aflplayers.com.au has discovered the players that played an underrated hand for their side in round 13. Whether it be a big moment in a close game, or an important role, these are the Unsung Heroes.
Geelong — Brad Close
Such is the star power of Geelong’s senior unit that the talent of next generation Cats is often overlooked. Though Close was sourced from the SANFL and deemed a ‘mature-age recruit’, it’s worth remembering he is still only 22. All of Close’s 12 disposals were effective on Thursday night, which he combined with seven score involvements and 15 pressure acts.
Hawthorn — Jon Ceglar
Ceglar was a late inclusion for the injured Max Reeves for Hawthorn’s Friday night upset victory over Sydney, and the 204-centimetre big man certainly made a statement. Forget the 35 hitouts. Ceglar won 19 contested possessions — the most of any player on the ground, with Tom Mitchell next at 16 — laid four tackles, took a pair of contested marks and kicked a goal.
Fremantle — Sean Darcy
It might be time to recognise Darcy as one of the premier ruckmen of the competition. He celebrated his 23rd birthday in style on Saturday afternoon, continuing his breakout season with another all-round performance which included 40 hitouts, 17 disposals (13 contested), seven clearances, six tackles, five marks and a goal.
Adelaide — Ben Keays
Riley Thilthorpe’s miraculous, match-winning, over-the-head snap at the death will be remembered by Crows fans for years to come. But this game had another hero whose cape wasn’t quite as obvious. Ben Keays’ sudden rise to stardom could be one of the AFL’s best stories in 2021, and it continued on Saturday night as the 24-year-old had an equal game-high 21 kicks, along with a team-leading 10 tackles and five clearances.
North Melbourne — Trent Dumont
The importance of Dumont’s gradual return to form after being sidelined by a calf injury should be recognised. The 103-gamer has provided the Roos with a much-needed sense of seniority, and had 22 disposals at 81 percent efficiency on Sunday, along with seven marks and three tackles.
GWS Giants — Daniel Lloyd
The underrated forward might count as more of an ‘almost’ hero — his misguided kick in the dying stages couldn’t quite salvage a come-from-behind win for the Giants — but it was largely due to Lloyd’s efforts that the men in orange had a chance at victory in the first place. He sent a long-bomb home from 50 metres out at the 25-minute mark, then moments later, marked strongly in the hotspot and kicked truly to level the scores.
West Coast — Luke Edwards
In just his second-ever match, Edwards’ final-term performance with the match on the line against the reigning premiers bordered on elite. In the last quarter alone, Edwards notched up 11 disposals (four contested) along with four score involvements. In total, the 19-year-old had the second-highest disposal count on the ground (27).
Collingwood — Brody Mihocek
Week in, week out, Mihocek simply gets the job done. The Big Freeze 7 match against the Demons was no exception. Mihocek kicked three goals from 10 kicks, took five marks inside 50 (two contested), and had seven score involvements as the Pies sent Nathan Buckley off in style.