Here at The Mongrel, we do things our way. We love the Gary Ayres Medal, but we’re after a more rounded way of assessing players in the finals.
As such, we have been compiling figures in our Mongrel Punt Player of the Finals.
As part of this process, Trent Adam Shields has been compiling player ratings for every final this post-season and here are his returns for the Tigers’ triumph over the Power.
 Ryan Burton – 2
The running Port defender had a night to forget after a bright start with two early touches. An unfortunate upper leg injury saw him benched for 20 minutes and when he returned pushed deep forward. His only meaningful contribution thereafter was to completely botch a shot on goal which dribbled over the line out of bounds when Dixon was open for the handball.
 Trent McKenzie – 6
The former Sun playmaker turned Port key defender has enjoyed some big roles this season and was again disciplined in keeping Tiger matchwinner Jack Riewoldt quiet. Only nine touches with five of them from intercepts but was able to extract 250m + for his team with a booming left boot.
 Dan Houston – 8
Known for his intercept marking, Houston only managed two on a night not suited to aerial contests, but one was a ripper holding his ground under a steamrolling Lynch early in the second term. Nine intercepts made up his 23 possessions which gained a game-high 688m, more than double his season average.
 Hamish Hartlett – 5
One of the heroes of the win against Geelong was far less prominent in this one, unable to influence the contest or win the loose ball as freely as before. Only 12 disposals was the result and despite three I50s was only able to affect two score involvements. Will rue a last quarter decision to knock the ball directly out of bounds giving away a free kick to Kane Lambert that ultimately resulted in the winning goal.
 Tom Jonas – 8
The Port skipper was a pillar of strength all evening, manipulating the match ups so that he was the nominal loose man across half back, he profited with a game-high ten intercepts. Using the ball precisely to the tune of 86% efficiency with his fourteen touches he gained almost 350m to be one of his gallant side’s best.
 Darcy Byrne-Jones – 5
The All-Australian found himself with the hardest job in footy, matched up against Richmond powerhouse Dustin Martin for large stretches. DBJ committed to the task manfully, but was out-bodied, out-thought, out-finessed by the champ, and while all his efforts were on stopping the matchwinner his output suffered with disposals down by 50% and metres gained by 30% on his season averages.
 Xavier Duursma – 8
One of the electric Port triumvirate who has sparked the Power revival in the past two seasons was magnificent on the big stage after recovering from a concussion suffered against Geelong. Zipping up and down the wing with great energy he collected 19 disposals and monstrous 552 metres for his side, also added a game and season-high nine I50s and capped off a nice run for Port with a long set shot goal in the first term. Only slight blemish was a simple dropped mark in the second from an imperious Rozee pass that would’ve resulted in another shot on goal.
 Ollie Wines – 8
One of the powerful Port midfielders starred with a team-high 24 disposals and four clearances, but only three of these came in the frantic last term as pure weight of numbers and the experience of Prestia and Cotchin came to the fore. Can we rightfully proud of an excellent campaign.
 Karl Amon – 7
Played deeper in defence than he is usually accustomed to, Amon was everywhere early, drawing a free kick after a Riewoldt dropped mark, then shortly afterwards brilliantly smothering a Rioli snap on goal. Faded after halftime as the Tigers depth prevailed.
 Zak Butters – 7
The precociously talented Butters churned out some enormous early contests as he whipped the parochial crowd into a frenzy. His attack on the ball and spread were influential as Port took control as the rain drizzled down. His impact lessened as the game wore on and he melted back to the pack with nine disposals and four tackles to his name.
 Todd Marshall – 4
The Port big man had his hands full with Tiger star Dylan Grimes controlling the backline. Had some good early moments, including a clever basketball style tap to himself and then quick hands to Robbie Gray as part of the chain that led to Rozee’s first goal, but only six touches shows he’s not ready for this type of game, nor the work required to work over a player like Grimes. Missed a gilt-edged chance early to goal, but dribbled his nervous kick wide.
 Brad Ebert – 8
The retiring Port great simply laid it all on the line for his beloved jumper again, as he has so many times in his career. Playing a now customary hybrid forward defensive role, he collected 18 disposals, a team high seven tackles, three hard-won clearances, a goal assist for Port’s first of the night, and his last act on a football field the incredibly courageous spoil on Riewoldt to deny a certain Richmond goal.
 Connor Rozee – 8
After a quiet few weeks the Port youngster burst back to life in this game and was dangerous throughout. Fourteen disposals, a game-high three tackles I50 and two goals, including a spectacular snap in the second from deep in the pocket after he’d earlier toe poked the ball to his advantage before gaining possession for his team and then running forward onto a Butters handball to finish.
 Charlie Dixon – 6
The Coleman Medal runner up and first time All-Australian wasn’t able to control the game in the way he’d intended also finding himself against a worthy advisory in Tiger cub, Noah Balta. Despite not willing his team over the line the Power key forward was more than serviceable, continually throwing himself into contests and dragging down a game-high three contested marks, and finished with one long goal outside 50m early in the last to give his side hope.
