The final four have been revealed, as minor premier Geelong accounted for their lower-ranked opponent West Coast and the Brisbane Lions bowed out in straight sets at the hands of the GWS Giants. AFLPlayers.com.au highlight those who played an underrated hand from the weekend’s play.
Geelong: Tom Atkins
Geelong’s fast start was crucial in its victory over West Coast on Friday night and one of its first-year players – feisty forward Tom Atkins – was vital in setting an aggressive tone. Atkins laid a game-high eight tackles for the Cats, including a chase down on Chris Masten in the opening quarter that saved a certain goal. The 23-year-old also booted a great goal in the first term as the Cats flew out of the blocks.
West Coast: Jackson Nelson
Charged with the task of curbing one of the greatest players of all time in Gary Ablett, the young Eagle accepted the task and carried out his stopping job with aplomb. Nelson kept Ablett goalless and to just 14 disposals, outpointing him on a number of occasions in one-on-one contests. Despite a disappointing loss, Nelson can hold his head up high.
Brisbane Lions: Jarryd Lyons
In a frantic final quarter, Brisbane midfielder Jarryd Lyons continued his stellar season gathering a game-high 10 disposals when the match was on the line. Lyons willed himself to every contest, finishing the match with 27 touches, six score involvements and five clearances as Brisbane fell short by three points.
GWS Giants: Nick Haynes
With the game hanging in the balance late in the final quarter, Giants defender Nick Haynes stood tall. As Brisbane launched the ball inside 50 a whopping 19 times (GWS had seven), the Giants’ defence held on, with Haynes playing an important role in securing the victory. Haynes had 14 touches, and a staggering nine intercept possessions as the visitors progressed to their third preliminary final in four seasons.