Tag: Paddy Dow

Keeping Tabs – Season Review: Part 1

TO finish off what has been a huge year for first-year players, we take a look at some of the top performers from each AFL club now the season is done and dusted. In today’s piece we look at the first nine clubs, from Adelaide through to GWS GIANTS, with the remaining nine clubs to come next week.

Adelaide 

Darcy Fogarty

The Crows were thrilled, perhaps even surprised, when their boy from south-east SA was still available to the Crows at pick 12 of the 2017 National Draft. Debuting in round one, Fogarty’s first kick was a beautiful set-shot goal – a theme Crows fans would soon become accustom to. He averaged 8.4 disposals (5.7 kicks and 2.7 handballs at 68 per cent disposal efficiency), 3.2 marks and two tackles for the year, also managing nine goals (just three behinds) in his ten matches. Fogarty played predominately as the third Adelaide tall forward, alongside the well-established Josh Jenkins and Taylor Walker, laying out plenty of fierce bumps – not a common thing for a draftee. No doubt “Fog” will have learnt plenty in his first season at AFL level. His main focus for the pre-season will be to again improve his tank, allowing him to spend more time on ground. However his ferocious attack on the football, beautiful foot skills and brute strength should see Darcy become a focal point of the Crows forward line for the next 10 years.

Lachlan Murphy

One of the success stories in a lean year for the Crows was the birth of Lachie Murphy. Fans of the TAC Cup may remember him fronting up for the Northern Knights back in 2016. Not being picked up in the draft, Murphy moved to Adelaide to play with the clubs SANFL side and was rewarded for his strong form with a rookie selection. The energetic small forward brought with him manic pressure, speed and an eye for the goals in his 11 games, in which he managed 12 goals and an average of 3.7 tackles and 8.7 disposals. “Murph” will look to maintain his place in the competitive Adelaide side as they aim to bounce back in 2019.

 

Brisbane 

Cameron Rayner

The number one draft pick always has a certain level of expectation associated with them, however being up at Brisbane, away from the media bubble of Melbourne, would have no-doubt helped Cam Rayner settle into life in the AFL. Utilised as a medium forward with stints in the middle, he played all 22 games for the club, averaging 13.5 disposals (73 per cent disposal efficiency), 3.5 marks, 20 goals (14 behinds), 1.7 clearances, 2.4 tackles and 2.5 inside-50s. His ability to launch for pack grabs was exciting for Lions fans. Like many draftees, he will look to build up endurance in his second pre-season.

Zac Bailey

The skilful small forward/balanced midfielder fronted up for 12 senior games games, averaging 13.5 disposals (74 per cent disposal efficiency), three marks, 2.3 tackles. Next season, competition for selection will be as tough as it has been in a long time at the Gabba, particularly given the likely inclusions of Lachie Neale and Lincoln McCarthy. However rest assured Zac Bailey remains well within the clubs plans for the future as the look to return to the glistening heights of the early 2000s.

 

Carlton 

Paddy Dow

It was a tough year for the Blues, however the encouraging performances of prized draft pick Paddy Dow gave fans a glimpse into the future. Playing a solid amount of midfield minutes in his 20 games, Dow averaged 14.2 disposals (67 per cent efficiency), two marks, seven goals, 2.6 clearances, 3.2 tackles and 2.6 inside 50s. Perhaps most impressive was his smarts around the stoppages for such a young player. There’s no-doubt Carlton will look to form their midfield core around Dow, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Patrick Cripps and potentially number one pick Sam Walsh as the continue to rebuild.

Lochie O’Brien

The top 10 draft selection spent the year playing across half-back where he was able to show off his classy foot skills and speed. O’Brien was given plenty of opportunity, playing 18 matches, where he averaged 14 disposals (at 71 per cent efficiency), 222 metres gained, 4.4 marks and 2.1 rebounds. His best game came in the final round in what proved to be a hefty loss to Adelaide. Here, O’Brien accumulated 22 disposals, sent the ball inside-50 on six occasions and took four marks.

 

Collingwood

Jaidyn Stephenson

The deserved Rising Star winner, Jaidyn Stephenson played a full-forward-type role for the Grand Finalists, which often allowed him to get out the back, beat his opponent one-on-one and speed away using his rapid pace to advantage. “Stevo” kicked a super impressive 38 goals in his 26 games, including two in the first quarter of the Grand Final, to go with an average of 12.3 disposals, 3.9 marks and 5.2 score involvements in what was a remarkable season. May spend more time on the wing next season where his blistering speed and athleticism will once again be expected to excite ‘Pies fans.

Brody Mihocek

Mihocek’s story is one of the best of the year. Rookie drafted as a mature aged recruit from Port Melbourne in the VFL, Mihocek came in as one of the best tall defenders in the state leagues, but was moved forward to fill a need for the Magpies. He crucially provided a decoy for tall teammate Mason Cox, with his ability to get off the chain and take a stack of marks important. Averaged nearly 2 goals per game, 11.6 disposals (73 per cent efficiency), 4.9 marks (1.4 contested) and 5.6 score involvements. With the Pies in pursuit of some tall timber, it remains to be seen where Mihocek will be played in coming seasons.

 

Essendon

Matt Guelfi

Essendon’s mature-aged recruit from WAFL side Claremont, Matt Guelfi came into the Bombers lineup and filled a variety of roles, showing off his strong versatility in his 15 senior games. He held his own at the highest level of football, averaging 15.1 disposals, 3.3 marks, one clearance, 3.1 tackles and also kicking five goals. In the WAFL his stoppage nous and contested ball winning were strengths, so it will be interesting to see whether he is able to push for more midfield minutes in 2019.

 

Fremantle

Andrew Brayshaw

The high draft pick managed to play 17 games in his debut season in the west. He spent a large chunk of time in the midfield alongside stars Lachie Neale and Nat Fyfe, from whom he will have learnt plenty. Averaged an impressive 15.9 disposals (69 per cent efficiency), 2.9 marks, 1.5 clearances and 4.4 tackles with his ready-made frame and willing attitude ensuring a strong start to life at the highest level for the brother of Angus and Hamish. However his season came to an early end when he was unfortunately on the receiving end of the now infamous Andrew Gaff uppercut, perhaps stealing the limelight from what was a sturdy start to his career.

Adam Cerra

Adam Cerra, the second of Fremantle’s 2017 first round picks, showed moments of absolute class off half-back. After debuting in round two, Cerra went on to play all remaining games for an average of 13.7 disposals (71 per cent efficiency), 3.3 marks and 3.4 tackles. Despite his precise foot skills and polish, Cerra showed he was not afraid of cracking in hard. Could potentially spend more time in the middle given the impending departure of Lachie Neale. The former Eastern Ranges midfielder looks destined to become one of the leagues most damaging onballers.

