Fans Players

Unsung heroes — Round 7

It was a week of upsets and has found the players that flew under the radar for your club in Round 7.

St Kilda: Blake Acres

To overcome the Giants, you require a whole team effort, and that’s what the Saints got in the final quarter when they marched to victory with six goals to one. Trailing by nine points early in the last term, an unlikely hero stepped up for St Kilda, with Blake Acres kicking consecutive goals a minute apart to turn the deficit into a three-point lead. He finished the game with 23 disposals and two goals, including 10 touches in the last quarter.

North Melbourne: Sam Gibson

While Jarrad Waite returned to the side with six goals, it was the efforts of Sam Gibson that set the precedent for North Melbourne. Collecting 20 disposals but more importantly keeping Rory Sloane, the in form player of the competition, to 14 disposals proved pivotal.

Carlton: Ed Curnow

While the Blues’ skipper was enormous and Kade Simpson keeps on keeping on, the undervalued Ed Curnow continues to fly under the radar. He may not be the most fluent footballer but the 27-year-old journeyman is effective as the club’s hard working inside midfielder. Collecting 25 disposals, nine tackles and six inside 50s, Curnow continues to show the young Blues the way.

West Coast: Tom Barrass

The Eagles needed a complete performance when travelling to one of the league’s toughest venues and Tom Barrass was one of their best. Mopping up everything in defence, the 21-year-old collected 19 disposals and nine marks — four of which were contested — to stifle the Port Adelaide forwards.

Gold Coast: Jarrod Harbrow

In a round full of upsets, Jarrod Harbrow ensured he had a major say in his side’s victory over Geelong on Saturday night. The former Bulldog continued his career year as he amassed 30 disposals, well above his career average of 19.1. Harbrow demonstrated exactly why he is a key asset to the Suns with a number of dashing runs out of defence before delivering to the likes of Tom Lynch and Peter Wright.

Western Bulldogs: Clay Smith

With his side trailing by eight points in the final term, Clay Smith produced a monumental 15 final quarter minutes to will his side to victory. The 23-year-old kicked two goals in a matter of minutes to put his side ahead for the first time on the night before his smart centering of the ball to Lachie Hunter allowed the Bulldogs to extend their lead to 11 points. Smith completed a well-rounded performance with 15 disposals and four tackles.

Sydney: Jake Lloyd

On a day where the Swans had winners right across the park, Jake Lloyd produced a strong performance to continue his impressive start to the season. The 23-year-old rarely made a mistake in his side’s victory going at 86.2 per cent disposal efficiency from his 30 disposals. Throughout the season, Lloyd has drawn plaudits for his two-way running ability which was on full display as he amassed 25 uncontested possessions.

Hawthorn: Will Langford

While everyone was ruing the Jaeger O’Meara exclusion from Sunday’s match, the man stepping in for the former Sun needed to make an impact. Will Langford collected 20 disposals and nine tackles and his trademark hard-at-it style of play was back to its best. Capping the day off with an impressive dribble goal from the pocket, Langford was important when the game was there to be won.

Fremantle: Connor Blakely

The Dockers simply didn’t stop running in their come-from-behind win over the Bombers, and one of the key cogs was Connor Blakely. The 21-year-old runner finished with 29 disposals and was an important link player as Fremantle used the wide expanses of Subiaco to their advantage against a tiring Essendon outfit. Mainstays like Nat Fyfe and Lachie Neale will understandably garner the majority of attention, but Blakely’s 15 disposals in the final quarter didn’t go unnoticed.