Each game during the finals, Trent Adam Shields and his gang of merry men will be rating the players out of ten for their performances.
These ratings will feed directly into The Mongrel Punt Player of the Finals Award.
Here are the numbers from the St Kilda v Western Bulldogs clash from Sam Marcolin and Alex Docherty.
ST KILDA (Sam Marcolin)
- Nick Coffield (7)
Very solid down back. Hardly beaten at all, and the Dogs struggled to take marks inside 50 until the last quarter. Had 14 touches, eight marks and seven intercepts as one of the Saint’s most influential aerialists.
- Jake Carlisle (7)
Much though I want to rag on the bloke, I thought he was solid enough. The Dogs’ late comeback wasn’t necessarily built on aerial dominance, in part because Carlisle managed to restrict the Dogs’ talls. Three contested marks, a game high nine intercepts and five one percenters for the former Don.
- Zak Jones (6)
Was expecting him to provide the grit St Kilda needed to win this game. Didn’t necessarily hitch the team on his shoulders, but did coerce Jarryn Geary into joining arms for the National Anthem. Had 16 touches, five clearances and gave enough grunt to the midfield.
- Seb Ross (6)
Hard to criticise the leader of the midfield when the middle was essentially the area of the game they won. Did some nice things to end up with 16 touches, but more integral were his team high six tackles.
- Brad Hill (7)
Everyone who criticised this acquisition can shut right up now. Too harsh? Sure, Brad Hill hasn’t been anywhere near his best this year, but it was the moments he managed to control. His run in the lead up to Paddy Ryder’s goal just before the long break was crucial. 12 touches, five score involvements.
- Jack Steele (7.5)
Do I dare criticise the Saints’ best recruit of the last five years? He may not have won them this game, but he was certainly the reason they were there. 16 touches included six tackles and five score involvements in a willing performance.
- Dan Hannebery (8)
Maybe I’m just getting caught up in the romance, but clearly the acquisition of battle-hardened mids has done some good for the Saints. Thought the former Swan’s kicking inside 50 was mostly sublime. Had five entries and the same number of score involvements from a team high 20 touches.
- Hunter Clark (7)
Rate this kid very highly. Rarely looks flustered, and when St Kilda looked like they wanted to make things hard for themselves it was largely Clark who added the composure. Had 19 touches, largely in the defensive half, as a steadying influence.
- Max King (9)
Maybe Max King’s marks get bumped up here on the basis of expectation and experience, but I genuinely thought he was in the Saints’ best three on the ground. Four of his five marks were contested as he made Alex Keath look second rate, and his two goals were just reward.
- Jack Lonie (6)
Harsh, potentially, but Lonie’s performance felt tangential to the match winning performances of his preceding and succeeding numbers. Was still solid, with 11 touches including a goal and two goal assists as part of six score involvements.
- Jarryn Geary (9)
This was as good as it gets from a captain. Thrown out of his comfort zone, forced to make, apparently, the best field kick in the AFL actually defend, Geary was almost best afield for his side. Four of his seven marks were contested and I don’t remember him being beaten in the air. Kicked two goals, including the sealer, and could easily have had four. Was everywhere, and deserves the plaudits that should come his way this week.
- Jack Billings (5)
Hardly sighted. Other players got pass marks for similar numbers but Billings just couldn’t work into space at all. Had just the 13 touches, and didn’t send the ball inside 50 once.
- Dan Butler (6)
Largely shut out of the game, Butler’s goal in the third quarter seemed to be the sealer. It ultimately wasn’t, but he was largely shut out of the game as the Saints looked to exploit the aerial route.
- Paddy Ryder (10)
In his first-ever finals win, Paddy Ryder was the difference, and you’d struggle to find a footy supporter who:
- Isn’t thrilled for the big man
- Doesn’t want to see him get up for next week
Ryder’s nine touches included two goals, and an intercept mark late in the third as he monstered Tim English in the air. Also had 20 hitouts, more than double his counterpart’s output. It was the quality of tap which Ryder provided which ultimately got him right near best on ground honours here.
- Rowan Marshall (7.5)
May not have had his best game in red, white, and black, but was integral to his side’s first finals win in ten years. Had 11 touches for 341 metres gained, won 10 hitouts and took four marks as he worked extremely hard.
- Dougal Howard (10)
Just edged out by Ryder for best on ground honours; it’s been a good week for Port Adelaide. Dougal Howard was unbelievably good. His equal team high 20 touches included eight intercepts, as well as a massive game high 604 metres gained. Rebounded from defensive 50 a crazy 15 times, counteracting the Dogs’ +16 inside 50 ascendancy.
