The much-loved Billy Brownless has announced he’ll be leaving the Nine Network after nearly three decades… and in classic Billy fashion, he cracked plenty of jokes doing so.
The top eight gets blasted wide open and underrated performances were ever so clear in another week of footy.
It’s nearly finals time and I am here for it. So, let’s do it.
Adelaide – Harry Schoenberg
Sometimes it feels like with some players I’m alone on an island and letting other footy fans know who is going to become a star. For the second time in three weeks, I’m letting the people know that this young man is a genuine gun.
How’s 24 disposals at 70 per cent efficiency, eight score involvements, six tackles, six rebounds and five marks? Yes please, Harry! Yes please!
Brisbane – Tom Fullarton
The heir to the Scott Pendlebury throne of ‘has a basketball background’, Fullarton has played two games since a while out and structurally was really sound but played really well also.
The 22-year-old former Lions academy player stands at 200 centimetres but athletically picked up 14 disposals (ten contested), five score involvements, four marks (two contested), three clearances and a half dozen hitouts. I like what I saw.
Carlton – Jack Newnes
It is a big call here but Carlton had their worst loss in almost a decade on Saturday. That was deplorable! However, the former Saint was not.
The 21 disposals from Newnes went with seven marks, six contested possessions, five score involvements, four rebounds, three inside 50s and 2.1. It was a good performance but it was from a disappointing club.
Collingwood – John Noble
Spoiler alert for the Port Adelaide pick but in the first time in Underrated HQ history, both players in the same game had the exact same amount of disposals, kicks and handballs.
Noble had 13 kicks and four handballs and went at 70 per cent efficiency, five marks, three tackles, three rebounds, 28 pressure acts and 312 metres gained. I really like Noble and hope he continues a good career.
Essendon – Will Snelling
Another multiple entrant into this series of articles, the 2019 mid-year draftee performed when his teammates flopped.
He had 20 disposals at 85 per cent efficiency, six marks, six tackles, three inside 50s, two rebounds, two clearances and 21 pressure acts. I tip the cap, young man.
Fremantle – Nathan Wilson
The former Giant has been in my articles a time or two and we as a footy fraternity would love to see performances like this become consistent. Sure, Sydney dominated territory on the day so he had chances to get it but he was still awesome.
He had 24 disposals, with nine contested possessions, eight rebound 50s, seven marks, five score involvements and three inside 50s to make a decent afternoon, on an afternoon in which his team were not.
Geelong – Sam Menegola
Footy experts really confuse me sometimes. Menegola went from one of the best on the park against Fremantle and got a little fanfare while the love was for Tom Hawkins and Patrick Dangerfield and then had a very good performance and just didn’t get spoken about.
Without Mitch Duncan, the Cats’ midfield is still humming and with 22 disposals (seven contested), five marks, four score involvements, three inside 50s, two rebounds and two clearances, Menegola is a very good piece of a potential premiership midfield, which is probably understating him still.
Gold Coast – Josh Corbett
He was not the only player to kick three in this week’s article but when commentators are surprised when things are happening or having a shadow cast over them, I lap it up.
Corbett had 16 disposals, nine score involvements, eight contested possessions, seven marks (two contested), four inside 50s and three goals. Gold Coast were poor in the second half but a tip of the cap to Corbett.
GWS – Lachie Ash
Lachie Ash and Lachie Dash, what a gun this kid is. What an absolute gun the Giants have got on their hands. This man is going to be a 200-gamer and he put in a terrific performance on the weekend.
Playing a touch up the ground, he had 13 disposals at 92 per cent efficiency, six marks, four tackles, four inside 50s and kicked a snag. If the Giants are to play finals, they are requiring the squad to stand up and Ash certainly did that.
Hawthorn – Jaeger O’Meara
One of the best looking men in footy, O’Meara has a bit of an indifferent amount of love from Hawthorn fans and although it was a disappointing loss, he was very good.
