We take a look at the Unsung Heroes playing in the 2022 AFL Grand Final between Geelong and Sydney.
Jake Lloyd will be playing his 200th game this Saturday. He’s one of the club’s most consistent players and is a dependable asset to the half-back line, averaging 24 disposals, six marks, and 16.3 kicks per game. He’s classically underrated in the AFL despite his impressive stats across the board.
The young midfielder is a tackling machine. Rowbottom tops the Swans’ ladder for total tackles and is 8th overall in the league, with an average of 6.8 tackles per game. He plays beyond his years and is being developed as a future leader for the Bloods.
Ryan Clarke is a bit of a comeback kid this season. Prior to round 15, he only had five senior games since the start of last season, all of which were as the medical sub – one of which he actually played. Finding it difficult to break into the team previously, he has thrived in a defensive forward role late in the season and does some important jobs on the opposition’s key playmakers.
Paddy McCartin was the No.1 draft pick in 2014 but after suffering eight concussions, he only played 35 games. He was picked up by the Swans’ VFL side in 2021 and, after thinking his career was over, was miraculously elevated up to AFL level in January where he has enjoyed a consistent season as one of the game’s best intercept players.
A young gun in the midfield. McInerny’s impressive intercept in the Collingwood prelim turned into the goal of the match and got the Swans over the line. He’s lightning quick, has impressive endurance, and has really started to prove himself over the finals.
Close is a small force in the forward line, with his pressure being vital to the finals season so far. Averaging 15.7 disposals and 8.4 handballs this season, Close’s consistent performances complement the likes of Hawkins and Cameron exceptionally well.
A small forward with supreme endurance. Miers’ above-average stats of 14.7 disposals and 3.5 marks per game speaks to his involvement up forward. Miers saw a career-best performance in the preliminary final against the Suns, boding well for his growth at the Cats.
Sam De Koning
The young defender has made a name for himself in the backline, playing like a seasoned professional alongside his counterparts. His impact on the field has proven to be a meaningful addition to Geelong’s finals campaign and he looks to be a stalwart of the Cats’ defence for years to come.
Another youngster in the mix, Guthrie holds his own amongst the Cats’ defenders. Celebrating his 50th game earlier this season, Guthrie has seen significant improvement across the board and put together a career-best performance in Round 8. His impact in the backline has been particularly important in the finals series.
With over 250 games and 3 premierships under his belt, Isaac Smith is no stranger to the big stage. Smith champions the Cats’ midfield so seamlessly he almost flies under the radar. With averages of 21.1 disposals, 13.7 kicks, and 6.5 marks, this veteran’s influence will be greatly felt come Saturday.