Leigh Montagna believes the AFL must step in and convince Alastair Clarkson to coach Gold Coast in 2022.
A return to some decent footy came in Round 18, with some top teams stumbling, some contenders overcoming injury and adversity and apparently something happened to Dusty?
Anyway, here are the players who were excellent on the weekend and got less fanfare than an indie film in the late 2000s.
Adelaide – Jake Kelly
Harry Schoenberg almost became the second player to go back-to-back in this segment but it’s a former Pie premiership defender’s son who gets the nod.
Kelly had a cheeky 23 disposals (91per cent efficiency), took eight marks, had seven rebound 50s, five score involvements, three tackles and Adelaide are almost guaranteed to have defenders in this segment, given they are the worst side since Round 5.
Brisbane – Brandon Starcevich
Brisbane’s ‘contender’ credentials took a dive on Friday night as the Tigers systematically ran over the top of them but this young man continues to shine.
Copped a knock that caused some blood to flow, his Lion heart was ever so evident with his 17 touches at 70per cent, five marks, five contested touches, four rebounds, couple of inside 50s and 381 metres gained, ranking sixth for the Lions.
Carlton – Liam Stocker
Apologies to Matt Cottrell, Zac Fisher and Jack Martin who were all on the board but Underrated HQ love a guy who has a lot on his plate expectation wise and blows it out of the water. Carlton traded a first round pick to get Stocker and fans have wanted so much and here he is.
A dozen kicks from 17 disposals, six rebound 50s, four marks, four score involvements, 82per cent efficiency, three inside 50s and a goal. Yes please Liam, yes please.
Collingwood – Isaac Quaynor
My love for ‘Einstein’ (based on IQ as his initials) is vast and ever growing. He is going to be an amazing half back flanker for the rest of his career and could even be running through the midfield in the next year or two.
On Sunday, he had 22 touches at 90 per cent efficiency, took seven marks, had seven contested possessions, four rebound 50s and three tackles. If these can be consistent performances from Quaynor, Pies fans can get some positives from 2021.
Essendon – Matt Guelfi
The Slim Shady reincarnate was awesome on Sunday and this Essendon unit is bloody exciting to watch.
‘Slim’ had 17 disposals, eight score involvements, eight marks, three tackles, three rebounds, three goal assists and kicked a snag among using the ball at an elite 82 per cent efficiency.
Fremantle – Andrew Brayshaw
To be fair, Andy B, Sean Darcy and Luke Ryan were the only Dockers to walk off without real questions over their head on Thursday night. Darcy was one of the best on the ground, Ryan got love in the commentary box so Andy B it is.
Led the Dockers for disposals with 21, had eight marks, four clearances, three rebounds and three tackles. There’s more positives in Victorian COVID-19 testing facilities than there was for Fremantle, really disappointing.
Geelong – Quinton Narkle
On a night where the Cats’ old stars were over celebrated by the media, they left young guns behind like Brandon Parfitt and Mark O’Connor who were both brilliant but a man fighting for a contract from opposition clubs gets the nod here.
Ran riot with 26 disposals but nine score involvements was elite, he took nine marks, had five inside 50s, went at an elite 88 per cent efficiency and kicked a nice set shot. If I was Hawthorn, Essendon, North Melbourne, Adelaide or Collingwood, I’d be ringing up his manager ASAP.
Gold Coast – Wil Powell
The Suns took it up to the Dogs in every way which was really nice to see for the young lads up at the Sunshine State and one of Underrated HQ’s favourites delivered the goods yet again.
How good? 20 disposals, six score involvements, six rebound 50s, five contested disposals, four score involvements, 75per cent efficiency and 350 metres gained, ranking fifth for the Suns.
GWS – Stephen Coniglio
The co-CEOs of the Stephen Coniglio fan club (that’s myself and fellow Roar writer Jake Smith) were really pleased with Coniglio’s return to the senior side and we were thrilled with how he went.
15 contested possessions, seven clearances, five tackles, five one percenters, four intercept possessions, three score involvements and 27 pressure acts read the captain’s day, for his 19 disposals. Welcome back Cogs, welcome back.
