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Unsung heroes — Round 17

The superstars were at their best and the top eight continued to move around in Round 17, and have found the performances that went under the radar.

Essendon: Martin Geelson

Maligned at times from Essendon fans, Martin Gleeson has enjoyed an impressive run of form over the past few weeks. He was a rock in defence against the Saints on Friday night, taking 10 marks (three of which were contested) and finishing with 19 disposals at 94 percent.

Geelong: Lachie Henderson

While Patrick Dangerfield was tearing Hawthorn apart at full-forward, Lachie Henderson was keeping the goals away at the other end. Collecting 10 marks — two contested — to go with his 23 disposals and six rebounds, Henderson thwarted many Hawthorn attacks and was arguably equally as important as his star teammate.

Port Adelaide: Jared Polec

In a game where most Port Adelaide players had a day out, Jared Polec was one of the Power’s more underrated players. He continues to be the side’s barometer, collecting 23 disposals to go with six marks and four inside 50s but it was his 87 per cent disposal efficiency that proved his worth against North Melbourne.

Collingwood: Daniel Wells

In game 250, Daniel Wells’ slick skills were on show as they have been for the entirety of is career. The 32-year-old collected 18 touches and five inside 50s and his 88 per cent disposal efficiency did the damage in tough conditions against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.

Sydney: Kieren Jack

After an indifferent first few months of the season, Kieren Jack has returned to form in the last three weeks. The former Sydney co-captain’s work ethic is back to its best, collecting 22 touches, 11 tackles and seven inside 50s as the Swans continue to storm to September.

Adelaide: Daniel Talia

Coming up against a finals-bound Melbourne outfit, Daniel Talia was charged with stopping the in-form Tom McDonald on Saturday night. The Crows best and fairest winner not only managed to keep McDonald to 12 touches and a goal, but collected 19 disposals, six rebounds and 13 one-percenters himself.

Richmond: Dan Butler

Jack Riewoldt may have kicked four, and Dusty may have had 40, but it was Dan Butler’s ability to pressure and hit the scoreboard that proved to be just as vital. The fleet-footed Tiger kicked three goals, chalked up 16 disposals and laid seven tackles in their 31-point win.

Western Bulldogs: Lewis Young

The league’s youngest player couldn’t have done much better in his debut match. Lewis Young collected 21 disposals and nine marks — six of which were intercepts and two contested — as the Bulldogs returned to the winners list. While he made a few understandable errors, Luke Beveridge will surely persist with the 18-year-old.

West Coast: Brad Sheppard

Fremantle dominated the inside 50 count, but failed to make the most of their opportunities. One reason for that was Brad Sheppard, who continues his strong form in 2017. Along with Ross Glendinning medallist, Shannon Hurn, the versatile defender repelled many attacks as West Coast held off their cross-town rivals.