Each week, aflplayers.com.au looks at the players who flew under the radar in their team’s victory. Whether it was a moment of impact or a four-quarter performance, these are the Round 16 Unsung Heroes.
Port Adelaide: Sam Powell-Pepper
Sam Powell-Pepper’s star continues to rise this season at Port Adelaide. The 22-year-old has become a key component of the Power’s forward 50 and on the weekend he continued to show why he’s valued so highly. Powell-Pepper collected 18 touches, eight score involvements, five inside 50s in his side’s 36-point win, but also showed he can be a force in the midfield with three clearances.
St Kilda: Rowan Marshall
With Tim Membrey and Max King on the sidelines, the Saints turned to Rowan Marshall to be the tall timber in their forward-line. The acquisition of Paddy Ryder in the off-season meant the Saints weren’t falling short in the ruck and Marshall was able to control the forward 50. It was a tight contest for the bulk of the game, but Marshall kicked an important two goals, including the Saints’ first of the game, 16 minutes into the first term. He finished the game with 14 touches, eight marks and six score involvements as the Saints edged themselves closer to a finals berth.
Geelong: Jed Bews
Bews has always been highly regarded as a defensive-minded shut-down player. But in the past two weeks he has displayed more and more offensive prowess in his game. The Cats defender booted two goals from 12 disposals in a thumping win over Essendon, demonstrating his speed and breakaway ability through the middle of the Gabba with a couple of eye-catching running goals.
Western Bulldogs: Tim English
Since arriving at the club with pick No.19 in the 2016 Draft, English has shown he has all the tools to become a top big man at AFL level. But it’s been a matter of the Bulldogs waiting for the ruckman to physically mature into his body so that he can compete with his big opponents. Against the Eagles, English showed some real progression with a pair of crucial late contested marks stifling any chance of a late West Coast comeback.
Fremantle: David Mundy
Fremantle’s midfield has been much improved because of the development of the likes of Andrew Brayshaw, Adam Cerra and Caleb Serong. But a mainstay in the engine room – David Mundy – is going as well as ever. In slippery conditions in Cairns, Mundy made it look like he was handling a dry footy finishing with 20 disposals (16 contested possessions) and seven clearances.
Adelaide: Elliott Himmelberg
A shining light for the Crows this season has been Elliot Himmelberg’s continual developmnent and his improved forward craft was on display against the Giants on Tuesday evening. Himmelberg collected 14 touches, had seven score involvements and kicked two goals in his sides 12-point victory but it was his ability to provide another forward target option and be imposing in the air that was most impressive. At only 22, there’s plenty of upside for Himmelberg.
Carlton: Matthew Cottrell
It has to be the match-winner, doesn’t it? The former Dandenong Stingrays junior, who was selected during the 2019 Supplemental Selection Period (SSP), made the most of his opportunity to clinch the victory and give Carlton a mathematical chance at finals. Cottrell only had nine disposals for the game but is improving week-on-week as he finds his feet at the elite level.
Brisbane: Jack Payne
Chris Fagan told the media earlier this week that the Brisbane Lions weren’t the ‘Harris Andrews Football Club’ and didn’t Jack Payne prove him right. Playing just his second game, the 20-year-old did an admirable job covering for the injured Andrews while playing on Ben King. Although King kicked two goals he had little influence on the contest while Payne collected an impressive 10 intercept possessions, took six marks and three rebound 50s.
BYES: Richmond and Collingwood