 

Geelong

Tim Kelly

Tim Kelly produced one of the greatest debut seasons ever seen at AFL level. He slotted into the star-studded Geelong midfield with ease, complimenting the likes of Dangerfield and Ablett. A key aspect of his game was the ability to push forward and hit the scoreboard, allowing the coaching staff to play one of their star on-ballers up forward for stints. His work at the coal face was super impressive, extracting the ball and evading would-be tacklers with class. Playing ever game for his side, Kelly averaged 22.9 disposals, 368 metres gained, 3.3 marks, 4.2 clearances, 3.5 tackles and kicked 24 goals. Additionally, the former WAFL star sent the ball inside 50 on an average of four times per game. Could not as for much more.

Lachlan Fogarty

Lachie Fogarty, Geelong’s first selection in the 2017 National Draft, came over the Cats from the Western Jets regarded as one of the better midfielders in the draft. Yet due to the Cats strong onball brigade, he was limited to a forward line role where Fogarty’s renowned tackling created plenty of forward pressure. Averaged 13.3 disposals and 3.5 tackles, but will aim to sharpen up his kicking in-front of and around goals, with a scoring accuracy of just 24 per cent. However he will have been pleased to have played 15 games for the finalists.

 

Gold Coast

Charlie Ballard

The athletic South Australian utility came from the clouds to be drafted in the third round of last years National Draft. Given his light-frame, the former Sacred Heart College student will be rapt to have broken through for 11 games, debuting against the Bulldogs in Bendigo. He was never going to set the world on fire with his statistics, but showed plenty of promise, particularly in the air, taking 39 grabs for the season (average of 3.5 per game). Was utilised down back and up forward, although those who have seen him play at school and club level with Sturt know of the X-factor he provides on the wing. Gold Coast will be patient.

Brayden Crossley

The big ruckman certainly has some spunk about him with his slick hair and mustache. A member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy, Crossley played 10 senior games for the battling club, averaging six hit-outs and 9.4 disposals (at 69 per cent disposal efficiency). Isn’t one to shy away from the hard stuff, averaging more contested than uncontested possessions and laying 22 tackles on the whole. Will need time to learn but is developing nicely and already has a strong frame.

 

Greater Western Sydney

Aiden Bonar

Having played just the four games for the Dandenong Stingrays in 2017, due to an ACL injury, Bonar managed a further four games this season, albeit at senior level in a strong GWS side. His supreme athleticism, explosiveness and acceleration were evident, as was his tackling intensity. The tall midfielder/third tall forward averaged 10.5 touches at a neat 71 per cent efficiency, to go with three marks, 4.5 tackles and a total of five goals. He shapes as being a star of the game, with his size and strength making him hard to contain at the stoppages. Will only improve as he increases his endurance.

Sam Taylor

Taylor, a key component to the Western Australian under-18 Championships side last year, played eight games for Greater Western Sydney in what was yet another injury-riddled season. He averaged just the 8.9 disposals per game, however it was his clean ball use out of the defensive-50 which really caught the eye. Given his foot skills were regarded by some as an area in need of improvement, he and the Giants will be pleased with a disposal efficiency of 80 per cent. Looks set to be a key defensive prospect the club can rely upon.

Keeping Tabs: Standout performers from Round 21

WITH the race to the Rising Star award reaching the home stretch, the Keeping Tabs’ favourites continue to make their appearances. At the beginning of the year, I would have predicted Stephenson easily, however there’s still plenty of standouts who want their name in this conversation.                   

Jaidyn Stephenson

Spreading his class throughout the ground against a resilient Brisbane Lions, Stephenson returned to his Rising Star form. Pivotal in their victory, Magpie’s debutante finished with 19 kicks, six handballs, eight marks and 524 metres gained. This year, Stephenson proved himself up forward with countless goals to show for it. He showed his versatility last weekend, proving himself dominant by foot through the midfield and going forward. He closed out the game against the Lions with five inside 50s, one rebound 50, 10 score involvements, two one percenters and most impressively, two goals. It seems in the conversation of Rayner v Stephenson, it’s safe to say the Magpie won this round.

James Worpel

All eyes were on the young Hawk this weekend in yet another close finish against the Cats. Worpel came out with wings fully stretched, laying eight tackles (two inside 50s) and 17 pressure acts. When facing Geelong skipper Joel Selwood, in one of the game’s desperate moments, Worpel snatched the pill off the deck, spinning out of danger and assisting the ball forward for an important goal. The simple, yet courageous act may have saved the game. For the day he had 12 kicks, 11 handballs and five marks. His work was solid around the stoppages, with four clearances, four inside 50s and two rebounds. This week’s Rising Star nominee loved attacking the football and seems to be developing well under the great, Alastair Clarkson. The youngster could see himself in a premiership side this year if Hawks continue their strong form.

Jack Higgins

Richmond’s favourite personality had yet another stellar performance. His consistency has been his most impressive feat this year, flowing well with the chaotic Tigers and injecting some of his own unfamiliar flavour. Higgins collected most of his 16 disposals across the wings, at an 81 per cent efficiency with six contested possessions last weekend. The most impressive of his stats came from his two goal assists, seven score involvements and two contested marks. The unselfish footballer impacts the scoreboard through clever and timely passing. Despite not kicking a big number this year, Higgins doesn’t sit on his hands in the forward line, creating goals through great instincts and great agility. Furthermore, he had 18 pressure acts and a clearance to show for his day.

Ed Richards

Ed ‘Red’ Richards has quickly become a famous name for Bulldog supporters. This debutante stood up in the back half of this season, adding plenty of class up forward at times, and sensational run out of the backline when needed. The latter was prominent in this week’s match. Richards had 17 possessions at 77 per cent disposal efficiency, cleaning up the footy comprehensively in the Bulldogs’ defensive half. He had an impressive run along the wing, bringing the ball inside 50 with a few bounces, creating a goal. For the day, he had two inside 50s, one rebound, 14 pressure acts, four intercept possessions and two marks. It is outstanding how much of the spotlight the debutantes have stolen this year, and Richards is definitely a fan favourite.

Tim Kelly

Though not at his usual form, Kelly still performed well enough to have his spot on this list. He had 11 kicks and six handballs with a 65 per cent disposal efficiency. His most impressive feat came from his 385 metres gained and five one percenters. It’s fair to say if this was a Tim Kelly best performance list, this one wouldn’t make it, but Kelly still had his fair share of an impact. His accuracy in front of goal was dismal at 33 percent, kicking one out of three. Though like usual his stats were well spread, finishing with four clearances, four inside 50s, two tackles and 13 pressure acts. Hopefully we can see Geelong’s heavy hitter lift this week and play some of the footy we saw against the Tigers.

