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Unsung Heroes — Round 21

With only two rounds to go until finals, highlights the players who played an understated role in their side’s Round 21 victory, whether it be a pivotal moment or a four-quarter performance. 

Hawthorn: Jonathon Ceglar 

Returning to the Hawks’ line-up after missing the Round 20 loss, Ceglar was a key cog in their 56-point victory. In snowy (yes, snowy) conditions, Ceglar was able to get on top of GWS Giants ruckmen Dawson Simpon and Shane Mumford early. He finished with 35 hit-outs, 16 disposals and eight clearances.

Collingwood: Brody Mihocek 

It’s hard to believe Brody Mihocek has only played 36 games of AFL-level football. With Collingwood on the brink of an injury crisis in 2019, Mihocek has quickly become Collingwood’s most important forward. In a low-scoring affair at the MCG on Saturday, Mihocek booted four goals and helped set up the Pies’ 17-point victory. But, it was Mihocek’s ability in the air and pressure that made him one of Collingwood’s best, finishing the game with seven marks and laying six tackles. Collingwood fans will tell you ‘Checkers’ is not an Unsung Hero, but it’s time he gets the recognition he deserves.

Port Adelaide: Charlie Dixon

Charlie Dixon has battled injury, media critics and naysayers this season but on Saturday against the Swans, and with a finals position on the line, he came out firing. Dixon kicked three goals in a potential danger game for the Power, with Port recording back-to-back wins for the first time since Round 6. Dixon finished the game with 12 disposals, five score involvements and three marks.

Brisbane: Marcus Adams 

After struggling with injury since crossing over from the Western Bulldogs in last year’s trade period, Marcus Adams is finally settling into the Lions’ best-22. Against the Suns on Saturday afternoon, Adams was a key cog in Brisbane’s defence taking a game-high 12 marks. In his first QClash, Adams collected 14 disposals and nine intercept possessions, showing why Brisbane were keen to lure the 26-year-old.

Geelong: Jack Henry

It’s hard to pick just one player when a team is as dominant as Geelong was on the weekend but 20-year-old Jack Henry stood out. A solid performer in defence, Henry had 14 touches and 12 one percenters as the Cats kept North Melbourne to its lowest ever score. Henry’s ability to attack the ball in the air and clear the area with big spoils made for one of his best games in his young career.

Western Bulldogs: Will Hayes 

One of the Western Bulldogs’ six multiple goal kickers on the weekend, Will Hayes was a dominant force in the Dogs’ forward 50. Hayes collected 22 disposals, seven marks and six score involvements to go with his two goals as the Dogs thumped Essendon by 104 points.

St Kilda: Jack Steven 

It’s hard to go past the four-time Trevor Barker medalist in his senior return. Steven kicked three goals and had 22 touches in his first AFL game since Round 6, proving why he is so important to the Saints’ line up and why the fans love him so much.

Richmond: Jack Graham

A key figure in Richmond’s 2017 premiership side, Jack Graham is starting to recapture the form that saw him kick three goals in the Grand Final. In windy and wet conditions at the MCG on Sunday, Graham kicked four first-half goals to set up the Tigers’ 28-point win. The unlikely game-breaker also laid a game-high 14 tackles (the next best was nine), finishing the day with 22 disposals and nine score involvements.

West Coast: Oscar Allen 

After playing everywhere this season, Oscar Allen settled in the Eagles’ forward line on Sunday. At only 20-years-old and playing his 21st career game, Allen kicked an equal team-high three goals and laid six tackles. The versatile big-man is able to play forward, back and ruck and will be a critical figure in West Coast’s premiership defence.