The Fremantle Dockers finished 11th on the ladder in 2021 with ten wins and 12 losses.
Two fewer games and yet more underrated performances went under the experts’ nose so we know how this works by now so let’s do it.
Adelaide – Rory Sloane
It’s pretty uncommon for a club captain to end up in this segment and although it won’t go down as Rorza’s best handful of games in his career, he took advantage of all of his opportunities.
A seven disposal last quarter and a big captain’s goal from Rorza was one of the reasons the Crows were able to snatch victory. Riley Thilthorpe deserves a lot of credit but Sloane deserves a lot as well.
Collingwood – Isaac Quaynor
This young man – for his size – is one of the best marks of the footy overhead in the league. He has genuinely sticky hands and although he pulled in ‘just’ the four marks, three of them were contested and in dangerous spots.
Quaynor picked up 15 disposals on Monday (seven contested touches), had five rebounds, three inside 50s, laid three tackles, went at 93 per cent efficiency and had 329 metres gained.
Fremantle – Taylin Duman
We love a rookie here at Underrated HQ and Duman was taken with the third pick in the 2016 Rookie Draft and although has been inconsistent at times, had a ripper performance in one of the more boring games of 2021.
The former Oakleigh Chargers product got himself 22 disposals, used it well at 81per cent, took nine marks (two contested), a couple of rebounds, eight intercept possessions and five one percenters.
Geelong – Brandon Parfitt
The Cats announced themselves as not just a premiership contender, but proof that this is a team that can kill you in many different ways.
They held the ball in the back half and went quickly forward of centre for three quarters before fighting back after Port started like a house on fire and punched the Cats in the face; they punched right back, got key clearances and the two key pillars killed the Power. Tell you who else killed the Power; the boy from North Adelaide.
Parfitt had 17 touches and almost all of them turned to genuine gold; kicked two very good goals, had five score involvements, an elite six clearances (second for the Cats), went at 76per cent and had ten contested possessions.
Gold Coast – David Swallow
One of the most important players in Gold Coast’s history due to his leadership and loyalty, Swallow again had a great performance in a poor side which has been a bit of the story of his 165 game career.
His day on Saturday read thusly; 23 disposals (9 contested possessions), took nine marks, had five score involvements, laid five tackles, five clearances, four rebounds and a couple of inside 50s. He’s a star.
GWS – Callan Ward
Kicked a big goal in the last quarter and stood up in key moments and although 19 disposals isn’t a performance you’d associate with Callan Ward, it was one in which he took advantage of key moments.
Nine contested possessions, five inside 50s, four tackles, four marks, four score involvements, three clearances and 274 metres gained was a very solid outing from a better than solid player.
Hawthorn – Jonathan Ceglar
Seemingly on the scrap heap after some poor form earlier in the year, Ceglar was recalled to the senior side when young ruck gun Ned Reeves rolled his ankle and he took his chance and then some.
In a very good performance by the Hawks (and a really poor one by three particular gentlemen), Ceglar had an elite 20 touches for a ruckman (and a bonkers 19 contested possessions), went at 70 per cent, had a couple of brain fades as ruckmen do but 35 hitouts, a game high eleven clearances, four tackles, two contested marks and a goal.
Melbourne – Luke Jackson
The Dees’ were arrogant and made themselves look a touch silly with their performance but one of only a few Demons players who worked his proverbial off was the 19 year old ruckman.
Jackson had 21 touches (eight contested), kicked two goals among six score involvements, took seven marks, had five inside 50s, half a dozen hit-outs, a couple of clearances and went at 80 per cent efficiency.
North Melbourne – Trent Dumont
North people have wanted Dumont to take that next step and with performances like Sunday, he’s laying the groundwork to hopefully take that step.
Eight contested possessions among 22 on the day, seven marks, three inside 50s, 81 per cent disposal efficiency, 300 metres gained and a couple of rebounds was a very solid outing for the nearly 26-year-old from Norwood.
Port Adelaide – Dan Houston
Geelong were having plenty of problems at times on Friday night and Houston’s second half was genuinely frightening for any side. His last 13 disposals were all kicks and a dozen were effective.
He finished with 20 disposals, had 17 kicks, went at 90 per cent efficiency, took eleven marks (two contested), had five inside 50s, four rebounds, an elite 584 metres gained, a dozen pressure acts and seven intercepts. We are in the age of rebound defenders and he is a premier example.
Richmond – Nathan Broad
Here for another time, one of my favourites in the underrated department, Broad put together another very solid performance. He left his man on numerous occasion and impacted a lot of contests.
Broad had 22 disposals on Sunday night, took eight marks, had nine intercept possessions, five one percenters and seven contested possessions.
St Kilda – Tom Highmore
10,046 SuperCoach players would be having eggs on their face when the most frustrating rookie of the year notched up 111 points but this was a very good breakout performance.
The mature aged first year player gathered himself 22 possessions, six more marks than any other Saint, three of his thirteen were contested, five rebounds, laid four tackles and went at 77 per cent on a slippery night. Huge tick.
Sydney – Dane Rampe
On my podcast ‘The Great Footy Debate’, I claimed that Dane Rampe was ‘pound for pound one of the best defensively oriented offensive defenders of the last decade’ (it was a tongue twister) and on Friday night, he proved it.
Hawthorn continually produced forward entries and on a night where Luke Breust could have gone bananas, Rampe clamped him down while having 29 touches, ten rebounds, took nine marks and used it at 86 per cent efficiency. On a night his midfield failed, he passed with flying colours.
West Coast – Luke Edwards
How proud would Tyson be right now and rightly so? This young man looks the goods and has something every young player should aspire to have; composure. Has it in spades too.
27 touches at 77 per cent, eleven contested possessions as well which was a genuine delight, had six score involvements, five marks, four inside 50s and half a dozen intercept possessions.