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Unsung Heroes — Round 9

Each week, looks at the players who flew under the radar in their team’s victory. 

West Coast: Liam Ryan

It has to be Liam Ryan, doesn’t it? The West Coast forward sat on the shoulders of the games tallest player to take an early mark of the year contender. Ryan finished off what was a clinical passage of play from the reigning premiers, starting with Elliot Yeo in defence.

Collingwood: Ben Reid 

After starting the season in the VFL and struggling in recent years with injury, Ben Reid has found his form in Collingwood’s forward line again. With Mason Cox missing through injury, Reid provided a strong marking target. He kicked three goals and took five contested marks but it was his work around the ground that was most impressive, collecting 16 disposals and 10 score involvements.

Brisbane: Daniel McStay

While praise is often heaped on Brisbane forwards Eric Hipwood, Charlie Cameron and Mitch Robinson, Round 9 was Daniel McStay’s time to shine. The 23-year-old collected 14 disposals, six marks, four tackles and kicked three goals, the final of which proved the most important as the Crows clawed back to get within a single point as the final siren went.

Geelong: Tim Kelly

It wasn’t the usual 35-touch game that we’ve become accustomed to from Tim Kelly but his work through the middle of the ground allowed the likes of Patrick Dangerfield, Mitch Duncan and Gary Ablett to get off the leash. Kelly’s grunt work in the clinches allowed him 20 disposals, 14 of which were contested, 10 clearances and eight inside 50s.

Essendon: Jake Stringer

When he’s on, Jake Stringer is one of the better players in the competition to watch. In Round 9, the bullocking forward only hit the scoreboard for one major, which he’s done so in every game so far in 2019, but he also managed eight inside 50s and four clearances to continue impressing with his work further up the ground.

Sydney: Tom Papley

After a quiet start to the season, Tom Papley is starting to find form as an electric small forward. In his past three games Papley has kicked nine goals, with a bag of four against North Melbourne. In a hotly contested game, Papley’s four goals and eight score involvements proved the difference and the Swans clinched a five-point win to record their third victory of the season.

Port Adelaide: Billy Frampton 

In just his second game of AFL, Billy Frampton looked at home in Port Adelaide’s forward-half. Standing at 200cm, the 22-year-old provided a key target for the Power, collecting 14 disposals and booting three goals in his first game of the season.

Richmond: Shane Edwards

Few players are as skillful and creative as Shane Edwards. In the Tigers Round 9 clash against the Hawks, Edwards was finding the ball in the open at will and using it effectively. Registering 26 touches, the 30-year-old used the ball at a team-high 92 per cent efficiency and also collected seven marks.

GWS: Harry Himmelberg 

With Coleman medal leader Jeremy Cameron failing to convert on the scoreboard, the Giants needed players to capitalise on the hard work of their midfield group. 23-year-old Harry Himmelberg stepped up to the plate, kicking three goals and taking six marks as GWS’ mobile forward line proved a handful for an undermanned Carlton defence.