Hawthorn – James Cousins
Hawthorn had their second choice defence for the Demons game and Cousins was a late inclusion for Conor Nash so he was entitled to feel rushed. In either the best or second best performance for the year (Essendon in Round 1 and GWS in Round 15 the other contenders), Cousins stood up unbelievably well.
The Murray Bushranger product had 20 disposals (11 contested) at 70 per cent efficiency in poor conditions. Often criticised by Hawks fans for his ball use, he made a hell of a lot of good passes, including on his left foot. Seven inside 50s, five tackles, three clearances and three score involvements was also what he delivered.
Melbourne – Ed Langdon
If this man doesn’t make the All Australian squad, I’m going to riot. I have zero clue where the meeting will be held but I will march down there and shake some sense into some fools but alas, Langdon was very good on Saturday night.
Whilst the Demons were a let down and Langdon looks way too similar to Jayden Hunt when they both wear long sleeves, he had 21 disposals (nine contested), four marks, three clearances, three rebounds, a couple of tackles and a couple of inside 50s.
North Melbourne – Shaun Atley
Underrated HQ love a maligned player who stand up and play good footy and on Sunday afternoon, one of the more maligned players in the competition played some really nice footy.
84 per cent efficiency among 19 disposals (12 kicks), ten marks, three score involvements, three intercept possessions and a dozen pressure acts is none too shabby. Did it in three quarters too.
Port Adelaide – Riley Bonner
How boring was this game? On Triple M, after what seemed the 140th turnover, James Brayshaw exclaimed ‘there’s a real stench about this game’ and that sums it up beautifully.
Bonner was awesome for the Power however, having 24 disposals (17 kicks), eight score involvements, six marks, five rebounds, five contested possessions and went at 83 per cent efficiency. Port had plenty of injuries and needed depth to stand tall and Bonner was a huge tick in that department.
Richmond – Rhyan Mansell
First of all, I’m not sure why Mr and Mrs Mansell couldn’t choose between naming him Rhys or Ryan so smashed them together in a unique but North Melbourne’s Tarryn Thomas’ cousin is a gun player who won four flags at state level (three for North Launceston and one with Woodville-West Torrens) and looked ultra comfortable with the footy.
His teammates didn’t help him early by continually hand-balling to him under pressure but he finished with 16 touches at an elite 93 per cent efficiency (eight contested), four rebounds, four score involvements, three inside 50s and used his body really well in contests, halving a lot of balls.
St.Kilda – Seb Ross
One of the more underrated Saints in the last decade for mine, Ross has been a wonderful servant for the St.Kilda footy club and with a supposed more rounded midfield around him, his role has certainly changed.
Still though, had 20 disposals at 85per cent efficiency, took eight marks, had four clearances, four score involvements, three one-percenters and 272 metres gained. At 28 years of age, has plenty of good footy ahead of him and this was tidy.
Sydney – Robbie Fox
The 28-year-old rookie draftee has had some troubles with consistency in the past but this was one of the better performances of his career for me.
In one of (if not) the best wins for Sydney in 2021, Fox delivered 20 touches, seven contested possessions, five intercepts, four one percenters, 80per cent efficiency and three marks. Very nice indeed.
West Coast – Jack Petruccelle
Jamie Cripps kicked 5.2 and Liam Ryan kicked 3.4 so it was hard to say JP’s haul of 2.2 stood out but he brought excitement which is fantastic to see and his energy could be bringing West Coast a finals spot, it’s what’s required for the Eagles to be taken seriously in 2021.
20 disposals from Jack at an impressive 85 per cent efficiency was what he delivered, as well as eight marks, seven score involvements, four inside 50s and 362 metres gained. How good?
Western Bulldogs – Bailey Williams
A man who will be sought after by opposition clubs, Williams is one of many underrated Dogs in their chase for a second premiership in five years.
On Saturday afternoon, he had 16 disposals at 81per cent efficiency (11 kicks), took seven marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and 357 metres gained. For the few clubs that are sniffing, this man and teammate Patrick Lipinski are going to be hot commodities come the end of the season.