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Unsung heroes — Round 16

As the pointy end of the season draws nearer and the competition stays tight in the top eight, found those who slipped under the radar for your club in Round 16.

Adelaide: Andy Otten

Having spent most of his time up forward this season, Andy Otten was shifted into defence on Friday night to cover the loss of Kyle Hartigan to a hamstring injury. Otten repaid the faith shown by coach Don Pyke with a complete performance, as he racked up 21 disposals along with 10 marks. But what is sure to please Pyke even more than those numbers is the fact, Otten disposed of the ball almost perfectly throughout the game, going at 95.2 per cent disposal efficiency, a team high.

Hawthorn: Taylor Duryea

Round 16 was the second consecutive week Taylor Duryea has bobbed up for multiple goals. The small defender-turned-forward kicked the Hawks first for the day and also the first major of the third term to keep the pressure on the Giants in Tassie. So far the left-footer’s experiment in the forward half is paying dividends.

Essendon: Andrew McGrath

All the stars fired for the Bombers on their Saturday clash and a youngster’s dash off half-back went a long way to securing victory. Andy McGrath’s 21 touches at 85 per cent efficiency in the back half was important when the game was there to be won. The first-year Don sits comfortably alongside James Kelly, Conor McKenna, Mark Baguley and Michael Hurley in one of the more potent defences in the competition.

Sydney: George Hewett

After a few impressive run-with roles in other weeks, George Hewett has worked his way into a strong Sydney midfield. Collecting 17 touches at 82 per cent efficiency, six tackles and two goals, the 21-year-old is becoming one of the more underrated players in the competition’s in-form side.

Geelong: Lachie Henderson

While the Cats produced a strong display forward of centre against the Lions on Saturday night, defender Lachie Henderson was a key to setting up a number of forays inside forward 50. The 27-year-old produced arguably his best game in a Geelong jumper collecting 27 disposals, a career high, along with 11 marks, the equal-most since crossing to the club last season. Henderson worked hard at both ends of the ground racking up four inside 50s and six rebound 50s.

St Kilda: Billy Longer

If outsiders weren’t sure why Alan Richardson has opted for Longer as the team’s No. 1 ruck choice since Round 5, they received a pretty clear reason why on Saturday night against Richmond. The big man took it up to the in-form Toby Nankervis, giving the Saints first use during their dominant first half. He even managed his first goal for the season during their second quarter run.

Fremantle: Stephen Hill

While Stephen Hill’s stats have been down since returning from a hamstring injury in Round 9 but he was as effective as ever against North Melbourne. Collecting 20 disposals, the Fremantle speedster rarely wasted a possession, using the ball at 95 per cent efficiency and recording five inside 50s.

Melbourne: Sam Frost

Since forcing his way into the side in Round 4, Sam Frost has been the cornerstone of Melbourne’s defence and his Round 16 effort was one of his best. The 23-year-old had his hands full in the air with Levi Casboult but made a couple of dashing runs from defence on his way to 19 touches, two contested marks and 10 one-percenters.

Port Adelaide: Travis Boak

It was an important game for Port Adelaide and you only had to look at the effort from the skipper to see how vital it was. Travis Boak, by his usual standards, has been below par in 2017 but he worked hard for his 25 touches, nine marks, five tackles and a goal against the Eagles in Perth to launch the Power back in the top four with seven weeks to go.