Paddy Dow

Dow is slowly establishing his trademark with his strong running across the wing. First using it to score a Goal of the Week nomination, Dow used his second run to setup a teammate and secure an easier score. Finding his zone in recent times, it seems the nerves of elite football are things of the past. Carlton’s young ball carrier secured 10 kicks and five handballs at a 60 percent disposal efficiency and nine contested possessions. His impact was spread across forward and back, with seven score involvements and 11 pressure acts. He proved strong in the clearance yet again, securing four, and showed his dominance delivering the ball with five inside 50s. With the way these last few weeks are going, I can see 2019 being the year of Dow, and I sure can’t wait to see it.

Tom McCartin

Though only having 10 possessions, McCartin managed to make them all count at a 100 per cent disposal efficiency. He split his disposals perfectly with five contested and five uncontested possessions, as well as spreading them 50-50 across the defensive and forward halves. He also collected six score involvements, one goal assist and a goal for himself. He took an impressive six marks (two contested), laid three tackles, had four inside 50s and four one percenters. McCartin is holding up as a reliable footballer, making his possessions count and not getting caught with the footy. He has adapted well to Sydney’s neat brand of football and will bring in the next generation of champions quite nicely.

Aiden Bonar

The former Dandenong Stingrays forward was at his exciting best, booting 2.2 in the GIANTS’ win over Adelaide in what was a season-defining game. Bonar had just the nine touches, but had five marks (one contested and three inside 50), four tackles and an inside 50. Most importantly, he laid two of his four tackles inside 50, providing that vital forward pressure. He has exciting speed and X-factor in the forward half and will be one that continues to develop at a rapid rate which a huge ceiling.

Keeping Tabs: Standout performances from Round 19

AS the end of the season draws near and the Rising Star conversation heats up, some familiar races return to the Keeping Tabs list after standout performances.

Jack Higgins

It’s not often a first-year player that kicks arguably the greatest goal ever, but Higgins may have done just that. How a first-year player can earn a spot in the reigning premier’s starting 22 baffles me. Richmond plays a chaotic, but clever brand of football that has seen many of the competition’s great sides break beneath it. On paper, they are the best defensive side in the competition, and second behind Melbourne in attack. At pick 17 in last year’s draft, Higgins has more than stepped up to the challenge. Unselfish with the footy, and instinctive around goal, the young tiger supplied onlookers with yet another standout performance. He finished with 14 contested possessions, recording the highest contested possession rate (70 per cent),  as well as tying first in ground ball gets (12) with Collingwood’s Taylor Adams. Though usually a great assist up forward, Higgins was able to finish with two for the match. Driven by pure instincts, the Tigers have secured a future star in Higgins for both his gifts with a microphone and hunger on the pitch. Despite his lengthier period on the bench, Higgins still managed to tie second in pressure acts (22) with skipper Trent Cotchin. The rest of his stat sheet is just as impressive at five clearances, five intercept possessions without a turnover. Surely a game to remember, for the record 19 wins at the MCG and possibly the most replayed goal we are ever going to see.

Paddy Dow

The footy gods offered young Dow an opportunity to hit his strides this weekend, giving Carlton a rare showing of dominance over the Gold Coast Suns. With one of his two goals nominated for goal of week, the pacy midfielder proved too good on the board despite spending 86 per cent of his time in Carlton’s defensive half. Rip out the stat sheet and Dow’s impact becomes even more evident. Recording 18 disposals and 11 contested possessions at a 78 per cent disposal efficiency, Dow remained vital around stoppages with three clearances and four tackles. His pressure acts topped off at 17 and he gained 314 metres for the day. Though unlikely to be in Rising Star conversations, Dow is showing steady growth despite Carlton’s poor season. Hopefully 2019 will allow the young midfielder more room to perform with a better built Carlton side. 

Andrew Brayshaw

Coming off a groin injury sustained against Melbourne, Brayshaw’s comeback brought one of his best performances for the season. Despite the poor result, Fremantle’s young stars stepped up to challenge, with the Dockers’ number two pick leading the charge. Brayshaw finished with 25 disposals and nine contested possessions. Despite an average disposal efficiency of 64 percent, Brayshaw made his impact obvious finishing with four tackles, two clearances, two rebound 50s, 19 pressure acts and three free kicks. Finding himself on the scoreboard, the number two pick finished with a goal and six score involvements, having a hand in many of Fremantle’s link ups.  It’s evident Fremantle are doing well with their debutantes, bringing in the next generation’s champions. These boys could be highly decorated players in a few years if developed right, and could make history with Fremantle’s first premiership. The sky’s the limit.

Aaron Naughton

Though intended to play up forward, it seems Naughton’s work in the backline was too good to pass up. Recording 20 disposals and 13 contested possessions, Naughton suffered a beating from Port’s persistent forward line. Despite the onslaught, the youngster managed an outstanding 15 intercept possessions and two contested marks. He won all three of his defensive one on ones and recorded a contested possession rate of 68.4 per cent. He recorded high intercept numbers, Naughton still turned the ball over six times. Unfortunately for the youngster, it seemed he was fighting a losing battle from the second quarter, but he would not let this stop him. He kept his stat sheet more than impressive, recording four tackles, three inside 50s, four rebound 50s, three free kicks and four one percenters. With the Bulldogs at full strength, we hope to see Naughton cement himself in a position and properly improve on his development.

Bailey Banfield

Fremantle’s resident tagger, Banfield was given the greatest challenge of his career in having to minimise the impact of Hawthorn’s, Tom Mitchell. A success? Not quite. Mitchell went on to deliver a 42-disposal game with two goals, but Banfield had an impact of his own despite the challenging task. Stepping up around the stoppage, Banfield picked up five clearances. His superb pressure continued with six tackles and 25 pressure acts, with 19 disposals and eight contested.  A disposal efficiency of 58 per cent let him down at times, but considering his tagging role, Banfield saw a decent amount of the footy. At 20 years-old, Banfield has already been entrusted with one of the biggest individual responsibilities in tagging the opposition’s best. Considering his experience, he is doing okay. 

Sam Taylor

Taylor had yet another solid game in GWS’s backline against St. Kilda. The Saints played some strong footy up until the final quarter, so Taylor had his works cut out for him. He collected 10 disposals and five contested with a 90 per cent disposal efficiency. He brought clean hands to everything, picking up five intercept possessions (zero turnovers) and three marks. He laid five tackles, recorded one rebound 50, 10 pressure acts and five spoils. He has no problem attacking the football and makes the most of his possessions. His presence around the contest is evident enough from his stats, playing close to his man and applying intense pressure. Taylor is developing nicely in the GWS backline in his seven games. We could be looking at a future All-Australian backman in the making.

