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Your club's underrated performer: Round 11

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Roar Guru
30th May, 2021
7
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We are officially halfway through the season, which is genuinely bonkers, but alas we’re another week down with more performances under the radar from social media, experts and commentators.

Also, keep an eye out on Thursday for the underrated team of the midyear, which I’m sure will bring a lot of comments.

Adelaide Crows: Ned McHenry
The Crows took it up to Richmond at almost every step and the toughness of their midfielders really got to the Tigers, especially early, and McHenry was terrific.

The man from Barwon Heads had 19 touches on Sunday (seven contested), was involved in six scores, took four marks, laid four tackles and had four inside 50s. McHenry is a young, energetic bull and Crows fans love him.

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Brisbane Lions: Rhys Mathieson
The Lions put their foot on the Giants’ throat and didn’t let up, even though a few stars weren’t at their best. However, my namesake and the ‘Barometer’ went to a good level on Saturday afternoon.

He finished with 20 disposals (11 contested), took six marks, laid six tackles, had five clearances and executed a beautiful 23 pressure acts.

Carlton Blues: Sam Docherty
Another repeat entry in this segment, Carlton’s co-captain again had another good game on Sunday in a spirited Blues performance. Docherty gathered 21 disposals (15 kicks), took eight marks, had five rebound 50s, used the football in an elite fashion at 80 per cent and had 334 metres gained.

Collingwood Magpies: Trent Bianco
Looking for positives in the first three quarters for Collingwood was genuinely difficult, but like Caleb Poulter and medical sub Finlay Macrae, the Pies have a good young one here.

Leading the disposals for Collingwood at quarter-time with eight, Bianco finished with 19 touches at 78 per cent efficiency. He also finished with six score involvements and five inside 50s, and he laid three tackles and even had a clearance. That’s a big tick for the youngster.

Essendon Bombers: Dyson Heppell
The skipper’s got the haircut and the new halfback role, and like North Melbourne’s leader Jack Ziebell, criticism has come for being slow, but Heppell was both damaging and composed on Saturday night in one of (if not) the wins of the season.

Dyson Heppell of the Bombers in action

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

He had 22 disposals at 90 per cent efficiency (eight contested), took nine marks, laid half a dozen tackles, had three rebounds and three inside 50s, gained 408 metres and showed a lot of leadership down back.

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Fremantle Dockers: David Mundy
From leading the Brownlow (apparently) to now just an appreciation of just how much of a star he is (and has been), getting every single footy fan to agree on anything is more miraculous than the reason we have Easter – but loving David Mundy is what we all do.

On Sunday he gathered 25 disposals (nine contested for the old boy), had eight score involvements, six clearances, three tackles, three inside 50s and three marks, and kicked a goal. Superstar.

Geelong Cats: Tom Atkins
I’ve really loved what Atkins has done this year From going from pressure forward to rebounding defender with elite one-on-one capabilities, he’s brought more stability to the Cats backline that was already strong.

A steady 17 disposals from Atkins along with seven marks, four score involvements and a couple of inside 50s and rebounds, he went at 76 per cent and should’ve kicked a really classy goal but pushed it right.

Gold Coast Suns: Oleg Markov
Gold Coast overwhelmed Hawthorn with their pace and precise ball movement starting on halfback, and while most of the credit went to Jack Lukosius, former Tiger Markov was unbelievable on Saturday night.

He got himself 21 disposals at the SCG at 85 per cent efficiency, took seven marks, had five rebounds, had three inside 50s, laid three tackles, including a goal-saving tackle, had three score involvements and gained 546 metres.

Oleg Markov

(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Greater Western Sydney Giants: Isaac Cumming
Spoiler alert: he will make the midyear underrated team – watch for that on Thursday – and was unbelievable on Saturday too. Cumming had 28 disposals (20 kicks) and went at a fantastic 89 per cent efficiency across the halfback line. He took a dozen marks (two contested) and had five score involvements, four rebounds and three inside 50s.

