Ten spots up for grabs and dozens of players contending for them.
Each week, The Mongrel takes a look over the weekend’s games and makes a (terrible?) call on the best performances of the week. You may or may not agree with them, but it’ll be difficult to dispute that those listed here did not have great days at the office.
Here’s The Mongrel’s top ten performances of Round Six
10 – Ben Cunnington (North Melbourne)
35 disposals, 21 contested possessions, 13 clearances
Like O’Meara at Hawthorn, Cunnington was forced to shoulder the load against Port Adelaide, and though his team went down, Cunnington could hold his head high.
He is second to only Patrick Cripps in contested possessions per game, with 18.5, and has a healthy 30 possessions per game average to accompany it.
9 – Zac Williams (GWS)
30 disposals, 12 intercept possessions, 10 score involvements, 676 metres gained
I tossed up between Williams and Nathan Wilson for this spot, but given Wilson’s teammate featuring, I went for Williams.
Whilst Heath Shaw still managed 25 touches against the Swans, the mantle of number one running defender now falls to Williams. He is averaging 23.5 touches per game and is a huge threat running out of half back with the ball in hand. His 676 metres gained gave the Giants a tremendous boost all day.
8 – Alex Keath (Adelaide)
21 disposals, 91% efficiency, 14 marks
Keath continues to surprise in the absence of Tom Doedee. His defensive efforts against the Saints were sublime, and his ability to find teammates by hand or foot was incredibly valuable deep in defence, or drifting up past half forward.
Perceived as a weakness by many, the form of Keath has turned the Adelaide defence into a strength again.
7 – Mitch Robinson (Brisbane)
26 disposals, three goals, nine score involvements, five tackles
The human wrecking ball had a big game this week, and may have been the difference for his team. Winning the Marcus Ashcroft medal, Robbo continued to add muscle to the class of the Brisbane midfield, and snuck forward for three vital goals, a couple of which were pivotal at the time.
Robbo has been a wonderful servant of the club after moving from Carlton, and if you required one guy to go hard and put his head over the ball and win it if your life depended on it, you’d be hard pressed not to choose him.
6- Nick Vlastuin (Richmond)
28 disposals, 82% efficiency, 14 intercept possessions
Could the Melbourne midfielders have kicked to Vlastuin any more if they tried? Everywhere he went, the Demons found him.
But saying that is giving too little credit to the defender. He reads the play beautifully, and combining with Bachar Houli (I could only pick one), they provide a wall of rebound for the Tigers.
Vlastuin’s 8.2 intercepts per game is good for equal 12th in the league currently.
5 – Jaeger O’Meara (Hawthorn)
42 disposals, 23 contested possessions, 10 score involvements, nine clearances
A career-high for O’Meara in both disposals and contested possessions saw him power the Hawks midfield over the Blues in a massive come-from-behind win.
If there is a silver lining to the Tom Mitchell injury, it’s a game like this from JOM. Now sitting at 30.8 disposals per game, could Jaeger give the Brownlow a shake?
4 – Gary Ablett (Geelong)
28 disposals, 11 score involvements, five direct goal assists
This was punctuated by a first quarter that was simply sublime. As the siren rang to end the first quarter, the Little Master had four direct goal assists to his name – three to Gary Rohan who obviously owes him dinner and maybe a foot rub now.
At 22 touches per game as a small forward, and third in the league in score involvements, Ablett is currently on track for another All-Australian berth, this time as a forward.
3 – Joel Hamling (Fremantle)
16 disposals, 14 1%ers, one forward moved to the backline
Lower stats than you’d expect from a player in the top ten, but his mauling of Aaron Naughton was as comprehensive a win as I have seen from a defender since Phil Davis gave Buddy a nice old touch up in the finals last season.
If anything, Hamling’s defensive dominance was so supreme, I wouldn’t have blamed Luke Beveridge if he moved Naughton early.
2 – Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood)
38 disposals, 16 contested possessions, six tackles
Booooo! Should he have been number one? Who knows… well, actually, I know, and no, he shouldn’t have.
But he had a belter on ANZAC Day, and as much as some have thought he might be past it as an elite mid, Pendles showed there is still plenty left in that tank. The Rolls Royce is chugging along nicely at 27.8 touches per game. What a star!
1 – Travis Boak (Port Adelaide)
38 disposals, 15 contested possessions, 11 clearances, nine inside 50s
If he is not the outright favourite for the Brownlow on form, he’d have to be close. Boak has returned full-time to the Port Adelaide engine room, and has it humming along the best it’s been in years.
He comes into Round Seven averaging 32.7 touches per game and seven clearances and will no doubt make the acquaintance of Levi Greenwood as his team meets the Pies this week. Can he replicate his early-season form with someone hanging off him like a cheap suit?
Unlucky to miss – Brad Hill, Tim Taranto, Shane Savage, Josh P Kennedy, Bachar Houli, Liam Jones
So, who would you have in your top ten? Let us know, and we can start having an argument. Or you can. I’ll watch.
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