- Ben Long (5)
Playing the man, not the ball, in a manner not seen in Victoria since… well, Tim Smith, Ben Long provided the kind of brutal edge the Saints probably didn’t need but would have likely welcomed. Seemed to have a huge focus on making a statement but forgot he could have done that with ball in hand. 11 touches, but five of them resulted in turnovers.
- Dean Kent (4)
Pretty clearly, the Saints’ worst. Not necessarily a bad thing, but was hardly sighted and may see his spot come into jeopardy. Just five touches for the former Dee, with no scoreboard output and 0 tackles.
- Tim Membrey (9)
Across the ground, the Saints’ talls stood up, and Membrey was no exception. Reeled in a game high nine marks exemplifying huge workrate up the ground, in addition to two goals from nine score involvements.
- Ben Paton (7)
Hard to fault any member of the St Kilda backline after that effort. The Dogs battled hard, but lacked cleanliness inside 50 and Paton felt like a part of that. Had just the nine touches but was hardly beaten.
- Jack Sinclair (6)
Far from disgraced, though if his side lost some attention may have been coming his way this week. 14 touches at 86% efficiency a solid return, though mostly he was used as an outlet from defence rather than an offensive weapon.
- Callum Wilkie (7)
Another member of St Kilda’s strong backline, Wilkie’s kicking wasn’t at his usual level but he was solid overall. 14 touches included four rebounds and five intercepts across half back.
WESTERN BULLDOGS (Alex Docherty)
- Mitch Wallis (4)
Didn’t see much of the football, he had his colours lowered against Callum Wilkie for large parts of this game – just the one goal for him from six disposals. It could’ve been 3.0 if his year was any indication – one of those two misses came at a crucial time as well and it was very kickable by his standards.
- Marcus Bontempelli (7)
Not quite sure what to make of his game. I’d argue that he could’ve done more in this contest, but still finished with 20 disposals, six tackles, four clearances and six inside 50s. Only had the four contested possessions, which was a downer, and only went at 60 percent efficiency. But was trying to do what he could whilst being checked by the tandem of Seb Ross and Zak Jones
- Josh Dunkley (6)
I was hoping that they would use Dunkley more in the middle, but they kind of threw him a bit all over the shop in this one. Played him as the second ruck again briefly, then went up forward for not much impact until he kicked a nice goal in the third term. Missed a tough shot in the last term, but it wasn’t by much – finished with 13 disposals, three marks and four tackles. Strong, but didn’t star.
- Bailey Smith (8)
He would’ve got a nine if he had converted that set shot in the third term: That was about 20 metres with no angle and it was a horrible kick to the right. Everything else he did was pretty good, created lots of run, winning lots of contested possession and being involved in scoring opportunities. Aside from the set-shot, his tackling was a bit of a problematic – zero tackles from a man who thrives the contest.
- Lachie Hunter (6)
Hunter wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t particularly great either. Had 20 disposals along the wing position, but I didn’t feel as if many of these possessions were meaningful touches. It was heading towards the bottom-half of the scale when he couldn’t reap the full reward of a silly 50 metre penalty from Ben Long – a 25 metre set shot dead in front and he blasted it into the post. Thankfully he made up for it with a good set shot in the final term from a further distance.
- Hayden Crozier (7)
In an interesting move, started forward and was on early – kicked a good set shot from a free kick. He then continued to be a threat as a forward, laying some good tackles. The injury to Cordy meant that Crozier was swung back into the defensive unit after half time and was caught out of position a couple of times, but overall, put in a very solid shift.
- Easton Wood (3)
The former captain plucked a couple of nice grabs, but overall it was a very underwhelming game. Was matched up on Tim Membrey for most of the game and was either caught guarding grass or lagging behind Membrey by five metres. Membrey had 16 disposals, nine marks and kicked 2.1 – Wood only had the nine – not good enough from a veteran head.
- Jack Macrae (6)
An accumulator of the footy and didn’t expect much different from Jack Macrae here – another 20 disposals – the equal-third highest possession getter for the Dogs. His use of the footy was pretty sketchy – only going at 65 percent efficiency. Had a moment in the game where he was running inside 50 and had every chance to kick at goal and instead handballed it into Patrick Lipinski who got caught holding the ball. Needs to be more of a scoring threat.
- Zaine Cordy (N/A)
Went off with what looked like a pretty bad ankle injury in the second term. Before that, only had the three disposals and three marks. Would’ve been on track for a solid evening I think, but the injury threw the team’s defensive structures out of shape a fraction.
