Geelong have painted themselves into a corner and there’s only one way out: win!
The first of the three mid-season bye rounds has concluded, let’s take a look at the Team of the Week from Round 12.
Back pocket – Nick Haynes (Greater Western Sydney)
Played a vital role as the loose man in defence for the Giants in their loss to the Crows on Saturday night. Hauled in ten grabs to go with his 19 disposals, using it at 78 per cent efficiency.
Full back – Dane Rampe (Sydney)
Had the daunting task of manning West Coast star Josh Kennedy and, despite conceding two early goals, kept him to just one more for the remainder of the game.
The Sydney co-captain was also terrific offensively, racking up an equal career-high 32 possessions, using it at a very dangerous 93 per cent efficiency and taking seven marks.
Back pocket – Tom Stewart (Geelong)
Continued his brilliant season in defence for the Cats with a superb role against the Tigers on Friday night. Spent most of the night on premiership forward Jacob Townsend, who had just three touches, with Stewart ending the game with 27 touches and nine grabs.
Half back – Jake Lloyd (Sydney)
Provided plenty of offensive rebound from the backline for the Swans in their big win over West Coast on Sunday afternoon. Beat his previous career-high for disposals with 42, while he took nine marks and laid three tackles.
Centre half back – Jacob Weitering (Carlton)
The former number one draft pick was sensational for the Blues in their come-from-behind victory over the Lions on Saturday.
Helped weather the early storm from Brisbane, then provided a clear head under pressure as Carlton began their comeback. Finished with 16 possessions and nine grabs.
Half back – Jarrod Harbrow (Gold Coast)
Played his best game of the season on Saturday against North Melbourne, winning 27 disposals at 77 per cent efficiency and taking five marks.
Wing – Jared Polec (North Melbourne)
After a steady start to life as a Kangaroo, Polec’s form has lifted considerably over the past month. Amassed 28 touches in Saturday’s win over Gold Coast, which is his best effort in the blue and white, while he took six marks and booted a goal.
Centre – Ed Curnow (Carlton)
While most of the talk will centre around his co-captain teammate, Ed Curnow’s role in Carlton’s win on Saturday was very-much match-winning. With Lachie Neale dominating in the first half, Curnow went to the former Docker after the main break, keeping him to just six more touches.
Curnow finished with 30 disposals, 11 of them contested, eight clearances, four marks and nine tackles.
Wing – Adam Treloar (Collingwood)
Was prolific in Collingwood’s win over Melbourne on Queen’s Birthday, racking up 34 possessions, making six tackles and kicking a goal. Was awarded the Neale Daniher Trophy as best on ground.
Half forward – Patrick Cripps (Carlton)
A week after we saw Stephen Coniglio provide the best individual performance of the season, Cripps put forth his nomination with a dazzling display against the Brisbane Lions.
Led a brilliant fightback in David Teague’s first game as coach, finishing with 38 disposals, 16 of them contested, eight clearances, seven marks and four crucial goals, a career-high.
Centre half forward – Lance Franklin (Sydney)
Speaking of dazzling, the champion Swan played easily his best game of a stuttering season so far against West Coast on Sunday. Collected 18 touches, took nine marks and had nine scoring shots, finishing with five majors including a spectacular goal after the final siren from 50 metres out on the boundary line.
Half forward – Gary Ablett (Geelong)
Fresh from a one-week suspension, Ablett was terrific in Geelong’s huge win over Richmond on Friday night. Had 24 possessions, took six marks, kicked two goals and, impressively, laid seven tackles.
Forward pocket – Tom Papley (Sydney)
Enjoyed a career-high day against the Eagles on Sunday, finishing with 27 disposals, seven marks and 5.2 in Sydney’s 45 point victory.
Full forward – Tom Hawkins (Geelong)
Hawkins has been a picture of consistency in 2019, especially over the past five weeks. Since Round 8, Hawkins has kicked four goals in each match, including last Friday night against the Tigers.
Is now up to 35 majors for the season, sitting second behind Jeremy Cameron in the Coleman medal race.
Forward pocket – Jaidyn Stephenson (Collingwood)
Seemed like he was everywhere on the Queen’s Birthday against Melbourne, especially early. Could have had a monster day but his impact was reduced due to goalkicking inaccuracy. Finished with 19 touches, nine marks, three tackles and 3.3.
Ruckman – Max Gawn (Melbourne)
In the heavyweight battle of the season, Gawn took the chocolates against Brodie Grundy on Monday despite the Magpies winning the game.
