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Your club's underrated performer: Round 9

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Roar Guru
16th May, 2021
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In the realm of AFL football the stars are brought into direct traffic through social media, but how about the guys who aren’t given the clout that they perhaps need? Well, here is it after Round 9.

Adelaide Crows: Paul Seedsman
An absolute lock for the underrated All Australian squad – released midyear, to come out at Round 12, so stay tuned. On the wing he is genuinely dominating and has been ultra-consistent.

In a young side going down on the road, Seedsman didn’t take a backwards step in his 22-disposal, five-score involvement, with five marks, five inside 50, three rebounds, three tackles and 388 metres gained.

Brisbane Lions: Lincoln McCarthy
Now, the former Cat did take a special speccy, but his work all over the ground was absolutely extraordinary in his 50th game.

If you haven’t seen it, watch his field kick to Charlie Cameron on his opposite foot. It’s absolutely extraordinary, but the fan favourite had 13 touches, kicked a couple of goals, had four score involvements, four tackles and a couple of clearances and inside 50s. McCarthy also took five grabs, including two contested, one being the screamer.

Carlton Blues: Nic Newman
It’s not the last time this will come up, but having a guy come back from an injury and performing is unlikely, but after as long out as Newman has been, this was genuinely bonkers.


Newman gathered 20 touches at 70 per cent efficiency in his return and had nine rebound 50s. He also gained 447 metres for the Blues, laid five tackles and had 82 per cent game time, which was really pleasing.

Collingwood Magpies: Will Hoskin-Elliott
I’ve written in the past about how he’s clogging a spot in Collingwood’s best 22, and I still think he’s trade bait for sure, but Will deserves a lot of credit for his performance.

He had 23 touches, took ten marks and had six inside 50s, five clearances, four score involvements and four tackles on the day. He was one of, if not the Pies’ best.

Essendon Bombers: Andrew McGrath
Darcy Parish was and should be the talk of the town at Tullamarine. The man’s been criticised for not being as good as Tim Taranto or Hugh McCluggage – the men taken in the two picks after him – but that’s unfair, because he’s a bloody good talent in his own right.

A cheeky 27 disposals (ten contested) along with laying eight tackles and having 24 pressure acts, he got involved in six score involvements and had four inside 50s, three clearances and three rebounds in a genuinely terrific performance.

Andrew McGrath

Andrew McGrath (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Fremantle Dockers: Adam Cerra
In a game back from an injury it would be naive to think any player could come back instantly and be amazing, but alas clubs are circling Cerra, and performances like this is absolutely why.

He had 28 disposals (nine contested) at 78 per cent efficiency, five inside 50s, seven score involvements and four clearances and took four marks (one contested). Whether you think the money floated is worth it, anyone can understand why they’re chasing this young man.


Geelong Cats: Isaac Smith
In some sort of form that wasn’t at Hawthorn in his last two years, Smith has returned to being a fully fledged winger, covering territory without the footy in unbelievable fashion and great with the ball in hand.

He had 20 kicks among 27 disposals, found space to clunk down 11 marks and had four inside 50s and four rebounds to show how he’s covering the ground. There were a cheeky 482 metres gained as well for the man from New South Wales.

Gold Coast Suns: David Swallow
Not one Suns player will be spoken about in glowing terms after that performance, but their best on the day and the most loyal clubman they’ve ever had deserves his rightful love.

Swallow had a team-high 29 touches, including 13 contested, and went at 72 per cent efficiency. He added five clearances, five inside 50s, four score involvements, four tackles and three rebounds in a display consistent with the rugged class he’s conducted himself with for his whole career.

David Swallow

David Swallow (Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Greater Western Sydney Giants: Isaac Cumming
The man with the best name in footy, this silky smooth halfback is going to be a 200-plus game servant of the Giants, and rightly so.

