David Teague will join Richmond’s coaching ranks next season as an assistant to Damien Hardwick after being sacked by Carlton.
The byes are completely over and thank goodness, who even likes them? Alas, we move on and now we’ve got 18 teams to discuss and 18 underrated performances to talk about so let’s get stuck in.
Adelaide – Brodie Smith
What might have been if the Crows had converted a lot stronger on their 2.6 first quarter but alas, let’s talk about Smith.
He had 19 kicks among 23 disposals, a game-high ten rebounds, eight marks, five score involvements, three clearances, three inside 50s and three tackles. Sure, Ben Keays and Rory Laird were dominant but some credit to the half back flankers please.
Brisbane – Marcus Adams
Daniel Rich dominated down back, Jarryd Lyons, Lachie Neale and Dayne Zorko had 24 disposals and had huge impacts on the game, and the forwards of Joe Daniher, Charlie Cameron, Eric Hipwood and Lincoln McCarthy were ever dangerous. The 2020 Coleman Medallist played in this game and Tom Hawkins leading into this game had kicked 58 goals against the Lions, the most against any side for his career.
Adams kept Hawkins to 1.1 among a dozen disposals at 41 per cent efficiency, with seven clangers, six free kicks against and just the three marks, while having 13 touches of his own, ten intercept possessions, five marks, five contested possessions, four one-per-centers, three tackles, three rebounds and an abundance of spoils. Get the sponges out because he gave Hawkins a bath.
Carlton – Paddy Dow
As someone who has been critical of Dow in the past, seeing him succeed isn’t a piece of ironic anger, it’s a feeling of relief and I hope that he can become what the Blues want him to be.
On Sunday, he had 20 disposals (seven contested), nine score involvements, four marks, four inside 50s, three tackles and a couple of clearances. Don’t forget his 21 pressure acts and 349 metres gained to make a good performance very good.
Collingwood – Nathan Murphy
The Pies played how they really are on Saturday, not just the ‘farewell to an unsuccessful coach’ way. They missed targets, had a lack of flair and relied too much on too few. Those traits were all back in vogue at Marvel Stadium.
However, young Murphy tried his guts out with his 15 touches at 86 per cent efficiency, eight marks, four intercept possessions and a couple of tackles. This club is really poor.
Essendon – Mason Redman
If it wasn’t for teammate and highly touted Brownlow fancy Darcy Parish, Redman would be leading in leaps and bounds for the title of the Bombers’ most improved player of 2021 and he kept on showing his great form on Saturday night.
Another 21 touches at 80 per cent efficiency came for Redman, plus half a dozen rebounds. He was in the top half a dozen for the Dons for metres gained with 447 and laid four tackles, which for a big man is fantastic.
Fremantle – Blake Acres
The former Saint makes another appearance in this article and on a day when Fremantle got contributions from just about everybody, this was difficult to decide.
However, 21 disposals (ten contested), five tackles, four marks, three score involvements, three clearances, three inside 50s and 302 metres gained was too difficult to ignore in what was a fantastic performance.
Geelong – Zach Tuohy
Barrels, snags and one of a few with composure in a Cats jumper, the Irish fan favourite was in fine form on Friday night, it’s just 16-plus of his teammates were not.
With 19 kicks among his 21 touches, he went at 85 per cent efficiency, took six marks, had five rebound 50s, had four score involvements and kicked 2.1. He was one of the best on a poor night.
Gold Coast – Sam Flanders
Flanders is the kind of player that we love here at Underrated HQ: uncompromising, tough and most fans wouldn’t know him if he knocked on their front door selling cookies.
On the umpteenth occasion the Suns have been poor, Flanders had 20 touches at 75 per cent, had eight contested possessions, laid five tackles, took four marks, had three inside 50s, had three score involvements and kicked a goal. He was a shining light on a gloomy day in Tasmania.
GWS – Tim Taranto
Often maligned by fans who worry about his foot skills, Taranto went at 80 per cent efficiency on Sunday and although the Giants’ last fortnight has probably put a dent in their finals hopes, he was very good.
