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Unsung heroes — Round 19

Each week, looks at the players who flew under the radar in their team’s victory.

Essendon: Adam Saad

Not many players can thrill the crowd with genuine speed but Adam Saad is a huge exception. The former Sun was doing what he liked on Friday night against the Swans, recording 24 disposals at 87 per cent efficiency, six bounces and five rebounds as the Bombers eventually took control.

Richmond: Jack Higgins

Not just because he kicked one of the more extraordinary goals you’ll ever see but Jack Higgins was also in fine touch in Round 19. Last week’s Rising Star nominee collected 20 touches, five clearances and kicked two goals and continues to excite the competition.

Geelong: Mitch Duncan

It’s hard to believe that Mitch Duncan, after nine years and 175 games, is still underrated. The 27-year-old Cat was collecting the ball at will on Saturday registering 28 touches, 10 marks and five inside 50s as Geelong blew the Lions out of the water in the second half.

GWS: Jacob Hopper

In what proved to be a tougher slog than many thought, the Giants eventually prevailed by 25 points over the Saints, but were given an almighty fright. Jacob Hopper was immense in the middle of the ground, finishing with a game-high eight tackles and 23 disposals in the clinches. With Callan Ward well held by Jack Steele, Hopper’s underrated role proved pivotal as GWS’ push for a top-four berth continues.

Carlton: Darcy Lang

After an indifferent season, Darcy Lang put in his best effort in the navy blue jumper on Saturday night. The former Cat collected 20 disposals and kicked two goals but it was his pressure that helped the Blues most to their second win of the season, with 22-year-old also laying nine tackles against the Suns.

Melbourne: Jesse Hogan

It wasn’t a good night for key forwards at Adelaide Oval but Jesse Hogan stood up when his side needed him most. With the Demons managing to scramble a kick to the forward flank with 30 seconds remaining, Hogan needed to make a contest at a minimum but he also collected the ball, which allowed Christian Petracca and Alex Neal-Bullen to ice the match.

North Melbourne: Jed Anderson

It was perhaps their best performance of the season, so with that in mind it’s hard to find just one unsung hero for the Kangaroos. Jed Anderson’s consistent season continued on Sunday afternoon, gathering 23 possessions, laying six tackles and kicking a late goal as North Melbourne ran out 40-point victors over the Eagles.

Port Adelaide: Sam Powell-Pepper

In a game that was crying out for cleanliness around the ball, Sam Powell-Pepper delivered. Despite only collecting the ball 14 times, the hard-at-it midfielder was the second most efficient player on the ground, with 86 per cent of his touches reaching their intended target. In typical Powell-Pepper fashion, he also laid six tackles.

Hawthorn: Teia Miles

After a few years waiting in the wings, Teia Miles hasn’t looked out of place in the Hawthorn line-up in 2018 and Round 19 was his best performance yet. While the Hawks comfortably accounted for the Dockers in Perth, the 21-year-old was involved from start to finish, collecting 23 disposals, four rebounds, four tackles and kicked a goal.