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Hawthorn Hawks: Dylan Moore
Having a sneakily good career year, Moore transitioned from a month of being just a small forward to now being a high half-forward flanker with a good tank.

In a disappointing team performance from the Hawkes, Moore had 18 disposals and scored 2.2 came, but eight marks (overhead was a feature), eight score involvements, three tackles (all inside 50), three inside 50s, 17 pressure acts and 346 metres gained was a great night for a good up-and-coming player.

Melbourne Demons: Alex Neal-Bullen
The man known as Hyphen is the epitome of a role player – he may never be a superstar but has a task or a job to perform, and he performed on Friday night. He was the link-up chain similar to Adelaide’s Tom Lynch with 15 touches (12 kicks), seven marks and five score involvements, and he had three inside 50s and laid three tackles. Aren’t these Dees flying!

North Melbourne Kangaroos: Luke Davies-Uniacke
The Chris Judd comparisons have hindered more than helped his career, but LDU has been in good form over the last month and deserves some plaudits.

On Saturday, North scrapped and hung with St Kilda for a lot of the way, and LDU had 23 touches, went at 73 per cent, took five marks, laid five tackles and had four clearances, three inside 50s and a couple of rebounds, showing his ability to cover the ground.

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Port Adelaide Power: Peter Ladhams
Sydney wanted Ladhams as a part of the Aliir Aliir deal, and since Scott Lycett’s suspension he has stepped up and, against a hugely in-form opponent in Sean Darcy, beat him.

Twenty disposals for a ruckman is elite, and that’s what he had, with nine contested possessions, 21 hitouts, six score involvements, five inside 50s, four clearances and marks, three tackles and 90 per cent efficiency. Yes, he’s a ruckman. Yes, clubs need to look at him.

Richmond Tigers: Nathan Broad
The Tigers have lost some personnel over the course of 2021, but one thing is for sure: Broad will forever give 110 per cent no matter what, and he did it again on Sunday.

Broad had 21 touches (18 kicks) and used it at 85 per cent efficiency. He took an elite four contested marks among ten for the game and had five rebound 50s, three score involvements and 514 metres gained, which ranked him second for the Tigers.

St Kilda Saints: Patty Ryder
Having no crowd and two teams who aren’t travelling well meant this game slipped a lot of people by, but Ryder’s battle with North ruckman Todd Goldstein was a fantastic one to watch.

Ryder himself had 11 touches (nine contested) and 33 hitouts along with half a dozen clearances. He took four marks (two contested), had five score involvements and had three inside 50s in a good veteran performance.

Sydney Swans: Luke Parker
Shoutout to Josh Kennedy, who featured last week and was a whisker away from being a back-to-back feature, but alas we arrive at the other senior midfielder at the Swans despite him not being 29 yet.

Parker is the most underrated Swan of all time for mine, and his performance was fantastic, featuring 23 disposals (15 contested), eight clearances to dominate the middle of the ground, six tackles, six inside 50s and six score involvements along with a goal. My gosh, this man is a star.

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Luke Parker

(Cameron Spencer/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

West Coast Eagles: Josh Rotham
Anyone hanging onto a lot of optimism about West Coast’s premiership chances should just about be jumping off after going from 29 points ahead at home to being overwhelmed by a hungry and young Essendon side – but just by the way, they’ve got one in Josh Rotham.

Rotham’s year has been terrific, and on Saturday night he had 20 disposals (six contested), took 11 marks down back, had eight rebounds and went at 95 per cent efficiency. By all means be upset if you’re an Eagles supporter, but it can’t be at him.

Western Bulldogs: Hayden Crozier
This isn’t his first appearance in this segment, and the former Docker had to be in everything on Friday given the territory battle that Melbourne dominated for the night.

Crozier’s night was a good one that read 26 disposals (18 kicks), seven contested possessions, nine marks, four score involvements, three rebound 50s, three tackles and 505 metres gained, the second most on the ground.

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