- Taylor Duryea (6)
I liked what I saw from Duryea. Tried to provide a steady head in defence in the dire moments of this contest. Took four intercepts, had a strong grab and threw his body in the contest when was called upon. Finished up with 16 disposals and five marks for the afternoon. Laid zero tackles though which was a tad concerning, but overall, not a bad output.
- Josh Bruce (2)
I was hoping for a big match from Josh Bruce against his old side and after kicking the first goal, I was quite optimistic, but that’s pretty much all we saw of Josh Bruce until the last quarter. Dougal Howard out-gunned, out-worked and out-ran him everywhere in the attacking 50. The thing that saves him from recieving a one is that he actually attacked the contest in the final quarter. Here’s for a better 2021.
- Ed Richards (4)
He didn’t get a lot of the footy – just the seven disposals, but I saw that the effort and intent was there. He laid three tackles, probably should’ve stuck another one or two, but also had four score involvements, two inside 50s was overall, pretty good with his disposal. He did miss a golden chance to help the Dogs get back in the contest in the last term, but it just went the other side of the big sticks.
- Tom Liberatore (6)
He was the best man on the ground last time the Dogs were out on the park but was noticeably quieter and more lacked the impact in the stoppages he’s had over the past month and a bit. Still, he worked hard for 16 disposals – nine of those were contested and picked up four clearances – the equal most of any Bulldog on the ground.
- Patrick Lipinski (1)
Didn’t do a lot with his 10 disposals – he either sold his teammates into trouble or got sold into trouble by his team mates. There were also a few tackling efforts that were just simply not good enough and it shows with one tackle on the stat sheet. Has been a good developing player in the last 18 months, but as today showed, he still has a bit to go to be a staple in this team.
- Aaron Naughton (3)
That last quarter absolutely saved him from being given a very generous one. Was virtually unsighted and did not looking like making a contest until the final quarter. Took a couple of nice grabs and kicked a goal to kickstart the late charge. You can argue that he was one of a few victims of the shocking ball use going forward.
- Bailey Williams (7)
Capped off a greatly improved season with another strong game in defence. Took a couple of strong intercept marks. Five of his 19 disposals were intercept possessions and was in the top three players of the Dogs in metres gained. He was also very clean with his disposals, going at a very elite 94 percent efficiency. Amazing to think that he couldn’t find his way into this Bulldogs team 12 months ago.
- Caleb Daniel (8)
Had Jarryn Geary for company at the start of the game and was a bit rattled early. Was caught a couple of times and then was taken to the square by Geary twice – one resulted in a goal and the other should’ve been. He got better as the game progressed and was one of the Dogs’ best – 26 disposals, three tackles, six intercepts and four score involvements, including the last goal of the match.
- Roarke Smith (5)
I’ve loved his attack on the footy in recent weeks and was doing quite more of the same here in arguably the biggest game of his short and injury-plagued career. Had 15 disposals and was again fierce in the contest when called upon. Got caught out a lot in the last quarter as his direct opponent, Nick Coffield took about half a dozen intercept marks – which turned out to be a detriment to the game.
- Jason Johannisen (4)
I’ve seen Jason Johannisen at both his best and worst in 2020 and this is probably one of the best examples I can give you. Consistently drifted in and out of this contest – started well with a goal in the first term and played a bit all over the ground but didn’t do a great deal to impact the game. A Norm Smith Medal-like effort would’ve been handy here, but we got a bit of the same ol’ JJ from 2017 and beyond: Madly inconsistent
- Alex Keath (2)
Lucky to avoid the one in my opinion. This isn’t a knock on Max King, because he’s going to be a star down the track, but he’s still a baby in a league sense. Keath had the direct match-up on King for large parts of the game and couldn’t do anything to stop him in the air. King was large in the first half and came up with a big goal in the third term as well. Needed him to do better and was marginally in the second half.
- Ryan Gardner (6)
His first final after a very maligned campaign yielded a performance that I was pleased with. Didn’t think he was spoiling in the air as much, but was busy around the defensive 50, providing links in the Dogs’ run. His disposal at times was still shaky, but it’s a big improvement from the start of the season when everything he touched turned into pure rubbish. Should be pleased with his work in the second half of the season.
- Tim English (4)
Was completely out-muscled by both Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall in the ruck. Had a few nice moments in the second half where he displayed his marking hands and looked more comfortable. He needs to continue to build the frame of his, because that’s what’s going to keep him from being mentioned In the same bracket as the game’s elite.
So, how’d the boys do? Spot on? Way off? You know the deal – our socials or the comment section below is where you can let us know.
Please consider becoming a member to access early release articles as well as members-only weekly columns.
Plus you help us grow. Come on… click the image below and help an old mongrel out.