As winter set in and contributed to tight finishes around the country, Aflplayers.com.au found those who played an underrated hand in Round 10.
Geelong: Mitch Duncan
While most of the attention goes to Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield, Mitch Duncan just keeps on running and getting the footy. In what was a tight, tough battle against Port Adelaide on Thursday night, Duncan’s 31 disposals and outside run proved pivotal.
Hawthorn: Isaac Smith
When the Swans wrestled their way back into the contest and the Hawks needed some extra run on a slippery night in Sydney, Isaac Smith delivered. Collecting 30 disposals and 11 marks, the Hawthorn vice-captain kept keeping on when others were physically unable. His ability to find space in the last quarter was vital to a Hawks win.
Western Bulldogs: Bailey Dale
In and out of the side for most of his time at the Western Bulldogs, Bailey Dale proved that he is a star on the rise, collecting 27 disposals and a goal against the Saints on Saturday. What will impress Luke Beveridge and fans of the Dogs the most was his composure with ball in hand, and his ability to win the ball inside and out.
Melbourne: Sam Frost
Opposed to one of the competition’s best key forwards, Sam Frost more than held his own against the Suns. Frost only touched the footy 11 times but his opponent Tom Lynch registered 16 and, more importantly, only took three marks and kicked two goals. Defence is obviously a team effort in 2017 but Frost’s performance was a strong contributor.
Richmond: Toby Nankervis
The Tigers needed a hero on Saturday night and Toby Nankervis delivered in spades. Not only did the former Swan collect 13 disposals and sent the ball inside 50 five times, Nankervis kicked the sealer from 50 metres and only seconds later was seen taking an intercept mark in defence.
Adelaide: Andy Otten
It’s been a remarkable return to footy for Andy Otten. To come back and play every game in 2017 would’ve been a feat in itself let alone his contribution. Kicking four goals in Round 10, Otten’s shown he can be a more than handy utility, being used as a back-up ruckman and forward this season after starting his career as a defender.
Collingwood: Josh Smith
Coinciding with the Magpies rise in form, Josh Smith has been a revelation off half-back in 2017. The 23-year-old collected 25 disposals, seven marks and kicked a goal while running rings around the Lions at the MCG. Smith is fleet-footed, makes good decisions and is second at the Pies for rebounds this season.
North Melbourne: Marley Williams
After falling out of favour at Collingwood in 2016, Marley Williams has slotted into the Kangaroos defence nicely in 2017, playing all 10 games with Round 10 being one of his better performances. The 23-year-old half-back gathered 24 touches and six rebounds as North Melbourne held off a spirited Carlton on Sunday.
GWS: Matthew Kennedy
Missing a raft of stars, the Giants proved how tough and gritty they are at Subiaco. Any time a team is depleted, a new group need to rise to the occasion, and that’s what second-year player Matthew Kennedy did, finishing with 28 disposals in what was a famous win.