With the top eight set and ready for another stellar finals series, AFLPlayers.com.au tracked those who played an underrated hand in Round 23.
Hawthorn: Harry Morrison
As the weekend kicked off with three careers coming to a close, one was just beginning with Harry Morrison making an impressive debut in Round 23. The first-year Hawk collected 21 disposals, 10 of those coming in the second quarter, and three inside 50s. While he’s not quick, Morrison possesses footy smarts similar to cousin Tom Rockliff.
Collingwood: Tom Langdon
With the Demons desperately charging home with finals in their sights, Tom Langdon was a vital roadblock that helped end Melbourne’s 2017 campaign. Langdon collected 17 touches at 82 per cent efficiency and six marks, picking off a couple of Demon attacks late in the match.
North Melbourne: Andrew Swallow
With his future uncertain, Andrew Swallow’s endeavour can never be questioned. The former North skipper worked as tirelessly as ever for his 22 disposals and eight clearances in the club’s 51-point home and away season finale against the Lions.
Sydney: Gary Rohan
While Lance Franklin stole the show for the Swans, kicking 10 goals and claiming his fourth Coleman Medal, Gary Rohan played second fiddle well. Rohan kicked three goals from his 11 touches and worked hard around the ground also, laying six tackles as Sydney stormed into another finals campaign – their 14th in 15 years.
Geelong: Tom Stewart
The mature age, first-year defender has come on in leaps and bounds in 2017, and he put together another dogged display in a must-win game against the Giants. The 24-year-old finished with 18 disposals and eight marks, at 83 per cent disposal efficiency.
Port Adelaide: Brad Ebert
Selecting an unsung hero for a team that won by 115 points is a difficult task, but Brad Ebert’s 12 tackles and 24 disposals stood out for the Power. The victory sealed fifth spot for Port Adelaide, reaching September for the first time since coming within a goal of Grand Final berth in 2014.
Essendon: James Stewart
Throughout the duration of the 2017 season, James Stewart has threatened to make a big statement on games and that’s exactly what he did on Sunday afternoon. The former Giant was a constant headache for Fremantle’s defence, finishing with four goals along with 13 disposals.
Richmond: Shaun Grigg
Richmond had a great spread of goals against St Kilda in Round 23, with six players kicking multiples. One of those was Shaun Grigg, who continues to go under the radar behind the likes of Trent Cotchin, Dustin Martin and Dion Prestia. He finished with three goals, 24 disposals and found himself in the ruck again fighting off bigger opponents.
West Coast: Matt Priddis
The equation was simple for West Coast, win by enough and eighth spot was theirs. Win they did, and a veteran midfielder who announced his retirement a few weeks back was pivotal in their 29-point win. Matt Priddis collected his 20 disposals but it was eight tackles in the clinches that were most valuable.