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.
Port Adelaide: Peter Ladhams
With Port Adelaide’s No.1 ruckman Scott Lycett on the sidelines, emerging ruckman Peter Ladhams has been shouldering the workload. Against the Western Bulldogs, Ladhams had his best game for the Power, winning his battle against the highly-touted Tim English. Ladhams finished the game with 32 hitouts, 18 disposals, five clearances and kicked a goal as he showed what he is capable of at the elite level after being elevated off the rookie list at the end of last season.
Richmond: Sydney Stack
He’s been in and out of the Tigers’ side this year, but a move into the middle last night helped Sydney Stack recapture some of his best form. Against the Lions, Stack collected four clearances – the equal second-most for the Tigers – to go his with 16 disposals and seven score involvements. Richmond coach Damien Hardwick might have unlocked another cog in the club’s premiership defence.
Geelong: Lachie Fogarty
With Patrick Dangerfield anchored to full forward and Joel Selwood eased back from a hamstring injury, it gave an opportunity for Lachie Fogarty to step up in the midfield and he grabbed his opportunity with both hands. Fogarty finished with a career-high 23 disposals and an equal game-high nine score involvements to be one of the Cats’ best players. It’s been a frustrating 18-month period for Fogarty with a hip injury followed by a knee complaint, but he’s starting to show why those at the Cattery rate him so highly.
Melbourne: Steven May
After a forgettable first year in Melbourne colours, May is putting together an impressive season for the Demons in 2020. The strong defender was excellent against the Crows, gathering 16 disposals. But his defensive efforts were the most impressive part of his game – with seven intercept marks, eight spoils and an equal game-high four contest defensive one-on-one wins.
Collingwood: Josh Daicos
It wasn’t the cleanest game of football, and unfortunately for Collingwood was riddled with injuries, but a magical banana from Josh Daicos in the dying minutes secured a much-needed victory. With less than four minutes on the clock, Daicos handballed to his own advantage in the pocket, gathering the ball and kicking a goal reminiscent of his Dad, Peter. Not only did Daicos kick the winning major but he’s finding his feet in Collingwood’s best-22 collecting 25 disposals, seven inside 50s, four clearances and four marks.
St Kilda: Hunter Clark
Hunter Clark is having the finest season of his short career and on Thursday night against the Suns his performance was pivotal. In the final five minutes of the game and with St Kilda holding a narrow four-point lead, Clark cleared the ball in the back pocket starting the chain that ledto Dan Butler’s goal. While the Suns got one back through Rankine, Clark continued to work hard in defence and through the middle, eventually clearing the ball to Brad Hill – starting the chain that resulted in Max King’s potentially game-saving mark. Clark finished the game with 19 touches, at 84 per cent efficiency, 17 pressure acts and four rebound 50s.
GWS Giants: Heath Shaw
Without key weapon Toby Greene, the Giants had to look elsewhere for goal scorers. They found it via an unlikely source with veteran defender Heath Shaw sneaking forward to nail two majors, one from a 50m penalty at a crucial time in the game. It was Shaw’s first goal since the 2016 preliminary final loss to the Western Bulldogs and in a tight game, his contributions were crucial.