This fourth part of the six-part series comprises five players that the Hawthorn Hawks, Melbourne Demons and North Melbourne Kangaroos could least afford to lose in season 2021 plus a pre-draft honourable mention.
Last Friday night was a brilliant performance from Melbourne defeating Geelong by 29 points in the Elimination Final.
It was a long overdue finals victory for Melbourne, their first since 2006.
The win sets up another knockout clash with Hawthorn in the semi-final at the home of football tonight. The Demons will be full of confidence they can repeat those exploits from last week.
While many Melbourne players such as Sam Weideman were rightfully praised in the media for their performance on the big stage against the Cats there was some criticism directed towards Christian Petracca.
Matthew Lloyd on Footy Classified was fairly harsh in his appraisal of the young gun. “I think their younger guys are flying, but he’s not at the moment. He’s got a bit of Hollywood about him. He’s a good player but I want him to get back to basics which win you finals football”
No doubt Petracca had a quiet night but it is not like he has not had a kick for a month. His previous game against GWS saw the 22-year-old gather 20 disposals, have eight score involvements and kick three goals.
The statistics show just how valuable a contributor he has been throughout the season, averaging 20 disposals a match from 22 games.
What Simon Goodwin will take comfort from is despite the lower than usual output against the Cats, his young player still worked hard and laid six tackles. The second highest tally he has made in a game this season.
It was a massive occasion for everyone at Melbourne last week with a massive build-up to the game. The players will be better for the experience of playing and experiencing the pressure of finals footy.
Electric speed, a classy ball user and the ability to impact the scoreboard. Big players rise to the occasion and Petracca will learn the lessons from last week and bounce back with a big-time performance tonight.