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Unsung heroes — Round 21

With only two rounds to go, we’re no closer to finalising the top eight but while analysis of which clubs can go the distance continues, have found those who played an underrated hand in Round 21.

GWS: Lachie Whitfield

In a game where the Giants were smashed in the inside 50 count (65-34), they managed to take their chances to comfortably overcome the Bulldogs on the scoreboard. Lachie Whitfield ran all day, kicking two goals and gathering 20 disposals at 86 percent disposal efficiency.

Sydney: Callum Mills

It’s hard to believe Callum Mills is still only 20 years old. The young defender collected 19 disposals — at 89 per cent efficiency — and eight marks, three of which were contested, again showing maturity beyond his years as he has throughout his AFL career.

Geelong: Steven Motlop

With the game on the line in the last term, Steven Motlop came up big with the first goal of the quarter at the 11-minute mark. The out-of-contract Cat was full of run in the last term, breaking the lines on numerous occasions which opened up the game as the Tigers began to tire. His final 30 minutes saw him complete a well-rounded performance which included 19 disposals, seven inside 50s and six bounces.

Brisbane: Jake Barrett

On a night where the Lions showed they are going to be a forced to be reckoned with moving forward, 21-year-old Jake Barrett showed off his class in the forward 50. The former GWS Giants listed player was a constant threat in the second QClash of the season — making the most of his 14 disposals by kicking three goals. His pressure as a small forward was just as impressive, laying an equal team-high six tackles.

Adelaide: Richard Douglas

He’s one of the most underrated 200-games in the competition and Richard Douglas flew under the radar again on Saturday night against the Bombers. In a fast, end-to-end battle at Etihad, Douglas was cleaner than most, kicking two important goals in the first half and collecting 23 disposals for the match.

West Coast: Luke Shuey

While his teammates have faulted at various times throughout the season, Luke Shuey has been one of the Eagles’ most consistent. The hardened midfielder collected 23 touches — 14 contested — a game-high nine clearances and six inside 50s to continually provide drive in the centre square as West Coast held off a fast-finishing Carlton.

Melbourne: Angus Brayshaw

After suffering through his toughest season as a professional, the footy world was ecstatic to see Angus Brayshaw return on Sunday. He was tested early, colliding with Koby Stevens in the opening minutes, but that didn’t deter him, finishing the game with 26 disposals off half-back.

Hawthorn: Ricky Henderson

Former Crow Ricky Henderson has been another Hawk who has grown in 2017. In Round 21, the 28-year-old collected 23 disposals — at 91 per cent efficiency — eight marks, and two goals and has proved to be more than a handy pick up for Alastair Clarkson, particularly in front of goal.

Port Adelaide: Dan Houston

The Power have found one in youngster Dan Houston. The 20-year-old, who made his debut in Round 1, had arguably his best game on Sunday, collecting 21 touches, a game-high six rebounds and kicked a goal as Port Adelaide responded to last week’s Showdown hiccup.