Nick Coffield

Coffield found his way back into St. Kilda’s side in their match against the Giants. Though lower than usual for the clean defender, Coffield still managed a 71 per cent disposal efficiency from his 14 disposals. He picked up four intercept possessions and won both his contested defensive one on ones. He is undoubtedly one of the cleanest first-year players, and determined not to turn it over. He recorded three rebound 50s, eight pressure acts and four marks (one contested). Coffield also saw his way up the ground where he recorded two inside 50s and two score involvements. He also impressively turned GWS great, Josh Kelly, inside out after thwarting his tackle on Saint’s defensive 50. Coffield is too clean to be played anywhere else for the Saints. His effectiveness with the footy is invaluable and hopefully will be utilised more in the future.

Queensland weekly wrap: Under 17 Futures squad announced; AFL sides go down

THE Under 17 Futures squad has been announced as they ready to face Vic Country and improve to a positive record in the series. Meanwhile, both of the Queensland AFL sides suffered losses and the another round of the Reclink Cup played out.

Under 17 Queensland team named to face Vic County

On Monday the AFL Queensland announced their Under 17 side to face Victoria Country in their third future series game was announced. The game will take place at IKON Park on Sunday, August 12. Queensland has one win and one loss so far, going down to Tasmania then beating NSW/ACT in Southport.

Queensland Under 17 Squad

1. Danial Davidson
3. Hawego Paul Oea
5. Corey Joyce
6. Jack Wingrave
7.Lachlan Barry
8. Coby Williams
9. Connor Budarick
10. Jack Mosley
14. Will Martyn
15. Bruce Reville
16. Campbell Aston
17. Josh Gore
18. Brandon Deslandes
19. Gracen Sproule
21. Matt Fraser
22. Tom Jeffrey
23. Sam Butler
24. Nick Harberer
26. Matt Conroy
27. Ashton Crossley
28. Max Newman
30. Josh Hammond
32. Tom Wischnat
33. Samson Ryan

Lions and Suns go down

The Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns both suffered losses in Round 19 of the AFL. Brisbane were brave for the first half in their 120-78 loss to Cats in Geelong. The Lions were right in the game at half time, only down 48-37 against a finals side. Unfortunately, the home side kicked away in the second half to tune of 11 goals to Brisbane’s six.

Two of Geelong’s favourite sons were the stars of the show. Tom Hawkins bagged seven goals whilst the ‘little master’ Gary Ablett amassed 38 disposals. For Brisbane, Dayne Beams continued a strong second half of 2018, collecting 37 disposals alongside Darcy Gardiner, Lewis Taylor and Dayne Zorko who got their hands on the leather for Brisbane. The Lions next face North Melbourne on Saturday afternoon at the Gabba.

In perhaps their most disappointing loss of the season, Gold Coast went down to fellow stragglers Carlton 79-44 at Metricon last Saturday night. Gold Coast came out hard taking a 14-point lead at the first change. From there though Carlton owned the game. The Blues kicked 11 goals to the Suns’ two over the remaining three quarters to run out 35 point victors.

Patrick Cripps bullied the Suns with 37 disposals and was joined by Marc Murphy and Kade Simpson who had 36 and 29 disposals each. Darcy Lang and Paddy Dow were also strong for Carlton, both kicking two goals apiece and getting a fair bit of the footy.

For Gold Coast, it was Jarryd Lyons again leading the way with 29 disposals. Will Brodie had a career high 27 disposals with Jarrod Witts winning the ruck battle over Matthew Lobbe with 60 hitouts and more than double Lobbe’s possessions.

The Suns have a tough game this week when they face the Melbourne Demons on Sunday afternoon from the MCG.

 

Lions win Reclink Brisbane Community Cup

The Brisbane Lines took out the third annual Reclink Brisbane Community Cup on Sunday July 29, beating the Rocking Horses 6.7 (43) to 5.6 (36).

The Reclink Cup features some of Brisbane’s musicians and politicians squaring off to raise funds for Reclink.

The Reclink Community Cup will make its way all around Australia in August and September, playing in; Hobart, Adelaide, Sydney, Fremantle and Canberra.

Keeping Tabs: Standout players from Round 15

NAMING the best first-years for Round 15 proved much harder than I expected, with several boys starring for their team, and a handful kicking a neat bag of goals. It seems the players are on the rise as we approach September, etching their spot in their respective teams marching towards the finals.

Cam Rayner

It is fair to say that a first-year player may only perform as good as the team they are in. Hence why players like Kelly, Fritsch and Stephenson continue to find success individually and with their team. This weekend we were able to witness Rayner perform in a confident and dominate Brisbane Lions, with a strong first half at Optus Stadium. Jumping between the midfield and the forward line, Rayner collected eight uncontested and 11 contested possessions at a 63 per cent disposal efficiency. He kicked two goals for the game, along with taking a strong contested mark on the goal line to secure an easy one. He wanted a piece of everything with his four inside 50s and six score involvements. His tackling was strong and pressure ever present, laying five with 18 pressure acts. It was a brilliant showing by the Lions, Rayner showing us all why he is the player most deserving of his number one pick.

Ed Richards 

It seems Richards’ days in the backline are behind him, again impressing in the Bulldogs’ forward half, putting away three goals in a tight victory against the Cats. For the day, Richards spent 83 per cent in the forward half of the ground, continuing to display a remarkable football sense around goal and against the opposing ball carrier. The youngster laid a strong tackle on Dangerfield after the Brownlow medallist attempted a fake. Richards won the free and with a total of five tackles for the game. In all, he had eight contested and five uncontested possessions for the game at a 69 percent disposal efficiency. Instrumental in the Doggy’s high score, Richards contributed to six score involvements, one goal assist and applied  himself to all facets of the game, collecting three clearances out of stoppages, two one percenters, 21 pressure acts, and three intercept possessions. He is on the way up, finding his zone as an attacking utility for the comeback Bulldogs.

Jaidyn Stephenson

When I watch Collingwood’s games, I sometimes forget that Stephenson is playing his first year at the elite level. His willingness to take on the game gave Collingwood a player on a sharp incline to greatness.  It does not even shock anyone that Stephenson kicked three goals against Gold Coast, putting him on 24 for the season. That makes him fifteenth overall in the competition, tied with Robbie Gray and above players like Jarryd Roughead, Taylor Walker and Tom Lynch. There is no doubting Stephenson’s impact for Collingwood and how well he fits into Collingwood’s unselfish style of attacking football. For the day, Stephenson had eight score involvements, five inside 50s, two tackles and 18 pressure acts. He finished with six contested and seven uncontested possessions at a 69 percent disposal efficiency. The young Magpie putting on an amazing one-on-one contest against Steven May in front of goals, edging the big man under the ball to take it off a bounce and kick a goal. It is a great summary of the player Stephenson is becoming in that he is not afraid of a challenge and backs himself to the very end.

