aflplayers.com.au has discovered the players that played an underrated hand for their side in round 17. Whether it be a big moment in a close game, or an important role, these are the Unsung Heroes.
Melbourne – Tom McDonald
Questions were raised pre-game about Melbourne’s ability to win the premiership with their current forward line. With a big ask to beat Port Adelaide away from home, McDonald delivered one of his more influential games for the Dees collecting 19 disposals, taking eight marks and kicking three goals. The convincing 31-point victory put Melbourne a game clear at the top of the ladder.
Essendon – Mason Redman
Mason Redman continues to display why Essendon fans love his work so much. Working hard defensively, Redman collected 25 disposals at 88 per cent efficiency, including eight intercept possessions, took 11 marks and eight rebound 50s. The 63-point victory gave Essendon a much-needed percentage boost and kept their finals hopes alive.
Fremantle – Bailey Banfield
Returning to the senior line-up after a long lay off with injury, Banfield was prolific in the Dockers’ forward line. The 23-year-old kicked a career-high three goals to go with 13 touches and eight score involvements, as Fremantle pushed themselves into the top-eight.
Geelong – Brandan Parfitt
In a star-studded midfield Parfitt often flies under the radar. With captain Joel Selwood missing on the weekend and Mitch Duncan on the sidelines with a knee injury, Parfitt stepped up. The 23-year-old had 16 touches, laid seven tackles and had five score involvements as the Cats punished an inaccurate Carlton.
St Kilda – Tom Highmore
Against a highly-touted Brisbane line-up, Highmore continued his impressive season in a key defensive post for the Saints. Highmore had 16 disposals at an impressive 94 per cent efficiency, including a game-high nine intercept possessions, took seven marks and laid three tackles as the Saints kept their finals hopes alive.
Gold Coast Suns – Wil Powell
Wil Powell has been building nicely under coach Stuart Dew as a defender, playing an important role against the Giants in the game staged in Ballarat. Powell had 17 touches at 88 per cent efficiency and took seven marks to help the Suns clinch a thrilling one-point victory and their sixth win of the season.
Sydney Swans – Tom McCartin
In a game where Sydney asserted themselves as a genuine finals contender, Tom McCartin continued his impressive season. The 21-year-old had 16 disposals, a game-high 11 intercept possessions and 10 marks proving his importance to the Swans’ line-up.
Collingwood – Brayden Maynard
Playing undersized as a key defender on Jack Riewoldt, Maynard breathed life into the Magpies on Sunday. With his classic ferocity, Maynard was a critical defensive pillar, collecting 21 disposals, including 11 intercept possessions, taking seven marks and six rebound 50s. More importantly, Maynard kept Riewoldt to one goal as the Magpies stormed home to a 16-point victory.
North Melbourne – Jack Ziebell
It was one of the defining moments of North Melbourne’s upset victory against the Eagles and the response from Ziebell’s teammates was telling. With less than 20 seconds on the clock and North ahead by 10 points, Ziebell ran with sheer desperation to spoil the ball from Jamie Cripps and stop a certain Eagles mark. In a telling captain’s moment, his teammates flocked to him demonstrating how valued he is at the club. Ziebell was impressive off half-back all game, finishing with 27 touches, 11 rebound 50s, eight intercept possessions and six marks.