The best weekend of footy in 2017 produced some absolute thrillers and plenty of players produced underrated performances in Round 14.
Hawthorn: Ricky Henderson
In his 100th game against his former side, Ricky Henderson continued his impressive form as the Hawks stunned Adelaide on Thursday night. As the away side surged home with five goals to two in the final term, Henderson played an integral part with two crucial majors. The 28-year-old collected 30 disposals for the first time this season and only the third time in his career, while also going at an impressive 90 percent disposal efficiency.
Sydney: Tom papley
It was the act that defined the result. Tom Papley’s smother from Brendon Goddard’s kick-in on Friday night presented the Swans the chance to steal all four points from the Bombers and they did exactly that from the resulting throw in. That one pressure act from the 20-year-old was just part and parcel of the performance he delivered against the Bombers, tormenting opposition defenders with six tackles, the second most for his side.
Port Adelaide: Jasper Pittard
Back in after spending a week in the SANFL, Pittard was back at his ball-using best on Saturday. The 26-year-old half-back collected 23 touches at 87 percent efficiency to go with seven on-percenters against the Magpies. A fit and firing Pittard will go a long way for the Power’s September assault.
GWS: Sam Reid
The Giants have been on the lookout for shutdown midfielder and it appears they may have found their man in Sam Reid. Leon Cameron tasked Reid with stopping Lions enforcer Dayne Zorko and he sure did deliver. Zorko was limited to just five disposals for the afternoon, all of which came in the first half and Reid ensured he hurt the Lions going the other way with 17 disposals and two goals of his own.
Western Bulldogs: Tom Campbell
Playing his first match since Round 5, Tom Campbell had a massive job rucking the whole match against Todd Goldstein and he delivered in spades. Collecting 49 hitouts to Goldstein’s 25, while gathering 12 touches, six tackles, two contested marks and a goal, the 25-year-old didn’t only hold his own against one of the best rucks in the game but was an influential figure in a one-point thriller.
Melbourne: Bernie Vince
With the Demons trailing by a few goals with not long to play, Bernie Vince’s willingness to take risks when coming out of defence at the right time allowed Melbourne to generate some momentum and eventually clinch the game. The veteran ball-user collected 27 disposals and seven rebounds and continues to be a wise head among the young Demon outfit.
Geelong: James Parsons
Trailing by 19 points at the final change and down to just one rotation, Geelong needed a monumental effort to overcome the Dockers on Sunday and they didn’t disappoint. Youngster James Parsons, in just his ninth game of AFL footy, provided the catalyst for the Cats’ comeback with two goals in the final term as the home side claimed a dramatic two-point win.
Richmond: Dan Butler
While the Tigers were inaccurate throughout the contest against the Blues on Sunday, one Richmond forward led the way. Dan Butler kicked two goals straight — both in the premiership quarter — to create a decent buffer for the Tigers from eight disposals while also laying seven tackles.
St Kilda: Koby Stevens
In his seventh game for his new club, Koby Stevens showed why the Saints were keen to secure his services in the off-season. His physicality shone through in what was a gritty win, laying 15 tackles and collecting 21 disposals as St Kilda managed to scrap their way back into the eight.