With the ladder beginning to take shape after another enthralling weekend of footy, AFLPlayers.com.au highlights those that played an underrated hand in their side’s victories.
Collingwood: Callum Brown
While the Lions had their hands full with the likes of Adam Treloar, Tom Phillips and Brody Mihocek, Callum Brown slipped under their radar. The 20-year-old Magpie is building nicely into his AFL career, collecting 14 disposals, six marks and five inside 50s to go with his two second-half goals in Round 5.
Essendon: Cale Hooker
Coming back into the team two weeks ago, Cale Hooker is showing just how integral he is to the Essendon side. The tall utility was at his best on Good Friday, collecting 22 disposals, 11 marks – three of which were contested – and five rebounds as the Bombers continued their return to form.
Port Adelaide: Connor Rozee
The Eagles were mounting an unlikely comeback deep into the third term when Power excitement machine Connor Rozee stepped up. With one minute to go until the final break, the 19-year-old found the ball out the back of a marking contest, sprinted inside 50, took a bounce in the wet and, at full speed, snapped a goal around the corner to sink the hearts of West Coast fans.
Fremantle: David Mundy
You wouldn’t think David Mundy is turning 34 in June because the former Docker skipper has hit a purple patch in the last few weeks. Following his 36 disposals in Round 4, Mundy played an underrated hand against the Giants on Saturday, collecting 25 touches, eight clearances and five tackles as Ross Lyon’s men dominated the Giants in a last quarter blitz.
St Kilda: Jack Lonie
With 15 disposals, eight marks and a goal, you’d be forgiven for thinking Jack Lonie had an average game in Round 5 but it was impact without ball in-hand that helped steer the Saints to a 4-1 start. The live wire forward had a couple of pivotal moments in contests, be it a spoil or a pressure act, that helped swing the contest the Saints way.
Richmond: Jason Castagna
Typifying the Tigers brand of football we’ve come to love and enjoy, Jason Castagna was at his hardworking best in Round 5. While he wasn’t the cleanest with with ball in hand, Castagna was a pressure king in Richmond’s forward half, laying a game-high eight tackles to go with his 14 disposals and a goal against the Swans.
Carlton: Matthew Kreuzer
How much of a difference Matthew Kreuzer makes to the Carlton side. It’s no coincidence the workmanlike ruckman’s inclusion coincided with the Blues’ first win of the season. Collecting 14 touches, two contested marks and five clearances on Sunday, the 29-year-old is the barometer for Brendon Bolton’s men.
Adelaide: Reilly O’Brien
Continuing the theme of unsung ruckman, Reilly O’Brien showed glimpses of why the Crows have persisted with him for so long. The 23-year-old has big shoes to fill with news Sam Jacobs will be out for an extended period and he didn’t disappoint in Round 5, registering 13 contested possessions, three contested marks and 34 hit-outs, while also going at 100 per cent disposal efficiency against the Suns.
Geelong: Harry Taylor
In a hotly contested Easter Monday clash, Harry Taylor was more than handy as the Cats stormed home to prove their premiership credentials. The experienced Cat played a hand at both ends of the ground against the Hawks, bobbing up for a mark and goal early in the second term, while also providing a couple of crafty moments throughout to add to his 21 disposals, four rebounds and 10 one-percenters.