Bayley Fritsch

Fritsch was a pillar of excellence in Melbourne’s high scoring loss against St. Kilda. The first year player led hard and kicked true, finishing with four goals for the game, seven score involvements and two goal assists. Almost coming from thin air, Fritsch has a knack for finding space inside 50 and pouncing on the loose ball to convert. The 21 year-old has fit nicely in this high scoring side, leading the scoring for Demons despite the poor result against the Saints. He reads the offensive play well and places himself well under the ball. He is on his way to becoming a dominant goal kicker for our competition someday.

Jack Higgins

It is no easy feat being deemed good enough to earn a place in Richmond’s dominate line-up, but Higgins has done just that 10 times this season. After a hilarious pep talk at the half-time break, Higgins went on to finish his game with eight contested and 12 uncontested possessions at a solid 75 per cent efficiency. While goalless for the game, the small forward still had seven score involvements with two goal assists and two inside 50s. He proved most dangerous off the crumb, collecting the loose ball in front of goal and hitting the better option to put away goals. He plays instinctive football and has great sense while under pressure. It seems Richmond chose well with pick 17, adding a clean and unselfish utility in to their already dangerous forward line.

Tim Kelly 

Kelly has had such a good start to his season, at times making it hard to living up to his own hype. The WA boy has already left his mark on the game, dominating the contested work for Geelong and blending nicely with a star cast of players. Kelly topped the game for disposals, finishing with 12 contested and 22 uncontested possessions. He proved poor with the ball with his disposal efficiency at 56 per cent with 10 turnovers, so this was far from his best performance. Despite that, Kelly finished the game with five clearances, four tackles, five inside 50s and two rebounds. It was a high-pressure game, but Kelly managed to make an impact, still good enough to put through a goal with six score involvements.

Stefan Giro

Giro displayed some excellent composure for the Dockers despite their poor showing at Optus Stadium. The young man finished the game with five contested and ten uncontested possessions at a 73 per cent disposal efficiency, and a goal to his name. He applied important forward pressure, laying five tackles with 20 pressure acts. Developing nicely alongside, Brayshaw and Cerra, Giro showed fans that he won’t bend beneath the pressure, remaining composed and minimising his errors.

Hunter Clark

One of the Saints’ poster boys for the year, Clark continues to put in significant effort on the pitch. Leaning off his pressure elements against Melbourne, Clarke’s presence was a little less resounding. Despite this, Clark put through his third goal for the season and took home a decent nine uncontested and five contested possessions at a 79 per cent disposal efficiency. He picked up two clearances, roaming mostly in the back half of the ground, but still managing to lay two tackles inside 50. He kept a hand in a lot of the plays, having seven score involvements and two inside 50s. The young Saint is a favourite within the Club and seems to be developing well within their walls.

Paddy Dow 

Dow may not be hitting high numbers like some of the others on this list, but he’s keeping his head well above water and showing some real glimpse of what’s soon to come. Dow had a solid performance, breaking even with seven contested and seven uncontested possessions with a 79 per cent disposal efficiency. Doing it all with his three clearances, two tackles, 26 pressure acts, four score involvements and one goal. With the way he’s travelling, Dow is well on his way to becoming a damaging, pacey midfielder for the Blues.

Andrew Brayshaw

Despite the Lions onslaught, Brayshaw stood tall. Getting involved everywhere, the number two pick had three clearances, four tackles, two inside 50s, 22 pressure acts and three intercept possessions. Despite this, he was messy with his disposals including seven turnovers and a 61 per cent disposal efficiency. Though beneath Brisbane’s stranglehold, the youngster was still able to collect six contested possessions and 12 uncontested, breaking even with his time on either end of the ground. A strong showing by the young man in a struggling side.

Keeping Tabs: Standout players from Round 14

PADDY Dow earned the Rising Star nomination, while names that have featured in this column a number of times, again stood out for their respective teams in Round 14 of the AFL.

Matt Guelfi

The Essendon utility has been one of the most consistent of the recent draftees, having again contributed nicely in his sides upset triumph on the road over West Coast. Guelfi chipped in with 13 disposals, six of which were contested, at a solid 62 per cent disposal efficiency. He slotted a major and maintained his impressive forward pressure, laying six tackles. The Western Australian has proven to be a nice late-draft pickup for the Bombers pushing up from the half-forward line and playing on the wing. 

Bayley Fritsch

Bayley Fritsch showcased some of his most valuable assets in the Melbourne’s close loss to Port Adelaide last Friday night. His terrific, clean hands overhead and elite leap allowed him to clunk another haul of five marks, to go with five tackles and 13 disposals at a terrific disposal efficiency of 85 per cent. Although he wasn’t able to hit the scoreboard, it was impressive to see Fritsch still make an impact on the game through his neat foot skills, relentless presentation, along with his tackling pressure. The dynamic medium-tall also had two clearances and gained 358 metres.

Aaron Naughton

After debuting in round one and playing the first eight games of the season, the top 10 draft pick was moved to the forward line on Saturday night  where he kicked his first two goals at AFL level. Naughton, who had missed the previous four weeks with an ankle complaint, collected 81 per cent of his ten possessions in the Bulldogs forward 50. Not only did he take a couple of big contested grabs, he also followed up nicely at ground level, which will have no-doubt impressed coach Luke Beveridge. Having shown great potential at both ends of the ground, it will be interesting to see where he plays his football once the Bulldogs regain a number of players.

Ed Richards

Following up on his terrific three-goal performance in wet conditions against the Power, Richards again showed some exciting signs. He amassed 13 disposals, two marks, two tackles and a goal, but also  collected nine contested possessions on the weekend. Richards dash, foot skills, and ability to play on the wing across half-back or forward, are traits that will generate a bit of excitement at Whitten Oval. It certainly looks as if the Dogs have a winner in Ed Richards.

Jaidyn Stephenson

The current favourite for the NAB Rising Star award, Jaidyn Stephenson further enhanced his case with another three majors in Collingwood’s 20-point win over Carlton. Winning 87 per cent of his touches up forward through his role as a third-tall option, Stephenson had just the eight disposals, but maximised the impact of each touch by finishing with a disposal efficiency of 88 per cent. His aerial prowess was again evident, taking five marks and having six score involvements. Having now booted 21 goals in 13 games, Stephenson has already exceeded the first-year expectations of many draft watchers.

