Disclaimer: I’m a West Coast Eagles fan, so figure that into your assessments when considering my objectivity. However, for the purposes of this prediction, I’m calling that the Eagles will be the best performed of all the expansion teams.
Some big upsets in Round 11 have thrown up some interesting selections in this week’s edition of Team of the Week.
Back Pocket – Harris Andrews (Brisbane)
The Lions’ vice-captain was resolute in a backline that was rattled early on Saturday night. Took nine grabs, won 20 disposals at 85 per cent efficiency and got his fist to the ball on many occasions.
Full Back – Robbie Tarrant (North Melbourne)
Another superb stopping job from North Melbourne’s premier defender. Despite conceding the first goal of the match to Tiger Tom Lynch, Tarrant put the clamps on the former Sun, keeping him to just five touches and one more behind for the remainder of the game.
Back Pocket – Brayden Maynard (Collingwood)
One of Collingwood’s best on a disappointing afternoon for the club on Saturday, collecting 24 possessions and, most importantly, using it at 87 per cent efficiency.
Half Back – Connor Blakely (Fremantle)
Looks to be back at the top of his game after an injury-interrupted start to the season. Blakely won 27 disposals, took five marks and laid three tackles in a huge upset for the Dockers.
Centre Half Back – Mark Blicavs (Geelong)
Locked horns with Lance Franklin and gave him a bath, keeping him to just one goal while gathering 16 touches of his own at 93 per cent and taking six grabs.
Half Back – Bachar Houli (Richmond)
A week after setting a career-high for disposals in a game, Houli bettered it by one on Friday night against North Melbourne, winning 38 possessions to be his side’s best.
Wing – Josh Kelly (Greater Western Sydney)
Ran amok along the wings at Giants Stadium on Saturday against Gold Coast, collecting 36 touches, 14 of them contested, taking seven marks, laying five tackles and booting a goal. Amazingly, I feel that he is going under the radar in 2019.
Centre – Nat Fyfe (Fremantle)
The skipper was the architect of Fremantle’s shock win over Collingwood at the MCG, amassing 32 possessions, half of them contested along with six clearances, taking six marks and laying four tackles. Get the feeling that Fyfe and his Dockers will be playing in September this year.
Wing – Andrew Gaff (West Coast)
Another man who will be featuring in finals this season is Andrew Gaff, who will be hoping to make up for his absence in West Coast’s premiership victory last year.
Gaff silenced the critics of his game with a brilliant performance against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday, collecting 36 touches at 77 per cent efficiency and taking eight marks.
Half Forward – Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide)
Returned to form after an uncharacteristically quiet start to the 2019 season, not helped by a broken hand suffered in Round 6.
Against the Saints in Shanghai, Gray won 28 disposals, 19 of them contested along with eight clearances, took four marks, laid five tackles and slotted three goals in a 70-point rout.
Centre Half Forward – Jeremy Cameron (Greater Western Sydney)
Extended his lead at the top of the Coleman Medal race with five majors on Saturday afternoon against a hapless Gold Coast Suns outfit. Also collected 20 touches and took eight grabs.
Half Forward – Tom Lynch (Adelaide)
Is arguably Adelaide’s most important player and he showed it on Saturday night in Darwin, winning 26 possessions, taking 13 marks and booting three goals in a polished display.
Forward Pocket – Jack Darling (West Coast)
Was the main beneficiary of a powerful display from the reigning premiers against the Western Bulldogs, winning 15 touches, taking six grabs and, for the second time in his career, slotted six majors.
Full Forward – Ben Brown (North Melbourne)
The gun Kangaroo was in fine form on Friday night, taking six marks and booting five goals. Kicked three majors in a row across the third and fourth quarters to stamp North Melbourne’s ascendancy on the contest.
Forward Pocket – Michael Walters (Fremantle)
For the second week in a row the Dockers star was the match-winner up forward.
Last week he kicked a behind after the siren to win the game against Brisbane. On Saturday against Collingwood at the MCG, Walters got on the end of a tumbling torpedo kick from Nat Fyfe, before slotting a goal to put Fremantle four points ahead with 30 seconds remaining on the clock.
It was one of two goals he kicked to go with his 24 possessions, six marks and three tackles.
Ruckman – Matthew Kreuzer (Carlton)
‘The Tractor’ was at his bulldozing best on Sunday afternoon against Essendon in trying conditions at the MCG. Got the ball 22 times, just two off his personal best, while he took three marks, laid three tackles, won 32 hitouts and kicked one of Carlton’s four goals.
