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 13 Unsung Heroes.
Carlton: Zac Fisher
After playing in round one, Fisher struggled to return to Carlton’s side following the season shutdown. But ever since he did in Round 11, he’s been playing an important forward role. In Friday night’s clash against the Suns, Fisher was all class despite the hot and humid conditions, collecting 21 disposals, involving himself in six scores and laying five tackles. It’s a bit of a different role from what he’s played previously, but Fisher is proving how crucial he is to Carlton’s side.
Western Bulldogs: Mitch Wallis
He’s shaping up as an unlikely Coleman Medal contender but in a year as unusual as 2020, anything can happen. Wallis is embracing his new role playing as a deep forward and against the Dees he kicked a career-high four goals. With the Dogs’ forward line hit by injuries and inconsistent performers, Wallis has been a shining light this season kicking 20 goals in 13 games.
Port Adelaide: Sam Powell-Pepper
The game’s defining moment will be remembered for the way Zak Butters swooped in and kicked a remarkable goal to seal the result for Port. But it wouldn’t have been possible unless Sam Powell-Pepper laid a key block on Hawk Tom Mitchell to open up the space in the first place. It was the ultimate team act from a player who continues to develop and find his niche in the Port Adelaide side.
Richmond: Daniel Rioli
After being dropped earlier this season following a quiet run of form, it was fitting that Rioli played his best game for the season during Sir Doug Nicholls round. In his third game back Rioli collected 16 touches, laid five tackles and kicked a goal, looking more at home in Richmond’s senior line-up.
Fremantle: Mitch Crowden
Crowden is making the most of his opportunity after returning to the senior side, doing the things that coach Justin Longmuir would love. The 21-year-old has a mature body and he uses his power to good effect, laying five tackles against the Swans. It’s his attack on the ball and on the man that has earned him the nickname ‘spleen rupturer’ among Fremantle fans.
Geelong: Jack Steven
Playing in his first game since round 11, after being managed out of the side, Steven looked sharp and ready to attack against the Crows. The former St Kilda midfielder provided zip through the midfield, gathering 24 disposals and six clearances to be one of the Cats’ standout players against Adelaide.
Brisbane: Tom Fullarton
After joining Brisbane as a Category B rookie ahead of the 2019 season, Fullarton made his long awaited debut on the weekend. The former Brisbane Bullets basketballer looked at home on the footy field with some key moments in the game highlighting his athleticism. After contesting a ruck contest against St Kilda’s Paddy Ryder in the Lions’ defensive 50, Fullarton pushed forward to find himself on the end of a Lincoln McCarthy handball and kicking his first goal on the run. It was a key moment for the Lions, capitalising on their third quarter dominance but also highlighted why the club were excited to have Fullarton onboard.
West Coast: Brendon Ah Chee
Brandon Ah Chee’s AFL career looked almost over at the end of 2019, but significant improvement this season has seen him become a staple of the Eagles’ best 22. While he doesn’t necessarily set the stats sheet alight, Ah Chee’s workrate and ability to impact the scoreboard is what makes him such a valuable contributor. Against the Eagles he had nine disposals, an equal team-high seven score involvements and took five marks to go with his two majors.
Collingwood: Chris Mayne
The veteran midfielder was dropped only three weeks ago but you always know what you’re going to get with Mayne: maximum effort. Mayne wore a heavy hit at half-back and had to be patched back up, although his courage to put his body on the line led to a goal at the other end from Josh Thomas. Mayne finished with 24 disposals and six intercepts to underline why he has been such an underrated member of this Collingwood side.