With the end of the decade upon us, we’ve been looking at each sport on the Game of Codes podcast to work out where it will be at the end of the next decade. Today, it’s the AFL’s turn.
These are the players that each team could least afford to lose in their Round 7 match as far as team structure is concerned.
Magpies vs Power
Jaidyn Stephenson was important due to the fact that he kicked three goals in the first quarter to help the Magpies put the game just about beyond doubt by the time quarter-time came around.
Darcy Moore helped curtail a potential Power fightback, playing an integral role in a Magpies team that is performing at an optimum level.
Adam Treloar played an important part in a fairly comfortable victory for the Magpies winning eighteen contested possession, which indicates he was willing to do a lot of the hard work for his team and not only win the ball on the outside.
Justin Westhoff was integral for the Power as he showed great endeavour and helped his team make the scoreboard respectable. Westhoff was somewhat of a shining light for his team, he showed great hunger for the contest.
Ryan Burton used the ball well with a disposal efficiency of nearly 95 per cent and kicked a quality long goal that got the Power back into the game in the second quarter.
Travis Boak kicked the Power’s first goal and played a key role. Boak didn’t have his best game and is only in the top three most important players in Round 7 as the other players in the team didn’t play to a level that they were capable of.
Demons vs Hawks
James Harmes didn’t only tag Jaeger O’Meara after quarter-time, but won plenty of the ball himself and even kicked a goal.
Michael Hibberd showed that he is embracing his role of playing on the wing getting a lot of the ball himself; the Demons are a better team when Hibberd accumulates over 20 possessions as he is such a damaging player.
Max Gawn won his ruck battle with Ben Mcevoy, convincingly winning almost double the number of hit-outs than that of Mcevoy. Gawn also worked hard around the ground accumulating 17 possessions.
Jack Gunston played a pivotal part in nearly getting his team over the line with three goals to go with his 20 possessions.
James Worpel won the most contested possessions of any Hawks player on the field with 11 and also worked hard defensively finishing with six tackles.
Blake Hardwick played a key role for his team using the ball well and playing an important part of the Hawks back six. Hardwick helped give the Hawks a chance of winning the game performing admirably.
Giants vs Saints
Jeremy Cameron was in a class of his own for the Giants with a bag of six goals.
Tim Taranto showed his value to his team with a quality display. Taranto stepped up in the absence of Josh Kelly and Lachie Whitfield.
Zac Williams used the ball extremely well, distributing the ball at an efficiency of 80 per cent, which meant that his thirty possessions were valuable to his team as his possessions often ended up in the hands of a fellow teammate.
Rowan Marshall was impressive accumulating 22 possessions and kicking two goals. Marshall worked hard around the ground, accumulating more than double the disposals than that of his opposition ruckman in Shane Mumford.
Sebastian Ross showed why he is currently just about the Saints’ most important player.
Jack Steele used the ball well and showed why he has been a revelation for the Saints this season using the ball at a disposal efficiency of over 80 per cent, which made the fact that he was Saints second-highest possession winner for the game even more impressive.
Lions vs Swans
Hugh McCluggage showed how important a player he is to the Lions, kicking two goals and accumulating plenty of the ball.
Dayne Zorko showed great leadership working hard both attacking and defensively winning 29 possessions and notching 11 tackles.
Stefan Martin worked hard around the ground winning plenty of the ball and finishing the game with 33 hit outs.
Tom Papley managed to kick four goals to help make his team competitive.
George Hewett worked hard to win the ball, finishing the game with 24 contested possessions.
Aliir Aliir used the ball well off half-back providing some run out of defence for the Swans.
Bulldogs vs Tigers
Aaron Naughton proved that he is an asset for the Bulldogs and that Luke Beveridge may well have been justified in moving him forward, with Naughton kicking five goals.
Hayden Crozier’s use of the ball was particularly impressive proving that he is one of the more underrated players in terms of importance to his team is concerned.
Josh Dunkley worked hard at the source to win an impressive game-high 15 contested possessions.
Sydney Stack’s youthful exuberance was on show with the Tiger’s largely uncompetitive against the Bulldogs.
Nick Vlastuin provided plenty of run out of defence for his team.
Kane Lambert played reasonably well in an uncompetitive Tigers midfield.
Eagles vs Suns
Brad Sheppard was outstanding for the Eagles using the ball at an impressive 96 per cent, providing a lot of run out of defence.
Andrew Gaff accumulated 35 disposals for his team, playing an important role in the Eagles getting a relatively slight victory over a much-improved Suns line up.
Jack Darling kicked four goals for the Eagles, proving to be an important cog in their structure.
Jarrod Witts won an impressive 60 hit outs, which was double that of his opposing ruckman in Nathan Vardy.
Anthony Miles was an important addition to the Suns’ team as he won a lot of the ball and worked hard defensively finishing with five tackles.
Jarrod Harbrow showed why he is an important cog in the Suns’ back six.
Blues vs Kangaroos
Sam Walsh was an important player for the Blues as he showed great endeavour and was the Blues’ best player in the first quarter. Walsh never stopped trying to lift his team.
Zac Fisher was the Blues’ leading possession winner and attempted to make his team competitive.
Patrick Cripps played three good quarters following a deplorable first quarter, but he did kick two goals, have 14 contested possessions and used the ball at 80 per cent efficiency.
Ben Brown was a pivotal part of the Kangaroos structure, kicking four goals.
Shaun Higgins showed that the Kangaroos are a better team with him in it.
Ben Cunnington had the most contested possessions of anyone on the field, Cunnington is an inspirational player he continues to do his job with no fuss and is a pivotal cog in the Kangaroos team.
Cats vs Bombers
Mitch Duncan used the ball extremely well and hit the scoreboard kicking three goals.
Sam Menegola stepped up in the absence of Joel Selwood, Menegola used the ball efficiently and showed that he is one of the most underrated players in the AFL.
Tim Kelly kicked two goals and had 30 possessions; he is a pivotal part of the Cats team.
Zach Merrett played his role well for the team accumulating 29 possessions, leading from the front for the Bombers.
Michael Hurley provided plenty of drive for the Bombers off the half-back line.
Jake Stringer endeavoured to get the Bombers back into the game with three goals.
Crows vs Dockers
Rory Laird provided plenty of run off half-back for the Crows.
Reilly O’Brien showed that the Crows are a better team with him in it winning more hit-outs than his Fremantle counterpart and accumulating twenty-two possessions.
Cameron Ellis-Yolmen gave the Crows another string to their bow winning the most contested possessions for his team, along with Rory Sloane.
Luke Ryan showed that he is an important part of the Dockers back six providing plenty of run out of defence.
Nat Fyfe played a captain’s game-winning 19 contested possessions and using the ball reasonably well.
Alex Pearce showed why he plays a pivotal part in the Dockers’ structure and he may well be in the conversation for All-Australian honours if his form up until Round 7 is anything to go by.