After 81 days footy is back! Round 2 brought a draw between two sides for the first time in 103 years, a shock upset and last minute goals. We take a look at the players that played an underrated hand for their side from the first weekend of footy. Whether it be a big moment in a close game, or an important role, these are the unsung heroes.
Richmond: Shai Bolton
Cementing himself in Richmond’s best 22 last season, Bolton picked up the season restart where he left off. Admired by the Tigers’ faithful for his pressure and hard-at-it attitude, Bolton collected 11 touches, laid six tackles, had six inside 50s and kicked a goal in the two sides’ first draw in 103 years.
Collingwood: Josh Daicos
As Collingwood shot out of the blocks against the Tigers, so did third-year Magpie Daicos. The son of Collingwood great Peter, the younger Daicos collected 10 touches in the first quarter, finishing the game with 24 at 88 per cent efficiency. While he didn’t impact the scoreboard, Daicos gave Pies fans plenty to be excited about with his impressive work rate.
Geelong: Brandan Parfitt
After missing round one with a back complaint, a fit Parfitt was exactly the inclusion Geelong needed to bolster its midfield. Sporting cornrows like Allen Iverson in his prime, the young Cat gathered 19 disposals, laid 10 tackles and collected eight clearances to underline his credentials as an an up-and-coming star of the competition.
Brisbane: Brandon Starcevich
The defender played the best game of his young career against the Dockers, gathering a career-high 17 disposals and contributing with seven rebound 50s. The son of Lions’ AFLW coach Craig is starting to make a name for himself with his aggressive style and ability to lock down on dangerous small forwards.
Melbourne: Jayden Hunt
Hunt has bounced between defence and attack a lot during his career as he’s tried to establish himself as a permanent member of the Demons’ side. The speedster missed selection in round one, but highlighted exactly why he should be in the side against the Blues. Hunt’s speed and forward line pressure was there for all to see and cashed in with three goals as well.
Gold Coast: Noah Anderson
While last year’s No. 1 pick Matthew Rowell is (rightly) receiving all the plaudits, his best mate and last year’s No. 2 draft pick Noah Anderson showed on Saturday night why the Suns were so keen on drafting him. The second-gamer had 19 disposals, took five marks and kicked a goal as Gold Coast snapped a 19-game losing streak with a 44-point upset win over the Eagles.
Port Adelaide: Steven Motlop
In the Power’s biggest-ever Showdown win, Motlop shone. Collecting 24 disposals, eight score involvements, and kicking two goals, Motlop helped lead the Power to a convincing 75-point win, establishing themselves as the South Australian team to beat this season.
North Melbourne: Cameron Zurhaar
With North Melbourne playing the GWS Giants in the first fly-in, fly-out game of the season restart, pundits were unsure of how the day was going to unfold. The early start didn’t seem to faze ‘the bull’ – Cameron Zurhaar – with the 22-year-old kicking the first goal of the game. Zurhaar finished with three majors to go with his 11 touches and seven score involvements.
Essendon: Darcy Parish
It was a slow start for Darcy Parish against the Swans on Sunday, with the 22-year-old collecting just four touches in the first three quarters. When the game was on the line in the final term, Parish impacted the contest at every turn gathering 13 touches. But, it was his final kick of the day that impressed Bombers fans most. In the final minute of the game Parish nailed a set shot from the boundary to give the Bombers a six-point win.
St Kilda: Dan Butler
After struggling to cement himself in Richmond’s best 22 following a stunning debut season in 2017, Butler was one of the Saints’ new recruits ahead of 2020. In his second game for the club yesterday he proved his worth, collecting 14 touches, eight score involvements, laying six tackles, and kicking two goals. With the Saints securing a 39-point win, he gave the Moorabbin faithful plenty to be excited about.