With another round of footy in the books and the same old names being getting brought up by the media and the footy masses alike, time to take a look at those who played out of their skin and didn’t get the love they deserve.
Adelaide – Lachie Sholl
Fresh off a NAB Rising Star nomination last week, some players can be a one-game-wonder and others can still perform and this young man can still perform.
Another gem from the 2018 draft, Sholl had 23 disposals at 78 per cent efficiency, took eight marks, had six rebounds, four inside 50s and even kicked a goal himself. The Crows lost one they shouldn’t have and it wasn’t due to Sholl.
Brisbane – Lincoln McCarthy
From an injury-ravaged Cat to a depth player at Brisbane, a crucial half forward cog in a finals team and now he’s a consistently good player up north. In wet conditions in Brisbane, the Lions took the Bombers apart.
Nineteen touches (12 contested), at 73 per cent, a game-high 11 tackles, four marks, four score involvements and two goals was a fantastic performance.
Carlton – Jack Newnes
Featuring for a second time this season, the former Saint is having his most consistent season and it showed again in a bad night for the Blues.
Newnes had 16 touches at 81 per cent and kicked a goal but his work across the ground was most impressive. Eight marks, six score involvements and three tackles capped off his evening.
Collingwood – Beau McCreery
Brayden Maynard fought bravely, skipper Scott Pendlebury had good moments, Brodie Grundy returned to form and although Jack Crisp had some nightmare moments and worked himself silly, I’m using this to give some acknowledgment to a promising youngster.
Looking like Darcy Moore on Wish, the pick 41 from last season’s draft looks a talent, is a beautiful goal-kicker (two goals) and has good speed. The Pies unleashed debutant Finlay Macrae who looked comfortable but this young man in game three looks like he’s a good one.
Essendon – Kyle Langford
Often a whipping boy for Essendon fans, they were blown out of the water and although he had a moment or two that weren’t great, Langford wasn’t why Essendon lost.
He had 27 disposals, five marks, five tackles, four inside 50s, three clearances and two rebounds on Saturday night – a tick personally. A huge learning experience from a rebuilding Bombers.
Fremantle – Lachie Schultz
More of a soldier than a superstar, Schultz played his half forward role to absolute perfection and was a key cog in the Dockers’ upset win in Adelaide.
The boy from Williamstown had 13 touches, took a very solid nine marks for his size, had three inside 50s and two clever finishes. He will be warmly praised by those in the upper echelon of the Fremantle fraternity.
Geelong – Mark Blicavs
The man who for the first few years of his career was only referred by ‘the almost Olympic runner’ to the point of exhaustion is one hell of a good footballer and although the Cats weren’t great over the Roos, he was very good.
Twenty disposals (half a dozen contested), seven marks (two contested), three inside 50s, three score involvements and 75 per cent efficiency was from the lad from Sunbury’s stat line.
Gold Coast – Jy Farrar
One of the lesser known players in the competition, Farrar came into the Suns side and slotted in very nicely.
On a poor day for the Suns, he had 21 touches at 80 per cent efficiency, eight marks, seven score involvements and three rebounds. He was far from the Suns’ problem.
GWS – Tom Green
Bobby Hill deserved this title but he just couldn’t finish his good work in ways that would have him in line for possible Brownlow votes, so instead, the man who was described as “the next Patrick Cripps” in his draft year gets the nod here.
After being dropped, he came back as the man who finds space, is extremely strong through the hips and makes good decisions. He had 11 contested possessions among 24 touches, used the ball (79 per cent efficiency) brilliantly and had half a dozen clearances. The Giants have a beauty here.
Hawthorn – Ollie Hanrahan
It takes a lot of character to respond after being unceremoniously dropped back to the twos but he responded in fine fashion.
Half a dozen contested possessions among his 14 disposals, kicked the Hawks’ first goal and snagged an opportunity on the goal-line. He had five score involvements and nine pressure acts.
Melbourne – Tom McDonald
Skipper Max Gawn played almost the game of his life, the midfield was fantastic, Jake Lever dominated down back but McDonald went largely unnoticed by the experts, which was a surprise.
Not only did he drop two goals on a poor Hawthorn defence, he took an equal (with Gawn) game-high ten marks, had three inside 50s and two rebounds.
North Melbourne – Aiden Bonar
The former Giant hadn’t really stamped his authority in any games so far but had a career-best outing down at the Cattery.
Beautifully balanced game of disposals (20) and efficiency (90 per cent), had ten contested possessions, took six grabs and three rebounds. For his sake, should keep this form up.
Port Adelaide – Aliir Aliir
This man is in All Australian form. Accept it and since Dan Houston went down with a shoulder injury, he’d be in it now. To quote Ollie Wines post game: “I can’t believe Sydney gave him up as cheap as they did”.
Now, we know it was because of a salary cap issue and Sydney are flying but boy he’s been amazing.
17 touches at 94 per cent efficiency, six marks (two contested), six rebound 50s and three score involvements capped off his great night and on a night that Port sent yet another message to the competition about their depth.
Richmond – Jack Graham
Featuring for the second time is Graham but when Dusty kicked his goal after dodging two opponents, I knew what was going to happen on Instagram and it reminded me why I write this piece weekly.
Jack had 17 touches (seven contested), seven score involvements, a game-high (three more than any other player, double of any other Tiger) dozen tackles, five inside 50s, four clearances and three goals in an insane performance.
St Kilda – Josh Battle
Puns incoming, so brace yourselves. The Saints battled all night but couldn’t stop the Richmond onslaught but it wasn’t for the lack of Battle.
Richmond were joshing with the Saints but Battle’s 19 disposals, eight marks, six rebounds and 84 per cent efficiency made for a good night out for the young tall.
Sydney – Will Hayward
It was the Lance Franklin and Toby Greene show up forwards in the eyes of Twitter, Instagram and Fox but in his first game back in the Bloods, Hayward was fantastic.
From kicking three goals from 18 disposals, to taking marks in defensive 50, having seven contested possessions and eight score involvements, it was a lovely way to return to form.
West Coast – Alex Witherden
The trade steal on paper from last season’s trade period, the former Lion made his debut thanks to Shannon Hurn’s injury and fit in like a hand in a glove.
Taking most of the kick-ins, he also tackled well (four) and had 30 disposals at an astonishing 94 per cent, nine marks, six rebounds and three inside 50s and score involvements. It was an amazing debut for one of the best field kicks in the league.
Western Bulldogs – Alex Keath
The Dogs in their 5-0 run are midfielders first and everyone falls in line but their perceived weakness is their defence and although the Suns are residents of Struggle Street, the former Crow was excellent.
Twenty disposals at 95 per cent efficiency, nine marks, six score involvements and three rebounds is a good day out for a key back and the Doggies storm on to a five and zip start.