He had 20 touches against the Tigers and used it at 80 per cent efficiency. He also had five score involvements, took four marks, laid four tackles and had four rebounds. He was forever roaming the defensive end and did it well.

Hawthorn Hawks: James Cousins
Playing a more pressure half-forward role, Cousins was the favourite of David King, but this bloke can be a part of Hawthorn’s future plans.


He had 23 touches at 82 per cent efficiency, had eight score involvements, laid six tackles, took four marks, kicked 2.2 and grabbed himself three forward half clearances. The club is a shambles but Cousins was good.

Melbourne Demons: James Harmes
Harmes has had a beautiful couple of weeks back since he’s come back into the side, and as the Demons improve again to 9-0, their depth is also coming to the fore.

There were 19 disposals from Harmes (11 contested) along with seven tackles and 24 pressure acts. He also had five intercept possessions, three inside 50s, three score involvements and three centre clearances.

James Harmes Melbourne Demons AFL 2017

James Harmes (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

North Melbourne Kangaroos: Todd Goldstein
North fans (and footy fans in general) need to reappreciate just how good Goldy has been not just at the sport but for North Melbourne.

He and Ben Cunnington have been the best clubmen North could’ve asked for, and his midfielders will get all the credit, but his performance comprising 19 disposals (at 78 per cent efficiency), six score involvements, six marks, five inside 50s, three clearances, 28 hitouts and one goal was one of the best for the North Melbourne footy club.

Port Adelaide Power: Darcy Byrne-Jones
Last year’s All Australian and Port Adelaide best and fairest winner, DBJ picked up 24 touches (nine contested) at 79 per cent efficiency. He had six rebound 50s, three inside 50s, three marks and a couple of clearances and tackles.

He also gained 359 metres, had ten intercept possessions, made 17 pressure acts and didn’t have his colours lowered on a day many of his teammates did as well as his club.


Richmond Tigers: Jack Graham
Liam Baker got the attention he deserved the longer the game went on and so missed out here. The little man from Western Australia is a star, but the CEO of the Jack Graham fan club is giving him another wrap.

Playing an inside grunt role, he had 23 touches (ten contested), eight score involvements, seven tackles and three clearances, took three marks and used the football beautifully at 78 per cent efficiency. Give the man the respect he deserves.

Jack Graham of the Tigers in action

Jack Graham (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

St Kilda Saints: Jack Billings
Channel Seven had Patty Ryder as their best Saints player, but this guy was very good on Friday night.

A lazy 100 per cent – yes 100 per cent – efficiency from 20 touches, he took nine marks and gained 384 metres, mainly in the defensive end of the ground, but his defensive game was up to standard as well, with 20 pressure acts and five tackles against the Cats.

Sydney Swans: Tom Hickey
Fresh off being the greatest journeyman since Lewis and Clark, he’s been touted as the best recruit of the year. He’s an honorary member of the List Cloggers podcast’s team of the year, but he was fantastic for the umpteenth time this season.

Hickey found the ball around the ground with 19 touches and used it well at 84 per cent. He also had 16 contested touches, three of marks, all of which were contested, a lazy eight clearances and five inside 50s, and he also kicked a point.

West Coast Eagles: Jamie Cripps
He hasn’t been in the greatest form in the last 18 months, but Cripps had a season-best performance on Sunday in a good win for the Eagles.


For a high half-forward flanker he found plenty of it, with 25 touches at 80 per cent efficiency. He had 11 score involvements, took ten marks, had eight inside 50s and kicked a tight goal as well. Well played.

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Western Bulldogs: Cody Weightman
What a day for the Dogs. If you don’t believe in the Dogs now, you’re crazy, frankly. With the midfield again firing and Aaron Naughton dominating the scoreboard, we witnessed an exciting small forward’s launching pad.

Weightman was a first-round pick in 2019 and showed why, with his dozen touches, six score involvements, five tackles, 14 pressure acts and 205 metres gained. He kicked 3.2, including the sealer, over his head.