Round 9, may yet be an entertaining one, as there are some intriguing match ups. Find out who can make a difference for your team.
Jacob Hopper had a solid game in Round 8 against West Coast, as he had 32 disposals, to go with six tackles, ten clearances and seven score involvements, which should give him confidence coming into a tough game against Geelong, in Round 9.
He has been under a lot of pressure due to Richmond investing heavily in him. He won’t get a better chance to show his wares in Round 9 when Richmond take on reigning premiers Geelong.
Mark Blicavs is a great utility who is capable of playing multiple roles; he can pinch hit in the ruck and could get the job of negating the influence of Tim Taranto and Shai Bolton at times. He is a player that rarely lets Chris Scott down and Round 9 should be no different as he should prove why he is such an asset to Geelong.
Liam Duggan has proved that necessity is the mother of invention, as West Coast are down on troops; he spent time negating Dustin Martin, in Round 8, but he still got plenty of the ball and used it well.
Duggan is a player that gives his all for the team irrespective of the scoreboard; he hasn’t let his head drop. West Coast will need him to perform to his optimum level against a much improved Gold Coast team.
Noah Anderson has taken over the reigns, since Touk Miller suffered an injury in Round 6. Despite Gold Coast losing to Melbourne by a five-point margin in Round 8, Noah Anderson polled ten Coaches’ votes. He has been producing throughout the season and will need to play well for Gold Coast will need him to continue his good form, in a game that Gold Coast must win against West Coast in Round 9, in order to keep their finals hopes alive.
Errol Gulden was a shining light for Sydney in Round 8. He focused on the contest in a fiery clash with Collingwood. Gulden reads the play well and produced a performance that will hopefully give him and his team belief.
He didn’t get involved in antagonising Nick Daicos against Collingwood in Round 8; he was one of the few Sydney players that focused on the task at hand. He polled five Coaches’ votes in a losing side and will need to continue that form when Sydney take on Fremantle.
Andrew Brayshaw showed why he is such a weapon in the midfield, in Round 8 against Hawthorn, as he polled eight Coaches’ votes.
He even snuck forward and kicked a couple of goals. Andrew Brayshaw must ensure that the game against Hawthorn wasn’t an aberration, if Fremantle are to get the four points against Sydney, in what’s possibly a season defining game for Fremantle.
Ben McKay polled seven coaches’ votes in Round 8 against St Kilda. He is a player that never shirks a contest and constantly looks to play to his optimum level.
He will probably get the job of negating Todd Marshall at times and Charlie Dixon and Jeremy Finlayson at other times in Round 9 against Port Adelaide. He is a lone ranger at times, in terms of being the only elite key defender for North Melbourne and needs help from his teammates.
Todd Marshall played his role for the team in Round 8, against Essendon; he set up a goal for Junior Rioli at a pivotal time in the first quarter that made the deficit for Port Adelaide four points in the first quarter.
Marshall also kicked a goal from a tough angle in the second quarter in Round 8, which made the deficit for them 15 points, which is why he is such an important player.
They are a better team with him in it; he takes the pressure off Jeremy Finlayson and Charlie Dixon and allows either of them to pinch hit in the ruck. Marshall has the chance to continue the form he displayed in Round 8, when Port Adelaide take on North Melbourne, in Round 9.
Mitch Lewis is a prodigious talent who had 11 disposals at 100% disposal efficiency against Fremantle in Round 8. He also kicked two goals and had five score involvements, in a team that suffered a 69-point loss.
He has averaged 8.00 score involvements in the two games he has played in season 2023. Lewis will need to make a contest and bring the ball to ground against Melbourne who have Jake Lever and Steven May; if Lewis can do that, then the likes of Luke Breust will benefit.
Max Gawn needs to continue his good form in order to take the pressure off Brodie Grundy, like he did in Round 8 against Gold Coast; Grundy kicked two goals in the first half of that game. They are a formidable combination if they can continue to be to manage, with their time spent forward and in the ruck adequately.
There’s no easy games in the AFL and he needs to help ensure Melbourne aren’t complacent against Round 9, when he takes on two young ruckmen, in Ned Reeves and Lloyd Meek.
Jack Gunston has added to the forward line mix. He gets under the guard of other teams as he proved against Carlton where he kicked a couple of goals in the opening two quarters. He set up a goal for Charlie Cameron in the third quarter that gave Brisbane a 23-point lead.
Gunston will need to play his role against a formidable opponent, in Essendon, despite
Mason Redman had to battle on without one of the key defenders for Essendon in Jordan Ridley, who was subbed out due to concussion in Round 8. Redman has averaged the most intercepts of any Essendon player per game with an average of 6.50 intercepts.
He will be up against three key forwards at different times in Eric Hipwood, Joe Daniher and Jack Gunston in Round 9 against Brisbane. Redman faces a big task as Essendon will be without two key defenders for Round 9: Jordan Ridley and Jayden Laverde, as they face a team in form, with Brisbane silencing their critics of late.
Sam Docherty rose to the occasion against Brisbane in Round 8, in what was a big game. He came back from injury earlier than was predicted and showed no ill effects. He finished the game with 29 disposals, a goal, seven tackles and four score involvements. Docherty will need to be at his best if Carlton are to get the desired result in Round 9 against Western Bulldogs.
Marcus Bontempelli is one of the best players in the competition and in Round 8 he showed why. He was outstanding, as he amassed 32 disposals, had seven tackles, along with seven score involvements and seven inside 50s.
He is arguably the best leader in the game and will need to continue his good form to give Western Bulldogs a chance of defeating Carlton, in Round 9. Bontempelli will need to play plenty of midfield time and make up for the loss of Adam Treloar, who has been in good form.
Taylor Walker should set himself for this game, as he could be pivotal if Adelaide are to beat St Kilda in Round 9. He is coming off a three-goal game against Geelong, in Round 8, which should give him confidence. Walker needs to make a contest so he can bring the ball to ground for the likes of Izak Rankine and limit the influence that Callum Wilkie intercept marking had for St Kilda.
Jack Sinclair is a player that’s highly regarded; he can play on a half-back flank or operate through the midfield. Sinclair has averaged 498.38 metres gained in the opening eight games, which is an impressive stat. He will need to continue his good form, by playing the role assigned to him in a danger game for St Kilda against Adelaide.
Will Hoskin-Elliott has to be one of the most underrated players in the AFL. He barely wastes possession and doesn’t need to have much of the goal to make an impact on the game.
In Round 8 he had 17 disposals and a disposal efficiency of 94.1% against Sydney in Round 8. He also finished with a goal and five score involvements. He is a player that GWS will find it tough to find a match up for, in Round 9.
Tom Green carried the team in the absence of Toby Greene, in Round 8 against Western Bulldogs. He finished the game with 38 disposals, three goals and ten score involvements.
He will need to perform well for GWS to be a chance of causing an upset against Collingwood. Green will be causing Craig McRae plenty of headaches ahead of the Round 9 clash.