aflplayers.com.au has discovered the players that played an underrated hand for their side in round seven. Whether it be a big moment in a close game, or an important role, these are the Unsung Heroes.
Richmond – Liam Baker
An undermanned Richmond went into Friday night’s clash against the Western Bulldogs – the AFL’s hottest team – in an unfamiliar position as underdogs. But the reigning premier emerged victorious and it was the tenacity of Liam Baker who set the tone for his side. Baker laid a game-high eight tackles to go with 15 disposals, as well as recording 29 pressure acts (the second-most on the ground) to stand up for his team when required.
Gold Coast – Josh Corbett
Returning to the Suns’ side in Round 5, Josh Corbett has become an important cog in the young side’s forward line. Helping shoulder the load with Ben King, Corbett was critical on the weekend against the Pies. Playing in just the club’s 15th match at the MCG, Corbett kicked four goals, including three to start the fourth quarter and evaporate any chance of a Pies comeback. The 25-year-old finished the game with 16 touches and 11 marks in an important victory.
GWS Giants – Harry Perryman
Perryman has been a good player for a long time, but doesn’t always get the plaudits of some of his teammates. The young Giant continued his rise with an accomplished performance against the Crows, racking up 26 disposals at 80.8 per cent efficiency.
St Kilda – Bradley Hill
It’s not often a player with the talent of Bradley Hill would pop up in this column, but the Saints speedster gets a mention because of the way he stood up for his side when the external pressure was mounting on him after a couple of subpar performances. Hill collected 27 disposals in a new role off half-back, but it was a number of defensive acts which pleased coach Brett Ratten in the Saints’ rout of Hawthorn.
Brisbane – Zac Bailey
With Lachie Neale missing his first game since becoming a Lion, the onus was on the Brisbane midfielders to step-up against a fancied Port Adelaide outfit. The 21-year-old stepped up in wet conditions gathering 21 touches, seven score involvements, three clearances and a goal as the Lions surged to a 49-point victory.
Sydney – Oliver Florent
Old hands Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker were as solid as ever through the midfield against the Cats, but it was the performance of one young Swan which would have pleased coach John Longmire no end. Oliver Florent was instrumental in his side’s come-from-behind victory, gathering 26 disposals and a game-high 645 metres gained.
Melbourne – James Jordon
After a stunning unbeaten run to start the season, winless North Melbourne threatened to spoil the Demons’ party. Trailing the Roos by 19 points at the main break, Melbourne’s brigade of young players Luke Jackson, Kysaiah Pickett and James Jordon lifted the momentum to help swing the mantle in Melbourne’s favour. Jordon continues to improve week-on-week, finishing the game with 20 touches, six of which came in the game-defining third term, laid seven tackles and had seven score involvements. It’s hard to believe the 20-year-old debuted just seven rounds ago.
Carlton – David Cuningham
Pressure has been mounting on Carlton and with a much-needed victory at stake over arch rivals Essendon, David Cuningham stood tall. Playing his best game since Round 4 last season – fittingly against Essendon – Cuningham disposed of the ball 25 times, was involved in eight scores and had five inside 50s in the Blues’ hard-fought 16-point victory.
West Coast Eagles – Josh Rotham
For the first time in his career, Eagles defender Josh Rotham has played every game to star the season. The 23-year-old is quietly making a name for himself as a critical component of the Eagles’ back-six with another impressive performance coming in Sunday’s derby. Rotham had 17 touches at a staggering 100 per cent efficiency, a game-high 12 marks, an equal team-high six intercept possessions and three rebound 50s as the Eagles made it 11 straight Western Derby wins.