed.

    Centre Half Back – Steven May (Gold Coast)
    Spent a lot of his time on James Sicily who had little to no impact on the match whatsoever.

    The Gold Coast co-captain was instrumental with 24 touches at 91 per cent efficiency, 13 marks and three tackles.

    Half Back – Sam Docherty (Carlton)
    The backline general down at the Blues played a massive part in Carlton’s huge upset win over the ladder-leading Giants on Sunday.

    Docherty amassed 35 possessions, took 12 marks and laid five tackles in a fine display.

    Middle

    Wing – Isaac Heeney (Sydney)
    Set the tone early for the Swans in their big win over the Western Bulldogs back on Thursday night.

    Heeney finished with 31 disposals, nearly half of them contested, five marks and four tackles.

    Centre – Dayne Beams (Brisbane)
    Relished playing in only his fourth win with the Brisbane Lions, and just his second at the Gabba.

    Beams was quiet in the first half despite his side’s fast start, but worked his way nicely into the game to finish with 36 touches, 16 of them contested, nine clearances, five marks, eight tackles and a goal.

    Wing – Dyson Heppell (Essendon)
    The Bombers’ captain led from the front in his side’s onslaught against the Power on Saturday night.

    Heppell collected 34 disposals at 79 per cent efficiency, took seven marks, laid four tackles and booted a goal.

    Essendon Bombers player Dyson Heppell

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    Forward

    Half Forward – Dayne Zorko (Brisbane)
    Started like a house on fire against Fremantle on Saturday, racking up 14 touches in the opening quarter as the Lions got the jump on the sluggish Dockers.

    Zorko finished with 30 possessions, ten clearances, six marks, five tackles and two goals in a scintillating display.

    Centre Half Forward – Lance Franklin (Sydney)

    While his radar was off, his impact on the match was huge. Franklin had 16 possessions and hauled in nine marks while kicking 3.5, with a couple of his behinds hitting the post.

    Could have been a much bigger night.

    Half Forward – Christian Petracca (Melbourne)
    The young bull had a huge impact against Collingwood in the Queen’s Birthday blockbuster, racking up 18 touches, taking seven marks and booting 3.2.

    Won the Neale Daniher Trophy as best on ground.

    Christian Petracca Melbourne Demons AFL 2017

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    Forward Pocket – Tom Papley (Sydney)
    Showing no signs of the infamous ‘second-year blues’ since coming back into the side having recovered from injury.

    Papley buzzed in and around the Sydney forward line against the Western Bulldogs, causing havoc with 21 disposals, eight tackles and two goals.

    Full Forward – Cale Hooker (Essendon)
    The defender-turned-forward had raised a few eyebrows in the media with his performances in recent weeks, but all that will be forgotten for now after his game against Port Adelaide on Saturday night.

    As the Bombers got the fast start, Hooker was the main beneficiary, booting three opening quarter goals. He finished with a career-high five to go with nine marks and 17 touches.

    Forward Pocket – Jack Gunston (Hawthorn)
    Played his best game of a somewhat disappointing season so far on Saturday against the Suns.

    Despite playing in a losing cause, Gunston had 19 possessions, 12 marks, four tackles and kicked five goals.

    Followers

    Ruckman – Matthew Kreuzer (Carlton)
    Celebrating his 150 game milestone, the former number one draft pick played one of the better games of his career against the Giants.

    Going up against the intimidating Shane Mumford, Kreuzer smashed him with 21 possessions, six marks, eight tackles, 33 hitouts and a goal in a wonderful display from the ‘tractor’.

    Tom Hickey St Kilda Saints Matthew Kreuzer Carlton Blues AFL 2016

    AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

    Ruck Rover – Gary Ablett (Gold Coast)
    The little master relished his return to the MCG on Saturday against the Hawks, putting in a best on ground performance in his side’s fifth win of the year.

