As the ladder continued to even up in Round 8, Aflplayers.com.au has found the players that flew under the radar for your club in Round 8.
West Coast: Dom Sheed
Playing his fourth game in a row since forcing his way back into the side, Dom Sheed provided the Eagles with the performance they’ve been craving. The former first-round draft pick won 23 disposals and two classy goals against the reigning premiers in what was his best match for the season.
Hawthorn: Ryan Burton
The usual suspects stood up for the Hawks in their third win of the season, but it was the youngsters that allowed them to comfortably win in Round 8 and Ryan Burton is the best of them. The 20-year-old collected 25 disposals, five marks and six rebounds and showed poise beyond his years down back. He’s now a big contender for the Rising Star award at year’s end.
St Kilda: Jack Steele
St Kilda didn’t have the game on their own terms on Saturday, as they had to hold off a competitive Carlton side in the last quarter. One player who was incredibly important was new recruit Jack Steele. The former Giant finished with 29 disposals — 17 of which were contested — and the final goal of the game. His seven tackles were a game high, helping the Saints to improve to 5-3.
Collingwood: Brodie Grundy
The Magpies played out of their skin to take it up to the Giants and none were mightier than their ruckman. Playing against the most fearsome player in the competition, Brodie Grundy won 41 hitouts, five clearances and kicked a goal. If you were to pick an All-Australian team at Round 8, Grundy would be close to first picked in the ruck spot.
Essendon: James Stewart
Now at his second AFL club, James Stewart quickly endured himself to the Bombers faithful on Saturday night with a strong opening half performance in his side’s 17-point victory over Geelong. It didn’t take long for the former Giant to hit the scoreboard, including a big goal on the quarter-time siren. The 23-year-old finished the evening with three goals and a goal assist, providing another avenue to goal in an already potent forward line.
Melbourne: Christian Petracca
With the Demons down by 22 points and struggling a little before half-time, the decision to throw explosive youngster Christian Petracca into the midfield reaped the rewards for Simon Goodwin. The 21-year-old collected 24 disposals, seven clearances and five tackles, showing clean hands and pace that would excite Melbourne fans across the country.
Fremantle: Lachie Neale
He wasn’t named in the Dockers best but when push came to shove, Lachie Neale stood up when his team needed him most. He collected 23 disposals and led the tackle count on the day with seven and the last swooping centre clearance to send the ball to David Mundy inside forward 50 while running at full pace was something special.
Port Adelaide: Jarman Impey
That’s now eight goals in three weeks for Jarman Impey, who kicked two goals in the second quarter when things were getting ugly for the Suns. The Port Adelaide speedster only touched the footy 10 times but laid eight tackles and is a barometer for the Power’s performance.
Sydney: Nic Newman
When Nic Newman was called into the side as a late replacement for youngster Oliver Florent, no one could have predicted what would occur over the next two-and-a-half-hours. In just his fifth game at the top level, the 24-year-old was among his side’s superstar ball winners, collecting 35 disposals and going at 82.9 per cent disposal efficiency for the day. Newman’s brought his ball-winning ability from the NEAFL to the elite level averaging 22.4 disposals this year.