Mongrel of the Year- Round 4


Another weekend of footy is done, and yet again it’s been a brutal one for those who think they can tip. There were upsets aplenty, as some unheralded players came to the fore and got their teams over the line. They’re the kind of players we want to poll well in this, football’s most… recently created award. This is not our attempt to predict the Brownlow, as all of us here believe that a non-midfielder could win it. After each game, the report writer gives votes on a 3-2-1 basis. Here they are, from Round Four.

Sydney v Melbourne

3 Nathan Jones (Melbourne)

2 Max Gawn (Melbourne)

1 Dane Rampe (Sydney)

It was an important night for Melbourne on Thursday, given their lacklustre start to the season, and so as a captain should, Nathan Jones stepped up brilliantly. He hasn’t had a great start to the season but he managed to impact the scoreboard against the Swans, with three crucial goals and 6 score involvements from 21 touches. Max Gawn reminded the footballing world just how good a ruckman he actually is, after having a down start to the year relative to his own high standards. He monstered Callum Sinclair, with 55 hitouts, and had six clearances himself. For the Swans, their co-captain in Dane Rampe continued his solid start to the year, keeping Tom McDonald pretty much out of the game while collecting 25 touches off half back.

Collingwood v Western Bulldogs

3 Brodie Grundy (Collingwood)

2 Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs)

1 Jordan Roughead (Collingwood)

After Max Gawn had what you would have thought would be the best game by a ruckman this round on the night before, Brodie Grundy went absolutely nuts at the G on Friday night. His statline read 58 hitouts, 23 touches (18 contested), six score involvements, six clearances and eight tackles, which is hugely impressive. He probably is another player who hasn’t been at his 2018 level so far this year but he looks to be getting back to it, and Collingwood are a much better side for it. Marcus Bontempelli continues to get back to his best too, with 36 touches at 75%, and eight clearances. There aren’t many players in the competition who are better to watch than him when he gets going. Jordan Roughead, meanwhile, was rock solid down back against his former side, with nine intercept possessions and nine spoils, shutting down Josh Schache and Aaron Naughton.

Geelong v GWS

3 Jacob Hopper (GWS)

2 Matt de Boer (GWS)

1 Lachie Whitfield (GWS)

I’ve said it with all three of GWS’s wins so far this year, but votes could have been given to pretty much any one of their players on Saturday, as their midfield decimated Geelong’s in the second half. Hopper was enormous and looks to really be coming of age this season, with 31 touches, six tackles, and nine inside 50’s. Stood up when he needed to and carried his side home. Matt de Boer has essentially single handedly revived the art of tagging over the last two weeks, claiming his second Brownlow Medalist scalp in two weeks by keeping Patrick Dangerfield to just 17 touches, and nine after quarter time, his quietest day as a Cat. Lachie Whitfield polls votes for the third week in a row and moves into the top 10 after having 30+ touches for the fourth straight week, with 8 score involvements and five inside 50’s to boot. Coniglio, Kelly, Taranto and more unlucky to miss out for the men in orange.

Essendon v Brisbane

3 Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (Essendon)

2 Zac Merrett (Essendon)

1 Dylan Shiel (Essendon)

There’s a lot of love in the AFL community for the man known as ‘Tippa’ and ‘Walla’. He tore it up on Saturday, with 7.1 from 10 marks, including five inside 50. It was a truly outstanding day from a small forward, as he tore Brisbane’s defence to pieces. Essendon’s midfield looked the best it has all year against the Lions, and the return to form of Merrett and the hard work of Shiel were two huge reasons why. Merrett looked to finally be fit, with 35 touches (15 contested) at 85%, with a goal, nine score involvements and seven clearances, and showed just how good a player he actually is, while Shiel played his best game in red and black, having 28 at 75%, with six score involvements and seven clearances as well. If Essendon are going to finally get a run on, those two men will be a big reason why. David Zaharakis was probably a little unlucky to miss out here, while Lachie Neale was excellent in a defeat too substantial to be considered.

Port Adelaide v Richmond

3 Brandon Ellis (Richmond)

2 Tom Lynch (Richmond)

1 Tom Rockliff (Port Adelaide)

I don’t think anyone saw this coming. Brandon Ellis was huge in the absence of two Brownlow Medalists in Martin and Cotchin, with his 28 touches coming at 79% efficiency. He’s oft maligned by Tigers supporters and even by the opposition at times, but he was a big reason why the Tigers came away with arguably their most unlikely win of the last three years. Tom Lynch was another big contributing factor, putting in a masterful display of forward efficiency with 6.2 from nine kicks. In the sense that a club can be lucky that a key forward like Jack Riewoldt has gone down injured, Richmond are lucky it has happened this year, rather than in previous ones, with a ready made replacement, and the Coleman looks to be a race between Lynch and Jeremy Cameron. Tom Rockliff continued his tremendous start to the season, with 37 touches at 81%, while Travis Boak was maybe unlucky to miss out on votes here.