Had 34 possessions, which is incredible for a ruckman, including 19 contested touches, ten clearances, took five grabs and laid three tackles to go with his 33 hitouts.
Ruck rover – Ben Cunnington (North Melbourne)
Has been one of the most consistent performers across the league this season and it continued on Saturday at Metricon Stadium against Gold Coast.
Amassed 31 disposals, 23 of them contested, won 14 clearances and took four marks. Is up to third in the AFL Coaches Association player of the year award behind Tim Kelly and Patrick Cripps.
Rover – Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong)
Was sensational in Geelong’s impressive win over the Tigers on Friday night, collecting 38 possessions, 17 of them contested, taking seven marks, laying nine tackles and booting a goal.
Interchange – Tim Taranto (Greater Western Sydney)
Was the best player on the ground during Greater Western Sydney’s loss to Adelaide on Saturday night, finishing with 36 touches, 16 contested, seven clearances, five marks, seven tackles and a goal.
Interchange – Sam Walsh (Carlton)
Was given more of an inside role on Saturday at Marvel Stadium and it resulted in arguably the best game of his short career thus far against Brisbane.
Had 32 possessions, 14 of them contested at 81 per cent efficiency, took 12 marks and laid four tackles.
Interchange – Tim Kelly (Geelong)
One of the Brownlow Medal favourites will likely feature in the votes for his performance against Richmond this round, with Kelly collecting 32 possessions, 12 of them contested, taking nine grabs, laying three tackles and kicking a goal.
Interchange – Matt Crouch (Adelaide)
Was arguably Adelaide’s best player in a very even team performance against the Giants on Saturday night. Amassed 34 disposals, 14 contested, won six clearances, took seven marks and laid three tackles.
Emergency – Jack Ziebell (North Melbourne)
In game 200, the North Melbourne skipper battled two separate knocks to the head but it didn’t stop him from being arguably best on ground.
Finished the game with 28 touches, 15 of them contested, eight clearances, four marks, ten tackles and two goals. Moving him back into the middle of the ground has been a masterstroke.
Emergency – Gryan Miers (Geelong)
One of the leading contenders for the Rising Star enhanced his chances with a very solid performance against the Tigers on Friday night. Collected 21 disposals, took four marks and finished with three goals.
Emergency – Reilly O’Brien (Adelaide)
It was the old versus new in the ruck on Saturday night at the Adelaide Oval, with young Crow O’Brien taking on the wily veteran Shane Mumford from the Giants, and it was the former who took the points.
Finished with 29 hitouts and nine clearances and was particularly important during a tense final quarter.
Emergency – Josh Kelly (Greater Western Sydney)
Continued his terrific campaign with another starring display on Saturday night against Adelaide. Had 34 possessions, took five grabs, laid four tackles and got forward to kick two goals.
FB: Nick Haynes (Greater Western Sydney), Dane Rampe (Sydney), Tom Stewart (Geelong)
HB: Jake Lloyd (Sydney), Jacob Weitering (Carlton), Jarrod Harbrow (Gold Coast)
C: Jared Polec (North Melbourne), Ed Curnow (Carlton), Adam Treloar (Collingwood)
HF: Patrick Cripps (Carlton), Lance Franklin (Sydney), Gary Ablett (Geelong)
FF: Tom Papley (Sydney), Tom Hawkins (Geelong), Jaidyn Stephenson (Collingwood)
R: Max Gawn (Melbourne), Ben Cunnington (North Melbourne), Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong)
I/C: Tim Taranto (Greater Western Sydney), Sam Walsh (Carlton), Tim Kelly (Geelong), Matt Crouch (Adelaide)
EMG: Jack Ziebell (North Melbourne), Gryan Miers (Geelong), Reilly O’Brien (Adelaide), Josh Kelly (Greater Western Sydney)
Adelaide: M.Crouch (1)
Brisbane: Nil (0)
Carlton: Weitering, E.Curnow, Cripps, Walsh (4)
Collingwood: Treloar, Stephenson (2)
Geelong: Stewart, Ablett, Hawkins, Dangerfield, Kelly (5)
Gold Coast: Harbrow (1)
Greater Western Sydney: Haynes, Taranto (2)
Melbourne: Gawn (1)
North Melbourne: Polec, Cunnington (2)
Richmond: Nil (0)
Sydney: Rampe, Lloyd, Franklin, Papley (4)
West Coast: Nil (0)
Essendon, Fremantle, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs had the bye.