He had 24 disposals but it was the eight tackles that was most pleasing. O’Meara also had eight clearances, six inside 50s, six score involvements, three marks and 70 per cent efficiency.
Melbourne – Kysaiah Pickett
From a guy who I was prepared to say the media was overrating in the first half of the year, to now putting in an underrated performance, my relationship with Pickett could be described like a bad marriage on Facebook: it’s complicated.
The man had 13 disposals, kicked 2.2, and had the equal second highest number of tackles for the Demons with eight but although he had a poor disposal efficiency and gave away a couple of free kicks (two of which were really frosty), he was still very good and social media needs to relax when it comes to the exciting young forward.
North Melbourne – Jaidyn Stephenson
Apologies to plenty of Roos players here: Jed Anderson was very solid in his return, Bailey Scott had a career-best game, Atu Bosenavulagi played three different roles, Trent Dumont was elite without fanfare, and Todd Goldstein, whose lack of opponent hurts him here. They were all unreal but the former Pie got the nod.
Kicking three from 24 disposals is normally not underrated but Nick Larkey’s seven and Tarryn Thomas’ four goals from 23 got all the correct fanfare. But there was always going to be a Roo left behind and it was Stephenson. Eight marks, seven score involvements, four inside 50s and 83 per cent efficiency is an ultra quality performance.
Port Adelaide – Peter Ladhams
It seems a fait accompli that Ladhams and Sam Hayes are going to be courted by other clubs (Brisbane should be chasing Ladhams) but Ladhams on Friday night showed his value, not only to other teams looking in but the premiership credentials of Port Adelaide.
A ruckman’s disposal efficiency should never be looked at too strongly and he did have four turnovers but 17 disposals, 17 pressure acts, 326 metres gained, six score involvements, five marks (two contested), four inside 50s, three clearances and two goals, oh boy, yes please, Peter!
Richmond – Daniel Rioli
From a maligned small forward who had a highlight here and there to a VFL defender and now an efficient half back flanker, there’s a chance that Rioli could be putting his hand up for another club in this role. With Nick Vlastuin and Nathan Broad to come back, he won’t stay there.
He auditioned well with 19 disposals (nine contested), seven tackles, 89 per cent efficiency and a couple of score involvements, inside 50s and rebounds. He was not too bad at all.
St Kilda – Nick Coffield
A player whose future is an interesting case study and probably worth a discussion for another time, he was good on Saturday in the season-ending loss to the Eagles.
The former first-round pick had 17 disposals, four rebounds, four intercepts, three masks, a couple of inside 50s, 13 pressure acts and a couple of tackles, while going at 70 per cent and having 222 metres gained.
Sydney – Dane Rampe
The co-captain is becoming one of those ‘love him or hate him’ players when it comes to opposition fans and he is getting some due credit from me today.
He’s had 21 disposals (19 kicks), eight marks, six rebound 50s, four contested possessions, a couple of inside 50s and 90 per cent efficiency. He’s an underrated leader and pound for pound, one of the top three one-on-one defenders in the league.
West Coast – Josh Rotham
I really like this young man and what he’s bringing to the table for the Eagles and another strong showing was what he displayed.
He had 15 disposals and went at 100 per cent efficiency, with five contested possessions and five rebounds. But he marked everything that came to him, taking nine clunks and adding another dimension to the Eagles’ back half. He turns 24 in February next year and I am looking forward to what he can do for the next six or eight years.
Western Bulldogs – Josh Schache
It was first versus second. Alex Keath goes down. They were wet conditions, which Melbourne dominate. The earlier meeting in the year was a Demons win and the Dogs were unbelievable. The four talls were brilliant and the former Pick 2 was fantastic.
He had 17 disposals down back, including seven contested possessions, six marks (two contested), four tackles, four rebound 50s, and three score involvements. He is much maligned for his career. We as footy fans need to heap on credit to Schache.