North Melbourne v Adelaide

3 Shaun Higgins (North Melbourne)

2 Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne)

1 Alex Keath (Adelaide)

Shaun Higgins continues to be a smoky for higher honours at the end of this season, and he showed why on Saturday night, carrying his side to an important win as the jungle drums began to beat likely just a little loudly for Brad Scott’s liking. 30 touches at 80% is an excellent night for a midfielder, and he looks to be working exceptionally well in tandem with Ben Cunnington. Todd Goldstein might not reach the heights of seasons gone by but he was dominant
in the ruck and around the ground on Saturday against Reilly O’Brien, who looks a little out of his depth at this level. 22 touches and 24 hitouts for the Kangaroo was a great night out. Alex Keath played his best game of footy at a senior level, repelling countless North Melbourne forays forward, with 20 touches from 14 marks, and 5 rebound 50’s, stepping up in a big way to combat the loss of Tom Doedee.

West Coast v Fremantle

3 Shannon Hurn (West Coast)

2 Brad Sheppard (West Coast)

1 David Mundy (Fremantle)

Is there a player who loves playing against a certain club more than Shannon Hurn loves playing against Fremantle? Three medals for best on ground in the last four derbies suggests not. He’s truly the heart and soul of this Eagles side and doesn’t look to have lost any of his hunger after their famous Grand Final win last year. 32 touches at 84%, with six rebound 50’s, is a great night out. Brad Sheppard was arguably just as good down back, with 27 touches at a scarcely-believable 100%, with 14 marks and 10 intercepts. It’s a scary thought that somehow the Eagles have gotten better this year but they somehow have, and they look like being hugely difficult to score against. Former skipper Mundy stood up for the Dockers in the absence of his replacement as captain in Nathan Fyfe, with 36 touches, but lacked a bit of support from other midfielders in a scrappy display.



Gold Coast v Carlton

3 Touk Miller (Gold Coast)

2 Jarrod Witts (Gold Coast)

1 Jack Bowes (Gold Coast)

Who on Earth would have suggested at the start of this year that by Round 4 the Gold Coast would be a kick away from being 4-0 and top of the ladder? Touk Miller has been a huge part of their roaring start to the year, with 31 touches against the Blues in amongst an enormous 14 tackles. Almost the complete game from a player underrated down south. Jarred Witts dominated the Carlton ruck pairing of Lobbe and Casboult, with a goal, 45 hitouts and seven tackles from the Suns co-captain. Jack Bowes will get credit, rightly, for his match winning goal, but he was pretty good all day, with 19 touches coming at 73%. Patrick Cripps was very stiff to miss out here, but ultimately the Suns get the rewards from players who actually want to be at the club.


St Kilda v Hawthorn

3 Rowan Marshall (St Kilda)

2 Seb Ross (St Kilda)

1 Callum Wilkie (St Kilda)

Rowan Marshall continues to blossom into a ruckman very likely to scare opposition coaches, players and supporters alike. For a big man, he’s fairly mobile, as his seven clearances would suggest and, while McEvoy and Ceglar won the hitouts by more than double, St Kilda were +13 in clearances, suggesting his workrate is definitely strong enough. Had five score involvements, kicked an important goal early in the last to give the Saints some momentum and ran at 88% efficiency from his 17 touches. Seb Ross stepped up wonderfully into the underrated boots of ill skipper Jarryn Geary and was close to best afield, with 39 touches, six inside 50’s and six clearances to take his side home. It’s only early but the Saints look like they want to play for their coach, and guys like Ross and Billings, who was unlucky to miss out here, are big factors in their side’s 3-1 start. Callum Wilkie also looks like a good find, with 21 touches at 90% and eight intercepts.


1. Josh P. Kennedy (6)

1. Patrick Dangerfield (6)

1. Lachie Neale (6)

4. Shaun Higgins (5)

4. Marcus Bontempelli (5)

6. Tom Liberatore (4)

6. Brad Crouch (4)

6. Jack Billings (4)

6. Connor Rozee (4)

6. Scott Lycett (4)

6. Tim Kelly (4)

6. Alex Sexton (4)

6. Lachie Whitfield (4)

Not a heap of movement at the top this week, as all three players in the lead failed to register a vote. Lachie Neale was maybe a little unlucky but, given the magnitude of his side’s loss, it was fair to overlook him. Shaun Higgins and the Bont are the two big movers, jumping into the top 10 on the back of their performances over the weekend. Finally, Lachie Whitfield continues his ultra consistent season, polling in his third straight game to take him to an equal sixth. Have we missed anyone though? Let us know.

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