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Unsung Heroes — Round 11

Each week, 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 11 Unsung Heroes.  

North Melbourne: Cameron Zurhaar

Cementing himself as a crucial cog in North Melbourne’s forward line this season, Cameron Zurhaar set the tone for a high pressure game on Friday night against the Tigers. Zurhaar laid five tackles in the first quarter, finishing with a game-high 11 to go with his 11 possessions and seven score involvements.

Fremantle: Andrew Brayshaw 

In the final four minutes of Saturday’s game, Andrew Brayshaw’s pressure and want for the footy outweighed that of his opponent Steele Sidebottom. He beat Sidebottom in a number of contests, leading to Fremantle regaining possession in the dying minutes of the game. Brayshaw finished with an equal team-high 22 pressure acts to go with his 21 disposals, six score involvements and four tackles in the Dockers’ thrilling four-point victory.

GWS Giants: Sam Reid

In a team full of stars, Sam Reid is generally one of the last players to receive any plaudits. However, his shut down job on dangerous Gold Coast forward Alex Sexton deserves a mention. Sexton had kicked 21 goals leading into Saturday’s game, but Reid kept him to just one and five disposals in a superb defensive role.

Geelong: Brandan Parfitt

In a scrappy game, Parfitt’s pressure around the ball and in attack was crucial in Geelong wearing down Sydney. The Cats youngster, who played one of his best games for the season, gathered 23 disposals and laid five tackles to be a key complement to Patrick Dangerfield and Tim Kelly through the midfield.

Brisbane: Lewis Taylor

After a slow start, Lewis Taylor catapulted himself and the Lions into the match with an equal team-high nine and 11 disposals in the second and third quarters, respectively. Taylor kicked his only goal late in the second term to cut the Hawks margin to seven points shortly before the main break. Taylor finished the game with 28 disposals, seven marks and three clearances as the Lions improved to 7-4.

Adelaide: Bryce Gibbs

Returning to the Crows lineup, Bryce Gibbs had the challenging role of stopping Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver in the third quarter. After running rampant until half-time with 23 disposals, Crows coach Don Pyke sent Gibbs to Oliver to curtail his impact. It worked, with Oliver having just two touches for the quarter and the Crows kicking four goals to two to reduce the deficit to 16 points at the final break. Although Gibbs finished the game with 13 disposals, his impact in the third quarter can’t be overlooked.

Port Adelaide: Karl Amon

Playing in his 49th AFL game, Amon collected a career-high 28 disposals in Port Adelaide’s demolition of St Kilda in Shanghai, China. The Port youngster also had five clearances and five inside 50s to pick up a vote in the Shanghai Medal.

Essendon: Dylan Clarke 

It was just his second game of AFL after making his debut in 2018, but Dylan Clarke made his presence known. The 20-year-old was given the tough task of tagging in-form Blue Patrick Cripps and he rose to the challenge. Clarke kept Cripps to his lowest disposal count (11) since late 2017, while collecting 23 touches of his own and laying a game-high 10 tackles to be a key contributor in Essendon’s victory.

West Coast: Jake Waterman

Finding himself in and out of the Eagles’ side, Waterman had gone goalless in his previous three games at senior level in 2019. But the 21-year-old caught fire against the Western Bulldogs, booting three goals in two minutes in the third term. It was Waterman’s top output at AFL level so far, with a career-high 22 disposals underlining his improvement.