As we grow closer to crowning 2019’s champions, AFLPlayers.com.au found those who flew under the radar during the first weekend of finals.
West Coast: Jamie Cripps
West Coast forward Jamie Cripps was the hero on Thursday night, leading the Eagles to a 55-point victory against Essendon. The crafty forward kicked a game-high four goals, but could easily have kicked another three if not for some inaccuracy, to accompany his 22 touches and four marks. Cripps was also involved in a further 12 scores and laid four tackles as the Eagles booked a semi-final match-up against Geelong.
Collingwood: Rupert Wills
Six weeks ago Collingwood midfielder Rupert Wills was chipping away in the VFL, working to earn a recall to the senior side. On Friday night, in front of 93,436 at the MCG, Wills demonstrated his importance to the Magpies’ structure. In his 14th game of senior football, the big-bodied midfielder laid a game-high 13 tackles, to go with his 13 disposals and and three clearances. It wasn’t his greatest output on the stats sheet but his hunger for the football was reflective of the Magpies’ tenacity against the minor premiers.
GWS Giants: Matt de Boer
In his third season with the Giants, former Docker Matt de Boer is quickly becoming one of the GWS Giants’ most important players. The tagger restricted Bulldogs midfielder Marcus Bontempelli to 13 touches while collecting 18 of his own and laid a team-high eight tackles as the Giants won their way through to a semi-final clash against Brisbane.
Richmond: Josh Caddy
After returning to the senior side in round 20, Richmond premiership player Josh Caddy has become an important cog in the Tigers’ tilt for a flag. Despite not having a lot of the ball on Saturday night, Caddy’s usage was emblematic of Richmond’s performance. The forward had 14 disposals, seven score involvements and kicked two goals as Richmond marched towards their third preliminary final in as many years.