aflplayers.com.au has discovered the players that played an underrated hand for their side in round 2. Whether it be a big moment in a close game, or an important role, these are the Unsung Heroes.
Carlton – Charlie Curnow
A five-goal haul and exhibiting the spring and power he possessed prior to his debilitating knee injuries was a sight for Blues fans to behold. In his second game of the season, after shaking off the rust against Richmond last week, Curnow and reigning Coleman medallist Harry McKay combined for nine goals between them as the Blues proved they are force to be reckoned with in 2022 with a meritorious victory against the Western Bulldogs.
Sydney – Chad Warner
The emerging Swans midfielder returned from the AFL’s health and safety protocols for his first game of the season and made an immediate impact. Warner finished with 25 disposals, an equal team-high eight score involvements and three goal assists. The third of them will go down as one of the most famous assists of all time, as it led to Lance Franklin’s historic 1000th goal.
Collingwood – Jack Ginnivan
Ginnivan’s exuberant way of celebrating last week’s win against St Kilda was called into question by some in media circles, but the young Magpie let his footy do the talking in Saturday’s clash with the Crows. Ginnivan kicked a goal from 21 touches and provided important creativity as Craig Macrae’s side went to 2-0 on the win-loss ledger.
Brisbane Lions – Zac Bailey
Lachie Neale was the star of the show against the Bombers, but Zac Bailey’s contribution to the Lions’ second win of the season didn’t go unnoticed. Bailey may have only had 15 touches, but his influence was far greater. The young Lion kicked two goals and ran hard to receive the footy through the middle of the ground.
Hawthorn – Conor Nash
In what was an impressive Hawthorn victory in enemy territory at the Adelaide Oval, Nash’s athleticism is being utilised effectively by new coach Sam Mitchell. Two highlights that underline Nash’s development as a player was when he crumbed off the pack to kick his first goal of the night and outsprinted his Port opponent to the fall of the ball and when he hit up Mitch Lewis with a low spearing pass on the lead. The Irishman continues to impress.
Melbourne – Jake Bowey
The second-year defender had a career night against the Gold Coast, racking up a personal best 34 disposals in Melbourne’s workman-like win against the Suns. Bowey’s composure and ability to hit targets by foot were key reasons as to why he was selected in last year’s premiership side. The 19-year-old has taken that to a new level this season, getting more involved in transition so much so that Melbourne great Garry Lyon has declared he should be the Rising Star favourite.
North Melbourne – Hugh Greenwood
The former Sun played his best game for his new club, as North Melbourne outpointed the undermanned Eagles. It was a typical Greenwood performance as he thrived at the coalface, gathering a match-high 29 disposals (16 contested) and nine clearances. His role in the side is important with Jed Anderson still not back to full fitness and Ben Cunnington still recovering after his cancer battle.
Richmond – Noah Balta
Without a number of its stars including Dustin Martin, Dion Prestia and Jack Riewoldt, it was up to the Tigers’ lesser lights to stand up and have an impact. And after a pre-season training as a forward, that’s what Noah Balta did against the Giants. Balta’s supreme athleticism has long been a strength of his game and he put it to good use against GWS, booting a career-high four goals and taking six marks in a match-altering display.
St Kilda – Daniel McKenzie
McKenzie is starting to become a really consistent AFL player and is one of those who is underrated in Brett Ratten’s side. He does the tough stuff in the contest, but can also use the ball really well by foot as well. McKenzie had 19 disposals and seven intercepts against the Dockers as the Saints put together a third-quarter burst to run over the top of their opponents.