He ended with 25 disposals, 11 contested possessions, five score involvements, five marks, five tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and a couple of rebounds as well. He covered the ground really well also.
Hawthorn – Jack Scrimshaw
Shoutout to the CEO of the Scrimshaw fan club and fellow writer Jake Smith, who will be chuffed reading this. But when Kane Cornes lamented Hawthorn’s lack of youth, they responded magnificently.
The likes of Will Day (20 years old), Changkuoth Jiath (22), Dylan Moore (21) and Jimmy Worpel (22) were unbelievable, as was former Sun and number seven draft pick Scrimshaw (22).
How good was he? He had 28 disposals (11 contested) at 85 per cent efficiency, nine intercepts, six marks (two contested), four rebounds, four score involvements and 286 metres gained. He was that good.
Melbourne – James Jordon
Fellow writer Jake Smith flagged Jordon as his leader for the Rising Star and this young man is certainly putting his case forward as one of the most consistent young stars in the league.
He had 21 disposals at 80 per cent efficiency, five marks, five score involvements and five contested possessions. He laid three tackles and kicked two very nice goals. He truly is a smoky for that Rising Star.
North Melbourne – Trent Dumont
He is out of contract at the end of the year and by all reports, he will seek a new home in 2022. Dumont proved to any club that was keeping an eye on him that he could be an asset. While not challenging to be a number one midfielder, he would be an extremely solid piece in a contending midfield.
He had 18 kicks among his 21 touches and to go at 71 per cent is above average. He had a game-high 11 marks and got involved in five scores. He had five inside 50s, 335 metres gained, three intercepts and a dozen pressure acts, all in 70.6 per cent game time.
Port Adelaide – Ryan Burton
The former Hawk showed some real class on Saturday afternoon because when the rain came down, he still used the ball with poise and efficiency.
How’s 92 per cent efficiency from 12 kicks sound? In a word: elite. Burton also had four rebound 50s, took four marks, was involved in four scores, had 356 metres gained and had seven one-per-centers. Huge tick.
Richmond – Marlion Pickett
Even though I can’t remember when he made his debut (thanks Channel Seven for reminding me), Pickett played a blinder and was one of too few who did.
He had an equal team-high 24 possessions, 11 contested possessions, five marks, three tackles, three inside 50s, 70 per cent efficiency on a slippery night and tried his guts out.
St Kilda – Mason Wood
The former Roo has had a decent enough year at St Kilda. He was a bit like Jaidyn Stephenson last year in that he would come alive early and go invisible. He wasn’t invisible on Friday night, however.
Wood went at 82 per cent, which on a greasy night is genuinely elite, among 17 disposals. He had eight contested possessions, six score involvements, five marks, three tackles and a quality goal.
Sydney – Justin McInerney
He is another man not here for the first time. The Swans keep finding soldiers and they’re keeping on keeping on. McInerney has played a dozen games for 16 touches at 80 per cent efficiency but he went to another level in less than ideal conditions.
He had 22 touches playing on the inside of the contest around the ground, epitomised by his 14 contested possessions. McInerney took half a dozen grabs, and had five score involvements, five inside 50s and a couple of clearances. This Northern Knights product is a jet in the harbour city.
West Coast – Josh Rotham
Another not here for the first time, Rotham is the kind of player that you wouldn’t know if he walked past you (especially on the eastern seaboard) but he does his job magnificently.
On a day when any shred of premiership credibility went out the window for the Eagles, Rotham had 23 disposals at 82 per cent (17 kicks), a dozen marks, three rebounds, three score involvements, five intercepts and five contested possessions.
Western Bulldogs – Ed Richards
A few Dogs put their hands up but a few clubs will be seeking Richards’ services over the off-season. In conditions that really didn’t suit outside wingmen, he did a bit to show teams that could use him that he has a place in a best 22.
He worked his butt off with three inside 50s and three rebound 50s, 271 metres gained, 16 disposals at 88 per cent efficiency, half a dozen intercepts and half a dozen contested possessions.