Ruck Rover – Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong)
Arguably best on ground in a professional win by the Cats on Saturday against Sydney. Collected 29 disposals, 19 of them contested, won eight clearances, took four marks, laid three tackles and booted two goals.
Rover – Stephen Coniglio (Greater Western Sydney)
The best individual performance of the round and quite possibly the year, Coniglio’s numbers against Gold Coast were simply outstanding. Had 36 touches at 83 per cent efficiency, took 13 grabs, laid eight tackles and booted three goals in a massive win for the GWS Giants.
Interchange – Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood)
Can hold his head high after Saturday’s performance against Fremantle, amassing 29 possessions, 14 of them contested, winning six clearances, laying eight tackles and slotting two goals.
Interchange – Dylan Clarke (Essendon)
In just his second match and his first of the season, eyebrows were raised when the 20-year-old Clarke was sent to line-up against Carlton star Patrick Cripps on Sunday afternoon at the MCG.
What followed was a well-disciplined performance from the young Bomber, who wore the Blues’ co-captain like a glove for the whole game.
Cripps managed just 11 touches, his lowest tally in a full match, while Clarke finished with 23 possessions, four marks and 10 tackles.
While not offensively damaging, it was truly a match-winning performance.
Interchange – Travis Boak (Port Adelaide)
One player who loves heading over to China is the former Port Adelaide skipper, who continued his outstanding year on Sunday against St Kilda.
Picked up 33 possessions, 13 of them contested, won seven clearances, took four marks, laid six tackles and booted two goals.
Interchange – Jarryd Lyons (Brisbane)
An underrated member of the Brisbane on-ball brigade, the former Sun and Crow is having a very good year and it continued on Saturday night against Hawthorn.
Lyons collected 33 disposals, 13 of them contested, won eight clearances, took eight grabs and laid four tackles.
Emergency – Ben Cunnington (North Melbourne)
Continued his brilliant campaign on Friday night against the Tigers with 31 slick possessions at 87 per cent efficiency, 20 of them contested along with nine clearances, while the North number 10 laid four tackles.
Emergency – Bradley Hill (Fremantle)
Has hit some sensational form over the past fortnight, with Hill winning 29 disposals at 75% efficiency and kicking two goals. A big reason why the Dockers are sitting just outside the top eight on percentage only.
Emergency – Brad Crouch (Adelaide)
Super performance from the eldest Crouch brother against Melbourne in Darwin on Saturday night. Led the charge for the Crows in a come-from-behind win with 29 touches, 13 of them contested, seven clearances, three marks, five tackles and, importantly, three majors, including the goal to put Adelaide in front late in the game.
Emergency – Michael Hurley (Essendon)
Desperately unlucky not to make the team after his 28 disposals and 12 marks against Carlton in wet conditions at the MCG. Led an Essendon defence that kept the Blues to just four goals for the afternoon.
FB: Harris Andrews (Brisbane), Robbie Tarrant (North Melbourne), Brayden Maynard (Collingwood)
HB: Connor Blakely (Fremantle), Mark Blicavs (Geelong), Bachar Houli (Richmond)
C: Josh Kelly (Greater Western Sydney), Nat Fyfe (Fremantle), Andrew Gaff (West Coast)
HF: Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide), Jeremy Cameron (Greater Western Sydney), Tom Lynch (Adelaide)
FF: Jack Darling (West Coast), Ben Brown (North Melbourne), Michael Walters (Fremantle)
R: Matthew Kreuzer (Carlton), Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong), Stephen Coniglio (Greater Western Sydney)
I/C: Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood), Dylan Clarke (Essendon), Travis Boak (Port Adelaide), Jarryd Lyons (Brisbane)
EMG: Ben Cunnington (North Melbourne), Bradley Hill (Fremantle), Brad Crouch (Adelaide), Michael Hurley (Essendon)
Adelaide: Lynch (1)
Brisbane: Andrews, Lyons (2)
Carlton: Kreuzer (1)
Collingwood: Maynard, Pendlebury (2)
Essendon: Clarke (1)
Fremantle: Blakely, Fyfe, Walters (3)
Geelong: Blicavs, Dangerfield (2)
Gold Coast: Nil (0)
Greater Wester Sydney: Kelly, Cameron, Coniglio (3)
Hawthorn: Nil (0)
Melbourne: Nil (0)
North Melbourne: Tarrant, Brown (2)
Port Adelaide: R.Gray, Boak (2)
Richmond: Houli (1)
St Kilda: Nil (0)
Sydney: Nil (0)
West Coast: Gaff, Darling (2)
Western Bulldogs: Nil (0)