Paddy Dow

The top five pick has been building form for some time and finally earned the recognition through a Rising Star nomination. The classy midfielder had 20 disposals, two marks, four tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s, with nine of his possessions won in a contest. He played a balanced role and negotiated his way through traffic well, and showed off his trademark acceleration and top vision under pressure. Expect plenty more to come from Dow as the season progresses.

Keeping Tabs: Standout performers from Round 11

IN Round 11 there were plenty of standout performers from the 2017 draft crop, with mature agers leading the way with some impressive performances.

Tim Kelly

Again, Kelly’s form stayed true. The Western Australian lad injected plenty of class to aid Geelong in their 85-point smashing over the Suns. With a 79 per cent disposal efficiency, Kelly picked up 24 possessions, with 11 contested. His work through linkups saw him with plenty contribution to the board, racking up 10 score involvements to compliment his two goals. If we weren’t here reminding you, nobody would believe this kid to be a first-year player. With the numbers he puts on the stat sheet, Kelly is holding himself up there with the more seasoned players on his team. To round out his performance, he saw an extra five clearances, four tackles and three inside 50s. This Cat is going to be in some important conversations in the coming years if he continues to play like this.

Bayley Fritsch

Fritsch put on a bit of a clinic for spectators on the weekend. His efforts on the ground ought to fill Melbourne fans with confidence since they re-signed him in late May. At an 89 per cent disposal efficiency, the Demon tallied up a strong 26 possessions, with eight contested. A goal and six score involvements sealed his spot as one of their top performers, Fritsch’s forward pressure burning through the Bulldog’s defence. Add two more clearances, four tackles and seven rebound 50s and you’ve got a future star in the making. Fritsch’s development in this supreme offensive side should shape him into a danger for backman in these coming years. Be prepared.

Brody Mihocek

Coming straight from the Rookie Draft last year, Mihocek demonstrated what his years at Port Melbourne have offered his new club. With a 100 percent efficiency on the ball, the tall unit took home 12 disposals, nine contested. Mihocek not only kicked his first goal for his career but picked up three more to follow. His experience only adding to the Magpie’s crafty offensive.  In all, the Port Melbourne son finished with seven score involvements, 11 pressure acts, two tackles and three one percenters. The highlight for this man’s day came through perfectly efficient football and I’m excited to see what Round 12 brings.

Cam Rayner

The number one draft pick showed off some of the missed aspects of his football in the Lions loss to North Melbourne on the weekend. Gathering much of his ball through the midfield, Rayner blew up the stat sheet. He had seven score involvements, five clearances, five inside 50s and seven tackles and displayed composure breaking out of congestion, planting the ball in front of his forwards.  His 22 pressure acts certainly made the Kangaroos earn their victory. The youngster finished the game with 21 possessions, eight contested at a 76 per cent disposal efficiency. Rayner barred some dynamic football, unafraid to take on the game is other areas.

Lachie Fogarty

Fogarty has been a little hit and miss so far throughout the season, so it’s a pleasure to be able to put him on this list again.  The Cats forward was unlucky on the board, missing his shot on goal, but regrouped, making plenty of impact with eight score involvements. Fogarty finished with a 77 per cent disposal efficiency and 17 possessions in Geelong’s 85-point victory against the Gold Coast Suns. The young forward spent much of the four quarters along the forward 50, laying both his tackles inside and picking up two one percenters. The work Geelong has put into developing their youth is shown greatly through stars like this.

Zac Bailey

Bailey played integral football in his side’s loss against the Kangaroos. A 14-possession game at a 79 per cent disposal efficiency demonstrated the young lion’s class despite their thrashing. Bailey put through a goal at the end of the second, branding four score involvements for the day. He laid three tackles, with 23 pressure acts and four intercept possessions. Bailey, above all else, should be praised for his determination in the face of a stronger side. I would be curious to see his stats if his team had a better day out on the field.

Hunter Clark

Clark’s numbers on the stat sheets stood up in areas unique to what we’ve caught so far. Plenty of his 17 possessions were taken in the midfield, 11 of which were contested. His disposal efficiency came up a little short at 59 percent, but Clark more than made up for it with his pressure on the game. In total, the young Saint laid six tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s. He was unfortunate in coughing up five turnovers but stepped up to the midfield challenge well. Clark worked hard to re-cement himself into the side, and should be left to develop there if he works the game like he is.

Bailey Banfield

The high pressure forward stepped up in their loss to the Magpies. Kicking one and missing the other, Banfield saw plenty of contribution to the board with his six score involvements. He put in heaps of work to keep the ball in their forward 50. A 15-possession game with seven contested, closed his game off at a 73 per cent disposal efficiency. Five huge tackles, two clearances and two one percenters showed off the Dockers’ extra efforts in keeping his team above water.

Darcy Fogarty

In the biggest rollercoaster match of the round, Fogarty found his season beginning form, putting in the work on and off the play.  The Crow had plenty of impact in the side’s 16-point loss to the Giants with  11 possessions, five contested at an 82 per cent disposal efficiency. The youngster had three inside 50s, two tackles and an impressive four one percenters. He was unfortunate in turnovers and free kicks, giving away five and three, but could be forgiven given the intensity of the game. Hopefully Fogarty’s able to lift leading further into the season and we can see some of Adelaide’s 2017 form.

Paddy Dow

In a strong first half against the Swans, the Blues young prodigy took on plenty of the play. Dow put through his second goal for the season and continued to pick up another handful of clearances. He sat one per cent below his season average 63 per cent disposal efficiency, collecting 13 for the day with seven contested. His work rate was high around the loose ball and his skill work continues to be quite polished. He may need to take time to adjust his tempo to suit the flow of play, as well as picking his passes a little better. As usual, his day on the ground finished off well-rounded as he continued to go hard at everything. Some further three score involvements and three tackles top off Dow’s game and sum up his efforts appropriately.

Keeping Tabs: Standout draftees from Round 10

ANOTHER Rising Star nominee and a debutant booting his first goal, there was plenty to like about the first-year draftees in the AFL on the weekend.

Ed Richards

In his side’s loss to Collingwood, Bulldogs defender Ed Richards could certainly hold his head up high. In what was his ninth consecutive senior game for the 2016 premiers, Richards produced what was the best performance of his young career. The speedster collected 23 disposals (including 10 contested at an impressive 74 per cent efficiency), four marks and sent the ball inside 50 on five occasions. The youngster also laid four tackles and had three rebounds in his role across the Western Bulldogs half-back line. In the absence of the retired Matthew Boyd and Robert Murphy, Ed Richards is mounting a strong case to be the club’s next general in defence.

