I have formulated the top three players from every team; these are the players that a team could least afford to lose in their Round 8 match as far as team structure is concerned.
Sydney vs Essendon
Luke Parker showed how important a cog he is for the Swans as he was probably their best player. Callum Sinclair worked hard around the ground accumulating 16 disposals to go with his 33 hit-outs. Jake Lloyd provided plenty of run off half back using the ball well at 87 per cent efficiency.
Michael Hurley was a pivotal cog, using the ball at 100 per cent efficiency, to go with the 21 disposals he accumulated. Andrew McGrath showed he is an integral part of the team, finishing with 25 disposals and using the ball well. Dyson Heppell had an impressive 16 contested possessions.
Carlton vs Collingwood
Patrick Cripps showed why he is captain of the club with a quality display. There is a perception the Blues are overly reliant on Cripps, as he finished with an impressive 19 contested possessions, 14 clearances, seven tackles and a goal. Mitch McGovern kicked three goals – the most of anyone in the team. Caleb Marchbank provided plenty of run out of defence.
Brodie Grundy won more than double the amount of hit-outs than Blues ruckman Matthew Kreuzer, while accumulating an impressive 25 disposals and two goals. Callum Brown proved he belongs in the best 22 with 21 disposals, eight tackles and two goals – he often goes under the radar. Jack Crisp is a player that would be pushing for All Australian selection and he showed why, providing plenty of run off the half back line.
Western Bulldogs vs Brisbane
Josh Dunkley was a revelation, playing a pivotal role in the midfield and not only winning plenty of the ball, but having 22 contested possessions. Aaron Naughton provided a target and kicked three goals. Jackson Trengove proved he warrants a spot, playing much of the game in the ruck after Tim English was a late withdrawal.
Hugh McCluggage showed his value, finishing with one goal, 26 disposals and also working hard defensively with seven tackles. Dayne Zorko showed why he is captain, leading from the front with two goals, seven tackles and winning plenty of the ball. Daniel Rich had 21 disposals, used the ball well and provided a lot of run out of defence.
Gold Coast vs Melbourne
Sam Collins was a big factor in keeping the Demons to a low score and nearly helped the Suns get over the line. Pearce Hanley used the ball well, accumulating 20 disposals playing off the half back flank. David Swallow had an impressive 22 contested possessions.
Clayton Oliver had 22 contested possessions and also worked hard defensively, finishing with 15 tackles. Tom McDonald kicked three goals as well as the behind that got the Demons over the line by one point. Jake Melksham took 11 marks – providing a target for his team’s midfielders.
St Kilda vs West Coast
Jack Billings put in a solid performance, kicking two goals and collecting 25 disposals off the half forward flank. Josh Bruce took an impressive ten marks, providing a target for his teammates. He embraced his role at centre half forward. Josh Battle used the ball extremely well, accumulating 21 disposals, nine marks and four tackles.
Jamie Cripps had 13 contested possessions, finished with two goals and also worked hard defensively with five tackles. Andrew Gaff had plenty of the ball and used it well. Shannon Hurn provided a lot of run out of the Eagles back line, finishing with 25 disposals.
Port Adelaide vs Adelaide
Sam Powell-Pepper played a key role with two goals and an impressive ten tackles. Tom Rockliff won a lot of the ball – the Power would have lost the game by more than 20 points had he not played. Jarrod Lienert used the ball well, finishing with 26 disposals and ten marks.
Rory Laird does what he usually does, which is provide plenty of run out of the Crows defence and get a lot of the ball. Alex Keath won the Showdown Medal. He didn’t only curtail the impact of the Port forward line, he picked up 26 disposals himself. Tom Lynch was pivotal, finishing with three goals, 20 disposals and six tackles.
North Melbourne vs Geelong
Ben Brown provided a target for teammates up the field, finishing the game with five goals. Shaun Higgins had seven clearances, along with 31 disposals and a goal. Todd Goldstein worked hard around the ground, finishing with fourteen disposals while amassing 37 hit-outs.
Tim Kelly was outstanding, he won plenty of the ball and kicked two goals. Harry Taylor took ten marks and used the ball at 80 per cent efficiency. Gary Ablett kicked four pivotal goals.
Hawthorn vs GWS
James Sicily played a quality game, winning a lot of the ball and using it extremely well. James Frawley helped keep Jeremy Cameron goalless. Ricky Henderson was the leading disposal winner on the field, finishing with 36.
Jeremy Finlayson kicked three of his side’s five goals. Josh Kelly highlighted his importance to his team, winning the most clearances of any Giants player with seven. Heath Shaw had plenty of the ball with 30 disposals and provided a lot of run out of defence.
Fremantle vs Richmond
Nat Fyfe proved he makes the Dockers a better team with three goals and seven clearances to go with his 33 disposals. Rory Lobb had 45 hit outs along with five clearances, and 19 disposals. Matt Taberner provided a target for his teammates with eight marks.
Dylan Grimes didn’t only curtail the impact of the Dockers forward line, but he had a lot of the ball and used it well. Shai Bolton played an impressive game, kicking four goals. Bachar Houli provided a lot of run out of defence, he finished with 30 disposals.