aflplayers.com.au has discovered the players that played an underrated hand for their side in round 14. Whether it be a big moment in a close game, or an important role, these are the Unsung Heroes.
Geelong — Sam Menegola
Menegola could be the competition’s most underrated player. With 27 touches — 17 of those contested — at 81 per cent efficiency, along with eight marks and two goals, Menegola’s performance demands respect. He was vital in the game’s dying stages, too, when he took a one-on-one contested mark against Bailey Smith and kicked truly from 40 metres out to regain the lead with four minutes to play.
Special mention: Toby McLean, whose successful return from an ACL injury delivered 21 disposals and an opportunistic goal in the dying stages which briefly put the Bulldogs back in front.
Port Adelaide — Miles Bergman
Port’s comfortable win over the Suns might have been ‘off-Broadway’, but Bergman’s career-best outing deserves wide recognition. The 12-gamer’s impressive stat-line shows 23 disposals at 96 per cent efficiency, seven marks, five tackles and four score involvements.
Brisbane Lions — Lincoln McCarthy
There’s Charlie Cameron, Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood in the Lions’ forward line, but the hard-working Lincoln McCarthy is equally crucial Brisbane’s forward mix. In a game where Brisbane was forced to grind out the win, McCarthy’s two goals, five tackles (two inside 50), 11 contested possessions and seven score involvements are evidence of his importance to the Lions’ premiership hopes.
GWS Giants — Matt de Boer
The blue-collar midfielder is a proven shutdown player, and on Saturday night, de Boer successfully curtailed the influence of Sam Walsh by restricting the precocious Blue to only six kicks. de Boer laid an equal game-high 12 tackles, compiled 16 disposals of his own and took five marks in another workmanlike effort.
Essendon — Sam Draper
Draper finally tasted victory on Sunday afternoon, as his return from injury marked the first-ever win in his 11-game career. The developing ruckman had been sidelined since round two with a syndesmosis tear, but came back to the big league in style with 14 contested possessions, four contested marks, nine clearances and 18 hitouts.