The Western Bulldogs are about to be let off their hard quarantine leash but Easton Wood doesn’t plan on stretching his freedoms beyond enjoying a coffee on the beach.
Yes, Dusty got concussed but can someone tell the media that eight other games were played?
Anyway, there were other games on and plenty of players who went under the radar over the weekend and here is their rightful write-up.
Adelaide – Brodie Smith
Having a career-best year, the free running and elite user of the footy was one of the only Adelaide defenders who didn’t crumble under the duress the Hawks gave in the second half, even the coaching tactic of ‘long down the line’ late was strange.
Smith had 20 disposals at 80 per cent efficiency but why he’s such a weapon is the fact he had five rebound 50s and inside 50s as well. A game second high 729 metres gained as well for the ‘run 20, kick 50’ type defender.
Brisbane – Oscar McInerney
Another one who’s stats won’t read just how his influence was. The Big O was under the microscope this week with a potential ankle injury but got through the week and then had a terrific battle with Marc Pittonet.
The personal hitout count was 33-32 in favour of the Lion but his goal came at a critical time, had himself eight clearances and even had three rebounds to take the chocolates, as did Brisbane.
Carlton – Jacob Weitering
A victim at times of poor midfield pressure by men also wearing navy blue jerseys, Weitering and teammate Liam Jones have been in ripping form and the reigning best and fairest winner shone again.
17 kicks among 21 disposals at 71 per cent for the full back, had an insane eleven rebound 50s, took seven marks, laid four tackles and had four score involvements as well. However, his eleven contested possessions was what was most impressive.
Collingwood – Darcy Cameron
This isn’t an underrated to Darcy, Collingwood or anyone else, this is a Channel Seven underrated.
This man had 22 disposals (ten contested), ten marks (four contested), had seven score involvements, kicked 3.1 and had himself three clearances and yet got next to no fanfare in comparison to some teammates who didn’t have the same impact, was astonishing.
Essendon – Jayden Laverde
Tasked with manning Brody Mihocek for most of the afternoon, Laverde had one of if not his best career game on Anzac Day and wouldn’t be surprised if he polled on Brownlow night.
21 disposals (17 kicks) at a brilliant 90per cent efficiency, took an equal game high thirteen marks (two contested), eleven intercepts and 359 metres, while keeping Mihocek to a goal.
Fremantle – Andrew Brayshaw
David Mundy looks like he could play 300 more games, if Nat Fyfe could kick straight could be back to Brownlow form and Caleb Serong further proving he’s a star, Brayshaw came under some criticism after in consecutive weeks, Ed Curnow and James Worpel kept him very quiet by his standards.
When Kayne Turner went to Andy B, you’d be forgiven for thinking he was in strife again but worked through it and then some; his night reading 31 disposals (ten contested), nine score involvements, eight marks, six tackles, three clearances, four inside 50s and three rebounds. A good night for the former number two pick for sure.
Geelong – Lachie Henderson
In a post-Harry Taylor world down at the Cattery, you’d be forgiven thinking that the former Lion and Blue might be next out of the door but with a performance like that, might be harder than first thought.
Had the pill 19 times at 94 per cent efficiency which included thirteen kicks, Henderson also kicked two goals, took eleven marks, had five score involvements and three rebounds. On an elite day for an elite Geelong on Saturday, Henderson won’t get the experts love but he’s got it here.
Gold Coast – Ben Ainsworth
Could’ve raffled a few among this spot but I love celebrating a goal kicker and while Ben King’s bag should, is and deserves to be lauded, this young man’s day does also.
The boy from the Gippsland Power had 20 disposals at 70per cent efficiency, kicked 3.1, had six score involvements, took nine marks and had four inside 50s. On another note, Gold Coast need to lobby to play home games during the day, they look ten times slicker.
GWS – Sam Taylor
With the Bulldogs’ centre square work genuinely destroying the Giants at times – especially in the second half – and the defence of the Giants could’ve been almost forgiven for conceding a ton of goals.
