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Your club's underrated performer: Round 17

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Roar Guru
13th July, 2021

Upsets galore and performances looked over were the stories here at underrated HQ after Round 17 and, with six rounds to go, it’s getting interesting.

Here is your club’s most underrated performance.

Adelaide – Harry Schoenberg
This is the worst performance Adelaide have had since the 2017 grand final, without question. The dribble that they served up on Friday night wasn’t acceptable for a Sunday 4:40pm time slot, let alone prime time. Finding an underrated player was difficult through the fog of disappointment but I did it.

Schoey shows heart whenever he wears a jumper (unlike a lot of others) and showed it again. 20 disposals, nine contested possessions, seven tackles, four clearances, four inside 50s and a goal. Only Crow who played with spirit.

Brisbane – Oscar McInerney
Speaking of teams that flunked and failed, welcome to Brisbane. This was frighteningly bad, but their ruckman – faced with a Patrick Ryder/Rowan Marshall combination – handled himself really well.

Sixteen disposals for a ruckman is more than handy and add in 24 hitouts, ten contested possessions, six clearances, five score involvements, three marks and a couple of inside 50s and you’ve got yourself a fine performance.


Carlton – Matt Kennedy
Having a bit of resurgence in his career, the former Giant has hit some deliciously good form in the last month or so and continued it on Saturday afternoon.

Going at 77 per cent in the torrid conditions was fantastic in his 18 disposals, had a handful of tackles, marks and contested possessions, as well as four inside 50s, three score involvements and three clearances. Has a place in Carlton’s best side.

Collingwood – Callum Brown
Win of the year for the Pies. I know Melbourne are a top team but emotion can take you a long way and I don’t want to take anything away from that win. However, with a reigning premier with their legacy being questioned, the Pies were down by 17 points at the first change, 17 at the half and 20 at the last change. To get the win was extraordinary.

Callum Brown is an interesting player and, under Robert Harvey, is improving – which is great to see. Had 24 on Sunday, playing an outside role, with six marks, six inside 50s, four score involvements and 83 per cent disposal efficiency. Brilliant.

Essendon – Nik Cox
When you completely and utterly destroy a football club, picking an underrated player can be difficult because everyone performs and, with that in mind, I wanted someone who did a bit of everything. Cox did just that.

The lad had 19 disposals at 84 per cent efficiency and split his possessions 50-50 on the defensive and offensive side of the field which is extraordinary. Add in 277 metres gained, ten pressure acts, five marks, five score involvements, four tackles and three inside 50s and that’s a night well spent.

Fremantle – Caleb Serong
Sean Darcy was the player on the ground by the length of Flemington on Saturday afternoon. The commentators got around Nat Fyfe, Rory Lobb, David Mundy, Andy Brayshaw and Josh Treacy (all rightly so) but why did Serong get no love?

The young man had 30 disposals (17 contested), ten (yes, ten) clearances, eight score involvements, eight inside 50s and four tackles. Was an unreal performance from the reigning rising star.

Caleb Serong marks the ball

Caleb Serong (Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Geelong – Brad Close
On a good day for the old folks home, one of the young ones can have a write up. Brad Close is one of those players I’m guessing Chris Scott genuinely loves; does a lot of things that don’t go down at stats but does his role week in and week out.

Turning 23 at the end of the month, the Glenelg premiership player had 15 disposals on Saturday, an insane ten score involvements, seven marks, three tackles and three inside 50s. Also, an honorary member of the long sleeve community.

Gold Coast – Nick Holman
The former Blue is now an unheralded Sun who plays his role. Remembered for the ‘Mitch Duncan tackle’ more than anything else, he provided some much needed grunt for the Suns in one of their best victories.

Eleven disposals may seem a touch modest but 72 per cent efficiency in those conditions was unreal, given the Suns went at 68 per cent for the game. He also had a dozen tackles. Yes, a dozen tackles, goodness me (best on ground Touk Miller had an insane 14). Holman took five grabs (with two contested) and had 27 pressure acts. 27!