    Ablett ended the game with 37 disposals, 15 of them contested, eight clearances, ten tackles and two goals.

    Rover – Zach Merrett (Essendon)

    Continued his terrific season on Saturday night against the Power with another outstanding display.

    Merrett amassed 38 touches, 13 contested, won six clearances, took six marks, laid seven tackles and booted a goal. Brownlow Medal smokey.

    Interchange

    Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (Essendon)
    The red and black livewire was exactly that against the Power on Saturday, providing plenty of pressure and more moments for his lengthy highlights reel.

    Finished with 19 disposals, four marks, six tackles and an equal career-high four goals.

    Lewis Taylor (Brisbane)

    Like a few of his teammates, put in arguably the best game of his career against Fremantle on Saturday.

    The former Rising Star winner kicked four goals and should have had five if not for a failed dribble kick running into an open goal. Also had 20 touches and five marks.

    Sam Mayes (Brisbane)
    Played one of the better games of his career against the Dockers on Saturday.

    Mayes found plenty of the ball off half back, finishing with 29 disposals at 82 per cent efficiency and nine marks.

    Nathan Jones (Melbourne)
    The inspirational Melbourne co-captain was hard-nosed at the contest on Monday’s Queen’s Birthday clash with the Magpies.

    Led from the front in a midfield that struggled without a genuine ruckman, finishing with 23 disposals, four marks and 12 tackles.

    Emergencies

    Tom Cutler (Brisbane)
    Playing in a new role up forward, Cutler reaped the rewards of Brisbane’s devastating first half against Fremantle on Saturday.

    The long-kicking defender booted three first half goals, finishing with 19 touches at 89 per cent efficiency, 10 marks and three tackles.

    Tom Lynch (Adelaide)
    Against his former side in St Kilda, Lynch was keen to impress and that he did on Friday night.

    Ended the match with 22 possessions, eight marks and three goals.

    Heath Grundy (Sydney)
    The veteran defender completely blanketed Travis Cloke on Thursday night while providing plenty of rebound for his side.

    ‘Reg’ finished with 22 disposals at 81 per cent efficiency and took seven marks, with Cloke only managing eight touches and no scoreboard impact.

    FB: Rory Laird (Adelaide), Michael Hartley (Essendon), Harris Andrews (Brisbane)
    HB: Jeremy Howe (Collingwood), Steven May (Gold Coast), Sam Docherty (Carlton)
    C: Isaac Heeney (Sydney), Dayne Beams (Brisbane), Dyson Heppell (Essendon)
    HF: Dayne Zorko (Brisbane), Lance Franklin (Sydney), Christian Petracca (Melbourne)
    FF: Tom Papley (Sydney), Cale Hooker (Essendon), Jack Gunston (Hawthorn)
    R: Matthew Kreuzer (Carlton), Gary Ablett (Gold Coast), Zach Merrett (Essendon)
    I/C: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (Essendon), Lewis Taylor (Brisbane), Sam Mayes (Brisbane), Nathan Jones (Melbourne)
    EMG: Tom Cutler (Brisbane), Tom Lynch (Adelaide), Heath Grundy (Sydney)

    By team
    Adelaide: Laird (1)
    Brisbane: Andrews, Beams, Zorko, Taylor, Mayes (5)
    Carlton: Docherty, Kreuzer (2)
    Collingwood: Howe (1)
    Essendon: Hartley, Heppell, Hooker, Z Merrett, McDonald-Tipungwuti (5)
    Fremantle: Nil (0)
    Gold Coast: May, Ablett (2)
    Greater Western Sydney: Nil (0)
    Hawthorn: Gunston (1)
    Melbourne: Petracca, Jones (2)
    Port Adelaide: Nil (0)
    St Kilda: Nil (0)
    Sydney: Heeney, Franklin, Papley (3)
    Western Bulldogs: Nil (0)

    Geelong, North Melbourne, Richmond and West Coast had the bye.