Hunter Clark

The 2017 top ten draft pick Hunter Clark endured a strong final quarter to see out arguably his best game in the red, black and white of St Kilda. Despite the Saints suffering another loss, this time to Richmond, Hunter managed 17 disposals at 71 per cent efficiency, five marks (including one strong contested grab), four inside 50s, four rebounds and gained 373 metres. Finding 65 per cent of his disposals in the defensive half of the ground, St Kilda clearly value his neat foot skills, run and carry as a rebounding defender. After a somewhat slower start to his career in terms of statistics, Hunter Clark is starting to get his hands on the ball more often as his continues to adjust to life in the AFL.

Ryley Stoddart

In his first game of AFL football, Swans half-back flanker Ryley Stoddart ticked off a key box by slotting home his first goal at AFL level last weekend against the Lions. Having re-signed with the club earlier in the month, the smooth-moving Stoddart also managed to tally together nine disposals, two marks and two tackles in Sydney’s 18-point win over the Brisbane Lions at the SCG. Having impressed John Longmire and the Swans coaching staff with his work in the pre-season, look for Stoddart to manage a few more games as the season progresses.

Paddy Dow

Carlton midfielder Paddy Dow was impressive for Carlton, again managing to get his hands on the ball inside the forward 50, creating opportunities at goal. Unfortunately for him, his two shots lead to two minor scores, however his ability to win the contested ball and accelerate out of the stoppages was on show. Dow collected 18 disposals (seven of which were contested), took six marks, laid six tackles, had two clearances and gained 334 metres in a confidence-building display from the second overall pick from the most recent draft. Dow will continue to be deployed in the Blues midfield as Carlton continue to blood the youth. 

Matthew Guelfi

Essendon’s mature-age recruit Matt Guelfi also produced his best showing at the level in the Bombers hard-fought victory on the road against the Giants. The 20-year-old former Claremont midfielder was solid all game, spending some time on-ball but finding 80 per cent of his 21 disposals in the defensive half of the at-times smoke covered Spotless Stadium. Guelfi took four uncontested marks and rebounded the ball five times for the game. He laid an impressive five tackles and had 27 pressure acts, proving his defensive pressure in congestion. Given Essendon’s recent resurgence, expect Guelfi to play a part in getting their season back on track. Matthew will look to work on his kicking in future games, ending with a 38 per cent disposal efficiency. 

Charlie Spargo

In Melbourne’s thrashing of the Adelaide Crows in Alice Springs, Charlie Spargo was polished and clean in his role as a small forward, managing to push up the ground to find eight of his 14 disposals on the wing. Spargo’s work rate was impressive, working tirelessly up and back, ending the game with a career-high nine marks, all of which were uncontested as the former-Murray Bushranger shrugged off and outran his direct opponents. Each of Spargo’s four tackles were laid inside-50, highlighting his strong defensive pressure. He kicked one goal but had eight score involvements and spent 82 per cent time on the ground, providing his endurance.

Adam Cerra

Fremantle’s second first-round pick in 2017, Adam Cerra showed another side of his game, laying nine tackles from his outside midfield role, to compliment his classy foot skills. With all-bar-two of his disposals coming in the midfield/wing zones, Cerra collected a total of 15 disposals at 67 per cent disposal efficiency and had 26 pressure acts. Cerra has hardly missed a beat since making his debut in round two. Now having strung together nine consecutive games, the product from the Eastern Ranges is making a very strong impression in his first year at the club.

Keeping Tabs: Standout draftees from Round 5

ROUND FIVE was huge for the first year players, with plenty stepping up to earn a spot on this weekly list. Most of the names here have been seen before, but we give credit when it is due. We’re hoping to see some fresh faces in the coming rounds and for the players below to ramp up their game more and more with every passing round. There are still plenty of rounds left so there’s no telling what could come next.

Tim Kelly

Kelly played some outstanding football against the Power over the weekend. In all he picked up 20 disposals, of which half were contested with an 80 per cent efficiency. He displayed 27 pressure acts, laid five tackles, kicked a goal, had four clearances and three score involvements. Kelly is a well-rounded player and has demonstrated countless times that he can do plenty to help his side. He has also kicked at least one goal a game since the start of the season showing his reliability and consistency thus far.

Adam Cerra

Cerra is well on his way to becoming a fan favourite at Optus Stadium. He has shown some incredible promise on game day, with the Bulldogs clash being no different. Cerra snagged himself 15 disposals (four contested) at an 87 percent efficiency. He also went on to kick two goals with eight total score involvements. Cerra is smooth around the football with incredible composure at the elite level. He works hard around the contests, illustrated through his impressive 24 pressure acts and four tackles (two inside 50s). This medium forward is being developed by the right team it seems with impressive first years all throughout the side.

Jaidyn Stephenson

His efficiency could use some work, but he is getting his opportunities and making most of them count. Capping off his game with 15 disposals, four contested and two goals, Stephenson went hard in the ANZAC match. He picks his spots and moments well, and capitalises well off errors. He had 19 disposals and four tackles for the game in all. He is continuing to make his mark as a forward for Collingwood and is doing so with an intense attack on the game.

Mitch Crowden

Fremantle’s first years have been dominating the competition so far. Along with his fellow draftees, Crowden is playing very efficient football. With 17 disposals at an 88 per cent efficiency, Crowden is continuing to perform at a high standard. His presence throughout the ground is clear, laying five tackles, 21 pressure acts and having nine score involvements. Developing alongside the likes of Cerra and Brayshaw, Crowden is likely to become part of the next biggest elite midfield for the AFL.

Nick Coffield

Once again, Coffield showed off his patented smooth, clean football. With excellent composure on and around the ball, Coffield is providing some much-needed efficiency around the midfield. In total, he finished with 18 disposals at an 83 per cent efficiency, with five score involvements. He is working hard to earn his spot within the side and it shows on the field. Hopefully his efforts remain at this level for a long time.

Andrew Brayshaw

A fair game for Brayshaw with 17 disposals, four contested at a 71 percent efficiency. The number two pick in the 2017 National AFL Draft is slowly evolving to suit the elite level. He performed well off and on the ball, laying five tackles, 17 pressure acts with three score involvements. Brayshaw needs to polish up his footy in some areas as shown through his five turnovers. However, if he continues to work, he is well on his way to one day dominating the game.

Lachie Fogarty

Geelong’s new recruits are hard to separate from the rest of their side due to their elite performances. In their match against Port, Fogarty had an excellent run of it. While 17 disposals with nine contested is a decent stat, it’s Fogarty’s ten tackles that really caught my eye, all of which were completed without giving away a free. He also slotted away a goal and had five score involvements. Fogarty is developing well with Geelong and should be watched closely in the coming years.

