Each week, AFLPlayers.com.au looks at the players who flew under the radar in their team’s victory.
Richmond: Reece Conca
Returning for the first time after what looked to be a serious injury against the Swans, Reece Conca made an immediate impact for Richmond on Friday night. As the Tigers narrowly held off Essendon to end their season, Conca collected the footy 21 times, laid five tackles and had six score involvements.
Collingwood: Brayden Maynard
It was an arm wrestle for three quarters, until Collingwood charged home in the last quarter for an emphatic victory. In true fashion, Brayden Maynard battled away across half-back, laying seven tackles, winning a nnumber of crucial one-on-ones and gathering the footy 23 times.
Geelong: Lachie Henderson
It’s hard to pick an unsung hero in a side that won by 133 points but Lachie Henderson is beginning to find his groove after an injury-plagued year. Playing his fifth game in 2018, Henderson collected 20 disposals, at 95 per cent efficiency, five rebounds and 11 one-percenters as the Cats inflicted the Dockers’ worst ever defeat.
Sydney: Zak Jones
We should learn never to write off the Swans and Zak Jones was one of their better contributors in Round 22. The Sydney speedster was the most efficient Swan on the ground, going at 87 per cent by hand and foot throughout his 23 disposals.
Brisbane: Allen Christensen
As the Lions look to take the next step, a fit and firing Allen Christensen goes a long way to making it happen. The former Cat was finding the footy everywhere on the outside against the Suns, collecting 22 touches at 90 per cent efficiency and taking 10 marks as Chris Fagan’s men continued their impressive rebuild.
Hawthorn: Ben McEvoy
Just as the competition were beginning to fear the Hawks again, the return of Ben McEvoy may have just made Alastair Clarkson’s side into a genuine threat. During the near-miss against the Saints in Round 22, McEvoy recorded 32 hit-outs, four contested marks and kicked two goals in the second quarter proving just how how important his inclusion is as the Hawks enter September.
Western Bulldogs: Jackson Trengove
Tackling his former teammate in Matthew Lobbe, Jackson Trengove gave up a large size advantage in the ruck, but battled on manfully as the Dogs secured their third win in a row on Sunday. The former member of the Power kicked a goal, collected 17 disposals, had 24 hit-outs and propelled the football forward with eight clearances.
Melbourne: Dean Kent
The Eagles were coming but the Demons had secured a small lead against their opponents once more with two and a half minutes to go in the final term when Dean Kent seized his moment. Having a set shot from almost directly in front 40 metres out, the Melbourne small forward, who hadn’t played since Round 5, waltzed in and cooly slotted the major, all but sending the Dees through to their first finals series in 12 years.
Adelaide: Jake Kelly
As the Kangaroos launched one last roll of the dice from deep in their defensive 50, it took a young Crow standing up to put the result beyond doubt. Jake Kelly stood under a high ball from Majak Daw between two North Melbourne players just beyond the defensive 50 arc, held his nerve, claimed the mark and chipped the ball to a teammate with less than 40 seconds to play. The result was an Adelaide victory and the end of the Kangaroos finals chances.