GWS Giants – Tom Green
Cops criticism for being handball first (like an early Patrick Cripps) but this young man is going to be something special. His ability to find space in the contest for his age is simply stunning.

On Saturday he had 25 disposals (14 contested), half a dozen tackles and clearances, three score involvements, 24 pressure acts and was able to stay around the contest at all times.

Hawthorn – Liam Shiels
Hawthorn’s senior players flunked and failed on Saturday, barring Tom Mitchell and this bloke. With seniors like Jaeger O’Meara, Luke Breust, Tom Phillips, Shaun Burgoyne, Kyle Hartigan and Ben McEvoy all over 25 and really poor, Shiels can hold his head up.


Had 22 disposals at an astonishing 90 per cent efficiency, nine contested possessions, five tackles and three clearances on a dreary day.

Melbourne – James Jordon
This man is third in the Rising Star odds but he’s been the most consistent of the bunch for absolute certain and on a night where Melbourne needed to make a statement, like his team, so did he.

He gathered 21 disposals on a mostly outside run role but still got his hands dirty with nine contested possessions. Did a little bit of everything with five intercepts, four tackles, three score involvements, three inside 50s, a couple of clearances, ten pressure acts and 278 metres gained.

North Melbourne – Luke Davies-Uniacke
Going into bat for LDU here as a whole, as well as his performance. LDU didn’t invent the Chris Judd comparisons.

The kid (still only 22) had 24 (11 contested), eight clearances, six score involvements, five marks, four inside 50s, three tackles and still went at 79 per cent. Elite performance.

Port Adelaide – Scott Lycett
The boys from Alberton once again flopped against a top side and when you’re confronted with Max Gawn as an opponent, you’ve got to hold your own. I thought the former Eagle did so.

Lycett had 21 hitouts among ten contested possessions, gathered 15 disposals, seven tackles (for a ruckman), five one percenters, four clearances and an insane 23 pressure acts.

Richmond – Liam Baker
A couple of underrated HQ’s finest in Baker and Jack Graham were competing for this selection but Baker gets the nod here.


Over the four quarters of Sunday’s game, he was great with 19 disposals, nine contested possessions, five score involvements, four inside 50s, three clearances, three tackles, three marks and a couple of goals, one from deep.

St Kilda – Ryan Byrnes
It’s official; I love this kid. Love everything that he brings, most especially his footy brain. He’s a constant on-field thinker (on occasion to his detriment) but he’s got heart, composure, toughness and skills. At Pick 52, he looks a steal.

Many Saints dominated but on a night everyone played their part, Byrnes’ 15 disposals at 86 per cent, seven score involvements, four marks, three tackles and two really nice goals. I reiterate; I love this kid.

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Sydney – Tom McCartin
Josh Bruce is third in the Coleman Medal and a 21-year-old kept him to 1.1. That’s genuinely outstanding from the young man who used his body and his hands better than I’ve seen most experienced full backs at times this year.

He got the footy himself 16 times and used it beautifully at 93 per cent, took ten marks but the most impressive part was the fact four of them were contested! He had nine contested possessions and five score involvements as well and kept Bruce extremely quiet.

West Coast – Liam Duggan
Guess we saved the biggest upset until last, with the Eagles serving up a putrid wet weather performance and, in those situations, it’s difficult to point out an underrated performance.

This was the case for Duggan with his 17 disposals at 88 per cent efficiency, six marks, five inside 50s, four tackles, three rebounds, three score involvements and a partridge in a pear tree.

Western Bulldogs – Riley Garcia
Luke Beveridge loves a player who’s got plenty of grunt and heart and Garcia showed plenty of both on the weekend, in a poor loss for the Dogs.

Garcia had 15 touches on Sunday, with five inside 50s, four score involvements, three clearances, three marks and a couple of tackles. Well played young man.