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Unsung Heroes — Round 14

The last week of the bye rounds resulted in more tight contests and upset victories. highlights the players who played an understated role in their side’s win. 

West Coast: Jamie Cripps

Playing in one of the most dangerous forward lines in the competition, Cripps added another worry for Essendon’s defenders on Thursday night. Cripps gathered 19 disposals, 88 per cent of which came in West Coast’s forward half, and kicked two goals. But, it was his work rate that was most influential. Cripps had 31 pressure acts and 10 score involvements as the Eagles ran out 35-point winners.

Sydney: Jordan Dawson

Dawson’s development has been central to the Swans’ renaissance, with many of the club’s young players starting to take ownership for the team’s performances. The 22-year-old is a good size and can play in all three areas of the ground making him a valuable commodity for coach John Longmire. Dawson’s 22 disposals and 11 marks were central to Sydney’s win over Hawthorn on Friday night.

Melbourne: Tim Smith 

As Tom McDonald played his best game for 2019, little-known Tim Smith provided another challenge for Fremantle’s defenders. In his 11th game of AFL football, Smith kicked three goals, collected 10 disposals and had seven score involvements as Melbourne snapped a four-match losing streak.

Brisbane: Allen Christensen 

Returning to Brisbane’s line-up for his third game of 2019, Allen Christensen played a pivotal role in the Lions’ convincing victory over St Kilda. With the likes of Charlie Cameron, Hugh McCluggage, Dayne Zorko and Jarryd Lyons receiving all the plaudits, Christensen flew under the radar. The 28-year-old collected 18 disposals, at 83 per cent efficiency, took six marks and laid six tackles, including five inside 50s. But, it was his two goals, including a magnificent snap from the boundary that were most impressive.

Port Adelaide: Dan Houston

The Port youngster kept Brownlow fancy Tim Kelly to just 17 disposals and importantly just three clearances as the Power’s midfielders destroyed their Geelong counterparts on Saturday night. Houston also won his fair share of the ball as well, gathering 26 disposals to go with five clearances and six inside 50s.

Collingwood: Will Hoskin-Elliott 

With Collingwood revamping their team structure in light of Jaidyn Stephenson’s suspension to a three-pronged tall forward-line, Will Hoskin-Elliott shifted to a role on the wing against the Bulldogs. Spending his time equally in Collingwood’s defensive and forward halves, Hoskin-Elliott racked up 19 disposals and a game-high 10 marks, nine of which were uncontested. Hoskin-Elliott’s run and carry was pivotal to Collingwood’s 10th win of the season.