As the pointy end of the season draws nearer, AFLPlayers.com.au has found those who flew under the radar in Round 18.
Adelaide: Brad Crouch
Brad Crouch’s statistics — 29 disposals and seven tackles — won’t jump off the page when assessing the key movers in the middle of the ground. But speaking post-game, Don Pyke revealed that the midfielder sustained a fractured cheekbone in the third quarter, but managed to fight through under duress as the Crows held off the Cats.
Essendon: Darcy Parish
It was another solid effort for Darcy Parish as the teenager continued his good form since returning from a short stint on the sidelines a month ago. Parish registered 23 disposals at 83 per cent efficiency, six clearances and a goal, continuing to thrive under the guidance of his more senior midfielders.
Melbourne: Jake Melksham
Playing as a defensive forward and various run-with roles, Jake Melksham has become an important cog in the finals-bound Demons side. The former Bomber kicked three goals for the second week in a row, all coming in the second half of their Round 18 clash against Port Adelaide.
Western Bulldogs: Shane Biggs
As the Bulldogs returned to the winners list, Shane Biggs was an important ball-user throughout their Round 18 clash. The premiership-winning half-back collected 27 touches — the majority of which were uncontested — at 92.6 per cent efficiency, dishing the ball off to teammates effectively.
Sydney: Lewis Melican
Along with Nic Newman, Sydney’s other 2015 rookie selection has enjoyed a consistent run of form in 2017. Lewis Melican was thrown the challenge of curtailing Nick Riewoldt on Saturday night, and he delivered in spades, keeping the Saints’ veteran to one goal and 10 disposals.
Hawthorn: James Sicily
After struggling following Round 7 with the Hawks 2-5, James Sicily’s reinvention as a defender has been a remarkable success. The hot-headed Hawk was super cool with ball in hand in the back half, registering 29 Disposals at 89.7 per cent efficiency. Sicily has averaged 23 touches in his last five outings.
Richmond: Jason Castagna
In an old school Sunday slog at the MCG, Jason Castagna’s pressure game went underrated in a thrilling Tigers win. The small forward applied a game-high nine tackles, adequately assisting the downpour in terrorising the Giants’ defenders.
Collingwood: Levi Greenwood
His hardness around the ball is a given but it was Levi Greenwood who was able to start the Magpies run late in the last quarter with a goal before sending the ball inside 50 to Jordan De Goey in the next play, which brought the Magpies within four points.
Brisbane: Tom Rockliff
He was named as the one of the Lions’ best but former skipper Tom Rockliff deserves all the praise he gets for his selfless and equally vital display against the Blues. Rockliff collected only 10 disposals and five tackles but tagged Byrce Gibbs, keeping the in-form Carlton star to eight touches and curbing his influence for the entirety of the game.