Each week, AFLPlayers.com.au looks at the players who flew under the radar in their team’s victory. Whether it was a moment of impact or a four-quarter performance, these are the Round 10 Unsung Heroes.
Collingwood: Jordan Roughead
It didn’t take long for Lance Franklin to make his presence known in his return AFL game, slotting a goal in the opening minutes of the match. Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley was quick to respond, sending Jordan Roughead to the Swans star. Roughead kept Franklin to his lowest number of disposals (six) since 2009, while collecting eight of his own and five intercept possessions. Traded to Collingwood from the Bulldogs for a fourth-round pick last year, Roughead might be one of the bargain recruits of the off-season.
Hawthorn: Marc Pittonet
A late inclusion to Hawthorn’s side after Mitch Lewis failed to pass his concussion test, Marc Pittonet held his own in the ruck against the experienced Paddy Ryder and debutant Peter Ladhams. Supported by Jonathon Ceglar, Pittonet collected a game-high 29 hit-outs and eight disposals in his sixth career game and first for 2019.
North Melbourne: Nick Larkey
As the Western Bulldogs failed to make the most of their opportunities, North Melbourne youngster Nick Larkey ensured he took his. Kicking two of his three goals in the final quarter, Larkey all but sealed victory for the Kangaroos in Brad Scott’s final game at the helm. ‘Souva’ made the most of his seven disposals with five score involvements and also laid four tackles.
West Coast: Oscar Allen
After playing third-fiddle in the West Coast forward line and as a back-up ruckman against Adelaide, Oscar Allen had his moment to shine late in the final quarter. With scores tied, Andrew Gaff bombed the ball to a contest in the Eagles forward 50. In just his 12th game of AFL football, Allen skillfully tapped the ball to himself over the head of the Adelaide defenders and ran into an open-goal to give West Coast the lead and some breathing room with less than three minutes remaining.
Geelong: Mark Blicavs
As Geelong progressed to a 9-1 record for the season and asserted themselves as premiership favourites, Mark Blicavs continued to be a pillar in the Cats defense. On Saturday night Blicavs collected 18 disposals, a staggering 11 intercept possessions and seven marks as the Cats fought their way to a 27-point victory.
Richmond: Liam Baker
In wet conditions at Dreamtime at the ‘G, Richmond’s small forward contingent dominated. In his 10th career game, Liam Baker put in a dominant performance with 24 disposals, six intercept possessions and a goal. The Tigers fleet of small forwards are known for their pressure and Baker lived up to the reputation laying nine tackles despite the downpour.
GWS Giants: Jeremy Finlayson
It was a dominant display from the GWS Giants forward line on Sunday with Harry Himmelberg and Jeremy Cameron combining for eight goals and with Melbourne’s defenders having their hands full, Jeremy Finalyson flew under the radar. Finlayson took nine marks, including four inside 50, and was involved in six scores while kicking one goal of his own to bring his tally to 22 goals from 10 games in 2019.
St Kilda: Matthew Parker
Since arriving to St Kilda in last year’s draft, Matthew Parker has looked at home in the Saints forward line and Sunday was no different. With minutes remaining and Carlton edging closer to their second-victory of the season, a goal to Parker settled the Saints nerves and gave them some breathing room after missed chances. Parker finished the game with 13 disposals, seven score involvements and two goals.
Fremantle: Brett Bewley
In his debut game, mature-age recruit Brett Bewley showed the composure of an AFL veteran. There were a number of moments where Bewley had to pull the trigger on challenging kicks, nailing them. Bewley’s composure had him operating at 91 per cent disposal efficiency, with the 24-year-old collecting 11 touches in his sides thrilling one-point win over Brisbane.