However, Taylor showed once again why he’s one of the best young key defenders in the competition, with his 17 touches and eight marks. Whilst Aaron Naughton and Josh Bruce both hit the scoreboard, in the first three quarters, Taylor held his own and then some, given the midfield dominance by the Dogs.
Hawthorn – James Worpel
The 2019 Peter Crimmins Medal winner has had a tough time getting back to form with Jaeger O’Meara in career-best form and Tom Mitchell back in the side, he’s had a run with role with Andrew Brayshaw to some success but has struggled.
Playing a centre bounce/kick behind the ball role on Sunday, Worpel could have found a new contested bull to help the rebounding defenders run and dash, the future captain had 18 touches (ten contested), six score involvements, five tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s.
Melbourne – Luke Jackson
Many think Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver or Christian Petracca could be winning the Brownlow Medal at this stage of the year, this youngster is blossoming in front of our eyes and proved that talls should be taken early if talented before Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Riley Thilthorpe and Logan McDonald did it last year, along with Lance Franklin and Jarryd Roughead before them.
In wet conditions not suiting a tall, Jackson went at 100 (yes, one hundred!) per cent efficiency from his 18 touches which included two opportunistic goals, eight score involvements, five marks and tackles, a dozen hitouts and even a couple of clearances, the Dees cop some flack for poor drafting in the past but they nailed the third pick in 2019.
North Melbourne – Jaidyn Stephenson
Now that we as fans can almost move past Collingwood’s off season, Stephenson has been a battler in the opening five games of his career at North and was one of a shining lights at the folks from Arden Street.
The only multiple goal-kicker for North over in Perth, Stephenson had 18 touches, had five score involvements, took five grabs and had four inside 50s, the former Pie’s heart is back into his footy it seems.
Port Adelaide – Ryan Burton
The man some non-Port fans will know as ‘the guy who was traded for Wingard’, when local lad Burton has been fit, he’s put together some good footy and against a deplorable St.Kilda, he put them to the sword and then some.
Finished the day with 28 touches at a piercing 82 per cent efficiency, took eleven marks and had five rebounds as the premiership contender strolled on their merry way.
Richmond – Liam Baker
The Tigers were exposed across across a few facets of the ground on Saturday and the champions from Punt Road didn’t put up a whole lot of fight back, the nuggety Western Australian put his body on the line time and time again.
While plenty of Richmond’s smalls kept having their tackles broken, Baker did have three but his ability to keep rebounding was most impressive. 70 per cent efficiency from 27 touches in the wet is fantastic and seven marks showed his ‘body on the line’ approach.
St.Kilda – Rowan Marshall
If there was one man who was key to not be injured at St.Kilda, fans would point at this man as a top three for sure and his return showed how important he is (shame about 17 of his teammates didn’t turn up).
The ruckman finished with 16 touches (13 contested), 23 hitouts, eight marks (five contested), a second team high seven tackles and a goal, the Saints will cop it during the week but Marshall can leave his head up high.
Sydney – Ollie Florent
Having a career best season, some of the young Swans look tired and that the game is catching up but the experienced body of Florent is going from strength to strength in a career best season.
The gun wingman had 23 disposals on Saturday (seven contested), took six grabs, five inside 50s, three rebounds, four score involvements and kicked a goal. Bad day for the Swans, good day for Ollie.
West Coast – Jack Darling
Statistically, Darling’s day won’t read as amazingly as previous games even in 2021 but in conditions that absolutely did not suit his style, he stood up when many teammates didn’t.
A dozen disposals and 1.2 that should have been two or three, he took an equal game high eight marks (four contested), laid four tackles and had five score involvements.
Western Bulldogs – Hayden Crozier
In just his second game of the year, Crozier adds elite size, composure and footy IQ to the Dogs’ defence, shown again on Friday night.
While he didn’t grab the footy like their midfield or provide the forward highlights of an Aaron Naughton, Crozier did his role and then some.
11 kicks among 14 disposals and going at 85per cent, Crozier took nine marks (two contested), laid four tackles and had four rebounds, along with three score involvements. The Dogs’ defence is their perceived weakness but the former Docker is a gem.