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Unsung Heroes – Round 8

Round 8 was filled fast finishes and standout performances. looks at the players who played an underrated hand in their sides victory over the weekend. 

Sydney: Colin O’Riordan 

It was just his sixth game of AFL football but for Swans Irish recruit Colin O’Riordan, it was his best. After conceding a 100m penalty in Round 7 against Brisbane, O’Riordan was on the receiving end Friday night after a blunder from Devon Smith and Jake Stringer. The Swans went coast-to-coast and O’Riordan kicked his first career goal. He also finished the game with 17 disposals and five score involvements.

Collingwood: Callum Brown

In a close and scrappy affair on Saturday afternoon, Collingwood needed a hero to step up. Enter Callum Brown. Trailing by five points deep in the final quarter, Brown had a quick shot at goal. It bounced through to give the Pies a one-point lead and the confidence to take the game on.

Western Bulldogs: Caleb Daniel

A fan-favourite, Caleb Daniel is in career-best form and a couple of efforts in their clash in Ballarat on Saturday typified the Bulldogs revival. Mid-way through the second term, as the momentum was all with the Lions, Daniel ran down local hero Jarrod Berry as he steamed through the middle of the ground, providing a small but vital win before the Dogs clawed their way to a stunning victory.

Melbourne: Marty Hore

Melbourne’s fate looked to be sealed after a long bomb from Nick Holman but six-gamer Marty Hore had other ideas. Kicking his first career goal from 50m, Hore’s major leveled the scores with less than a 30 seconds remaining. Despite all the fan-fare being directed towards Tom McDonald, who kicked the winning point, it was Hore who gave his team the chance to clinch victory.

West Coast: Jamie Cripps

When the Eagles key forwards were nullified against the Saints on Saturday night, milestone man Jamie Cripps stepped up. Cripps finished the game with 21 disposals, seven score involvements and five tackles.

Adelaide: Elliott Himmelberg

In the fierce atmosphere of a Showdown, Elliott Himmelberg didn’t have a huge night but it was one of the the 20-year-old’s five tackles that would’ve had Adelaide fans cheering most. Playing in only his fifth AFL match, Himmelberg captured Xavier Duursma before slotting a pearler from the boundary to give the Crows a 33-point lead with six minutes to play in the third term.

Geelong: Brandan Parfitt

Brandan Parfitt’s talent is undoubted and it was on display against North Melbourne in Round 8. The 21-year-old collected 23 touches, at 82 per cent efficiency, five clearances, four tackles and five inside 50s in a well-rounded performance.

Hawthorn: James Cousins

There were many positives in the Hawks impressive victory against the Giants on Sunday – James Frawley curtailing Jeremy Cameron, Mitch Lewis or Jonathan Ceglar up forward but James Cousins’ moment at the end of the third term was a standout. With a handful of seconds remaining, Cousins sharked a Giants handball and steamed into goal to give the Hawks an almost unassailable 22-point lead.

Richmond: Noah Balta

When Toby Nankervis went down with a game-ending groin injury against Fremantle, Richmond were in dire need of a ruckman. In just his seventh game of football and giving up more than 10cm to Rory Lobb, 19-year-old Noah Balta took on the role. It was a hard-fought effort against Lobb but Balta won 12 hit-outs of his own and finished the game with 13 disposals and a goal.