The fifth part of this six-part series features the five players that the Port Adelaide Power, Richmond Tigers and St Kilda Saints can least afford to lose in season 2021 plus an honourable mention.
Can you believe it? From a laughing stock in the off-season, the Richmond Tigers have done what few thought possible, breaking a 37-year premiership drought to upset the Adelaide Crows by 48 points on one of the great days in their long and proud history.
All the wash-up from the 2017 AFL Grand Final
» Match Report: Tigers are premiers
» BUCKLAND: Richmond go from rabble to flag
» Six talking points from the match
» Adelaide Crows player ratings
» Watch video highlights from the match
» Re-live the match with our live blog
Who stepped up on the big stage and who was carried to a medal? From Nick Vlastuin to Jason Castagna, here are The Roar’s Player Ratings for the premiers.
Nick Vlastuin: 6
Recovered well from a bad early fumble that gifted Eddie Betts a goal to patrol the backline with aplomb.
Dylan Grimes: 6
Spent some time on Betts among the other Crows smalls and kept him to just seven touches and a goal which wasn’t his fault.
Dion Prestia: 8
No tagging duties which was a surprise, but was very good in close. 25 touches and kicked a party time goal in the last.
Dustin Martin: 9
Dominant and dangerous with ball in hand and the Crows were worried about him every time he went near it. Finished his year with the sweetest goal he’ll ever kick. Brownlow, AFLPA MVP and now a Norm Smith Medal. Unbelievable.
Brandon Ellis: 4
The pressure of the day hampered his outside run. Just 14 touches.
Shaun Grigg: 5
Made the most of his moment in the third with an ice-cool set shot to give the Tigers six goals in a row. Was otherwise pretty quiet.
Jack Riewoldt: 7
The Tigers’ best in the opening quarter and a half when they were up against it, but missed three gettable chances before finally bagging one. Fittingly kicked the sealer early in the last.
Trent Cotchin: 6
Disposal was a little scrappy but his will to win the ball shone throughout. Premiership captain.
Shane Edwards: 5
Finished with 24, but others had more influence. Still had an impact.
David Astbury: 3
Kept Jenkins quiet, but had a bad case of the fumbles throughout the first half with some bad mistakes. Better after halftime.
Bachar Houli: 8
Terrific with 23 touches, including 18 kicks and a goal. Composed as ever and gave great drive from defence. Could have had three goals if he’d kicked straight, but was superb.
Daniel Rioli: 2
Crows put more work into him than the Giants did last week. Had a great moment in the last where he got a kick over his head but that was about it.
Alex Rance: 7
Not as out-of-this-world dominant as the commentators would have you believe, but still had plenty of impact in defence.
Jacob Townsend: 8
What a six weeks he’s had. Kept Lever under wraps throughout and even snagged two goals for his troubles, including one in the last that put it to bed. Hard to believe he’s a premiership player.
Josh Caddy: 4
Got the Tigers on the board with an important settler, but that was about the high point of his game.
Kane Lambert: 9
Tackling pressure was typically excellent and was rewarded with a snapped goal in the third that sent Richmond fans into raptures. 22 touches, plenty of them in scoring chains.
Toby Nankervis: 7
Jacobs gave him a bath in the ruck early, but worked his way into the game to break even by the end. Influence around the ground was critical with some timely marks.
Kamdyn McIntosh: 4
Very quiet with just 9 touches, but things seemed to happen when he got the ball in the first half. Important link player.
Jack Graham: 8
Nerves of steel to break the game open with three critical goals in just his fifth game. Going to be hard to top for the rest of his career.
Nathan Broad: 6
A surprise match-up on Lynch, but kept him from having an impact near goal. One of the Tigers’ many unsung heroes.
Dan Butler: 2
Not the only Tigers small to go missing, but was probably the quietest of them. Kicked a junkie late though, so still earned the medal.
Jason Castagna: 2
Couldn’t get near it in the first half but stepped up with a crafty snap in the third term.
Damien Hardwick: 8
Paid the price early for letting Sloane run free, but his move of Townsend to Lever proved a masterstroke. From almost sacked to a premiership coach – what a turnaround!