Matt Guelfi

After a stellar debut in round four, Guelfi managed earn a spot in the side for the Anzac Day match in just his second game. A surprise prospect for Essendon, Guelfi has shown no issue adapting to the elite level. A 15-disposal game at 87 per cent efficiency made him a highlight for a struggling Bombers. He had an impressive four intercept possessions as well as 20 pressure acts. With a better Essendon side, it is likely his performance will only improve.

Paddy Dow

Dow attacked the football hard over the weekend, racking up 15 disposals (11 contested) with an 80 per cent efficiency. He is a highlight for Carlton, and it is good to see his efforts still high despite a slow start to the season. Dow is fierce around the contests, with an impressive seven clearances on the weekend, only second to Patrick Cripps (eight). He laid three tackles and had five score involvements. Dow is a confident footballer who knows how to back himself. Hopefully we continue to see his level of football continue to rise in the coming years.

Lochie O’Brien

O’Brien showed some great promise in his second game in the navy blue. The number 10 draft pick played some efficient football, running at 73 per cent efficiency  from his 15 disposals (six contested). He had a few good midfield clearances, laid three tackles and earned plenty of the ball off Carlton’s flanks. With his athletic background, O’Brien should be fine to earn more of the football in the coming games.

Cam Rayner

Despite his efficiency in goal kicking, the number one pick again showed great attack on the ball in the forward half. Kicking one goal and two behinds, Rayner earned a handful of opportunities to score big, but continues to fail on the execution. He is a standout for the Lions and is slowly developing a unique brand of football. He is hungry around the ball as demonstrated through six contested possessions out of a total of 11. He needs to improve his efficiency further, but it can be explained through his high number of contested possesions.

Keeping Tabs: Standout draftees from Round 3

With now a game or two under their belts, the first-year players are starting to find their groove. Some have certainly been more consistent over the weeks than others, but this week a few new names stood up to earn their spot. This week we looked at the best performing players from last years’ draft and which of your players you should keep an eye on in the coming weeks.

Liam Ryan

The Geelong and West Coast clash was a game for the first-year players as Liam Ryan proved. The young man dominated the West Coast offensive, picking up three goals in only his third game. He also took home 12 disposals – five contested – three tackles and three intercept possessions, all with a 75 per cent efficiency. His smart play allowed him to be tied the leading goal kicker (Mark LeCras) for his team. Provided he keeps up his efforts, Ryan will have a big future with the Eagles.

Tim Kelly

Once again, Kelly performed like a seasoned player for Geelong, picking up 19 disposals and 10 contested possessions. Despite being his lowest game numbers-wise so far, Kelly still exceeded expectations. In his first year, he is already holding his own against some of the AFL’s most elite athletes and is on his way to cementing a spot in the starting 18. He kicked an impressive goal in the fourth quarter to further Geelong’s lead, but unluckily for him, West Coast finished on top. Kelly has a big year ahead of him if he keeps playing at this level.

Mitchell Crowden

Crowden had the difficult matchup in Steven May, but did not let that lessen his performance. Taken with pick 59 in last year’s AFL National Draft, Crowden has so far smashed expectations. With 13 disposals, five contested, a goal and a 92 per cent efficiency against the Suns, the kid from South Australia dominated in his second game. He also boasted seven score involvements and two goal assists. Fremantle have developed their first years well, and it definitely shows in Crowden.

Nick Coffield

St. Kilda showcased their number eight pick from the AFL National Draft, Nick Coffield, against Adelaide in Round 3. Coffield played some impressive football in his first game. He made great decisions with the ball in hand, and did not rush his disposals. By half-time, Coffield had 12 disposals, one contested possession, a goal and an outstanding 100 percent disposal efficiency. He was a highlight for the Saints despite the resulting loss. In the end, Coffield picked up 18 disposals and three contested possessions to close the game, and his efficiency finished on 89 per cent. We saw plenty of smart football from this young man, and an eagerness to prove himself. If he takes the rest of his football this way, we might see some remarkable things from Coffield.

Ed Richards

In his first win for the Bulldogs, Richards had his fair share of the ball. With 17 disposals, two contested possessions, and a 71 per cent efficiency, Richards more than played his part to take home the win. The second gamer showed a lot fight around the football, taking on his man and laying five strong tackles. Richards showed poise and control around the pill, and with a few more games under his belt, could become a powerful defensive presence for the Dogs.

Aaron Naughton

Again, Naughton had the challenging task of playing on an elite opponent. Matched up on Joe Daniher, Naughton easily held his own and kept Essendon’s key forward off his game. He went onto collect 15 disposals, six contested possessions and finished with 87 per cent disposal efficiency. Many of the Bulldogs’ players showed a better read on Essendon’s movement better than they could, and Naughton was no exception, racking up eight intercept possessions.

Cameron Rayner

Brisbane’s number one pick played some efficient football in Saturday’s clash against Port Adelaide. Rayner dramatically picked up his game from last week’s four disposals with a 50 per cent efficiency. He bumped up it all up to take home nine important disposals – four contested – with an 89 per cent efficiency. He took a great contested grab going back with the flight of the ball which also snagged him a goal. He laid four tackles and had three inside 50s. Brisbane has faced some well performing teams thus far which may be forcing Rayner to push his game even further. With a few more matches, Rayner should fulfil his role even more with the Lions.

Lachie Fogarty

If there is one thing Geelong has proved they can do this year, that’s develop young players. Fogarty played some decent football in a tough match against West Coast. His efficiency was not as high as it can be, but he got half the job right. Fogarty will need to work on finishing properly if he’s to become a top tier player. The medium forward picked up 14 disposals, three contested possessions and a goal. He had five goes at scoring but only kicked the one goal. If he sharpens up in the matches to come, those behinds could easily become goals.

Bailey Banfield

There must have been something in the water at the Optus Stadium because Banfield was one of three first year Fremantle players to cap his game off with over a 90 per cent efficiency. Banfield had 11 disposals – six contested – four tackles and a 91 per cent efficiency. He played some dominant football, and his clean plays were a big reason Fremantle came out on top.

Adam Cerra

Cerra played some efficient football in his second game against the Suns. The young man finished his game with an impressive 90 per cent efficiency from 10 disposals. He played smart football and made lots of clever decisions, but was quiet around the contested ball. Cerra is developing into a fine player along with all of Fremantle’s first year players, but will need to show he can get his own ball going forward.

Paddy Dow

The dynamic midfielder got to experience his first rivalry clash against Collingwood in Round 3. He got a decent amount of touches, taking home 15 disposals – six contested – with 67 per cent efficiency. Dow is slowly coming into his own, laying two tackles, three intercept possessions, and four score involvements. He is yet to have his big game yet but his efforts need to be noted nonetheless.