ROUND 13 came with a surprising amount of top first-year performers, given the bye for six teams. The youngsters from Fremantle stepped up again, and Geelong’s Tim Kelly remained at his usual high standards.
Richards starred in his clash against Port Adelaide, kicking a team-high three goals for the game in the second quarter alone. Before the game, Richards had no score to his name, but stood up for the Doggies despite poor kicking accuracy. At the end of the second quarter, he put through a difficult set shot on the boundary from 50 metres out. Typically playing out of the backline, Richards showed us what he can do as an attacking player. With five score involvements and four inside 50s, his offensive was in full flight, and with extra efforts in his 17 pressure acts and three one percenters, Richards presented us a complete footballer in the making. I would recommend the Doggies playing to his strengths to build him up for next season.
Kelly kept his elite form in a tough fight against the reigning Premiers at the MCG. Shaping up with all kinds of class alongside Joel Selwood, Gary Ablett and Patrick Dangerfield, the South Australian collected 14 contested possessions, seven uncontested, with a 71 per cent disposal efficiency. He dominated the clearances with four from the centre and three out of stoppages, getting clean hands to the ball first and ripping it cleanly from congestion. He managed to impact Geelong’s scoreboard despite not hitting it himself with four inside 50’s and four score involvements. The pressure he applied to Richmond summarise what he brings to the Geelong midfield. With grit and power, Kelly laid six tackles with 23 pressure acts. He adds necessary elements to Geelong’s classy midfield with his power around congestion.
The Rising Star Nominee for Round 13 put on another impressive display in defence. He finished with 18 possessions and an 82 per cent disposal efficiency. His clean footy and immense pressure may have been the difference between a few possible Suns’ goals. It was his five intercept possessions, six tackles and four one percenters that walled off the Suns. He is slowly developing into a hungry, young player, a quality lost on him at the beginning of the season. There have been a few weeks in a row now that Clark has shone in the backline. In the coming years, Clark could become a promising half-back utility for the Saints, showing more of his run and carry that he demonstrated for the Dandenong Stingrays.
In only three games, Giro has already began raising standards for first year players. Gaining most of his possessions off the wing and the forward half, Giro finished his game with an 81 per cent disposal efficiency and 17 possessions. Though not impacting the board directly, he had five score involvements, two goal assists and three inside 50s. The most impressive of Giro’s stats comes from his pressure acts, racking up an enormous 32 with five tackles (two inside 50s). The Fremantle first-year players have been immense thus far, so Giro is lucky to grow along side some other promising youths. There’s a chance we could be looking at the AFL’s next super team if they continue to develop as they are.
Despite suffering Fremantle’s onslaught, O’Brien managed to make an impact. O’Brien was able to still get plenty of the football, collecting 17 possessions with a 71 per cent disposal efficiency. Given Fremantle’s forward pressure, the youngster’s success with the football was impressive. He remained composed and confident, and despite spending 73 per cent in the defensive half, had five score involvements. The well-rounded performer had three rebound s, three inside 50s, two clearances and 18 pressure acts. O’Brien also had an impressive 370 metres gained, second only on his team to Kade Simpson. He was a top performer for Carlton and should not go unnoticed due to a poor outcome.
Brayshaw put on a show away at Etihad Stadium, thriving in Fremantle’s rare dominance. Picking up 13 uncontested possessions and seven contested, the number two pick started to show signs of his TAC Cup standards. He kicked one goal starting up on the wing and contributed to eight score involvements. In certain areas, he fell short with eight turnovers and a 65 per cent disposal efficiency. Brayshaw is showing glimpses of a bright future. He rounded off a fair performance with three clearances, four tackles, three inside 50s, three one percenters and 24 pressure acts.
In a nail-biter at Metricon Stadium, Ballard starred out from the backline. Gaining 94 per cent of his 16 possessions in the defensive half, Ballard finished with 63 per cent disposal efficiency. He contributed to the attack with his four score involvements and two rebounds. He carefully picked his spots and read the attack well, taking much of the uncontested ball. For the game he closed out with a brilliant nine interceptions and three one percenters. Ballard impacted the game through great marking ability and nice read on the incoming footy.
Cerra’s performance away from home was far from his greatest for the season, but he injects enough class into the game to beef up his stats and earn his spot. He finished with nine uncontested possessions and five contested. His disposal efficiency finished at 64 per cent, but he earned some redemption with three interceptions. While goalless himself, Cerra had six score involvements and two marks inside 50. He gained plenty of his football in the defensive 50 and along the wing, laying three tackles with two rebound 50s. Cerra played with a different role out of defence, keeping him unusually weak on the goal front, but the No. 5 played a damaging role nonetheless.
McCartin topped his game with six inside 50s, assisting the Swans greatly in there dominant offence. Over half of his possessions were contested, but had less satisfactory disposal efficiency at 69 per cent. Regardless, his efforts were still an improvement from his average nine possessions and a 56 percent disposal efficiency. McCartin’s performance lift came through in all facets. He laid three tackles with four one percenters. McCartin put pressure on defensive plays and demonstrated flexibility in how he affected a linkup. It was disappointing that a forward hadn’t kicked a goal in such an important game, but he managed three score involvements and a direct assist.