 Robbie Gray – 8
The all-time Port great moved like a magician in the first half, evading tacklers, tapping the ball to his team’s advantage and generally cruising around on the sodden turf like it was bone dry. His output reduced as the game wore on, and he’d like to have his early shot at goal back again as it is one he’d kick eight times of 10 usually. Set up Duursma’s first term goal with a peerless left foot pass after spinning out of trouble.
 Scott Lycett – 8
Despite a 45-23 hit out differential, Port lost the clearance battle 41-29 even off the back of Lycett’s eight hit out to advantage. The Port big man certainly had Nankervis’s measure at the ball ups, but once it hit the ground it was another story as the Tiger was a matchwinner culminating in an amazing final term. Lycett fought to the end, and a clinical goal from 48m on a tight angle in the third after a Motlop pass kept his side within striking distance.
 Tom Rockliff – 7
The consistent Power star was his typical industrious self, winning twenty disposals, four clearances and four tackles, but his handling was a fraction off in a tightly fought, wet game which was the difference between a great performance and simply a good one. Completely fresh aired an opportunity in the third term to take a clear shot at goal, chances are few and far between against the Tigers.
 Travis Boak – 7
The former skipper and Brownlow fancy nominally matched up on Dion Prestia held sway for the first three quarters, util his opponent won the battle of attrition in the final term. A solid 20 touches, four clearances and four tackles won’t ease the pain of another Preliminary Final defeat by a goal or less.
 Sam Powell-Pepper – 7
There is nothing subtle about this midfield bull, but impressively he keeps charging through and providing opportunities and space for his teammates to prosper. Numerous times he had two Tigers hanging on for dear life, and still managed to release the handball, 15 disposals and maximum effort are what you get every time this guy takes the field.
 Steven Motlop – 6
Unable to replicate his Qualifying Final heroics the Port flanker was nonetheless active throughout, his lessened output on the scoreboard picked up by Rozee. Four tackles a good return, and one big defensive effort on Graham caused a turnover where Motlop hit an unmanned Lycett for a goal assist.
 Tom Clurey – 6
Faced with the daunting task of standing Tiger enforcer Tom Lynch, Clurey was honest with nine intercepts among his 11 touches, including a fabulous collect and clearance from a manic Rioli entry in the first term. Was also able to outbustle Lynch for a strong mark in the same term, far from beaten but like many of his teammates unable to quell the Richmond players influence for the full 64 minutes.
 Peter Ladhams – 4
The second Port ruck was effective on the ball with 14 hit outs and kicked a late goal to keep the game alive but was largely a non-factor on the result. Both he and Marshall needed to affect more contests to bring the smaller forwards into the game, something Riewoldt and Lynch were far more effective at throughout the course.
 Nathan Broad – 6
Nine possessions and four tackles was a typically disciplined return from a player who played his role in restricting the home team to just ten scoring shots for the night.
 Dylan Grimes – 7
The leader of the stingy Tiger defence was far more important than his lowly five disposal, three tackle game would indicate. Adding four spoils, winning 100% of his one-on-one contests including a battle of strength to take a contested mark against Marshall and organising the backline into an impenetrable force would have had his line coach in raptures.
 Noah Balta – 8
The impressive physical specimen that is Noah Balta gave Hardwick the trust that he could handle the challenge of Charlie Dixon on one of the biggest nights of the year and he delivered in spades. Eleven disposals and 366m gained, two contested marks amongst his three on the night, four scoring involvements and six intercepts as he confidently broke lines and set up attacks, the only minor blot to the copybook was a behind after moving forward briefly and marking on the lead.
 Liam Baker – 6
Baker had his hands full with an energetic Port forward line but was still able to compile nine intercept disposals amongst his twelve possessions. Ever reliable and would back him to be a factor next week.
 Nick Vlastuin – 7
A game-high nine intercepts and eleven touches at 91% was pretty standard output from this Tiger star. Sat under a high ball and was barrelled over by a rampaging Dixon setting the tone that the Tigers would not take a backwards step against a committed fearsome rival.
 Bachar Houli – 4
The Richmond veteran was targeted early by Port and their coaching staff and struggled like we’ve rarely seen. His 15 possessions were down 30% on his season average, and his usually sublime 78% disposal efficiency languished at just 60%. There was a clear directive from the Port players to remove his capacity to hurt with the ball, in the first term on three occasions he failed to gather possession under pressure, and on a fourth occasion the ball slid off his foot out on the full. He’s not the secret to stopping Richmond, but it certainly limits the way they like to play if he can be contained.
 Kamdyn McIntosh – 6
The Tiger wingman has enjoyed a career renaissance in 2020 after missing out on the premiership in 2019 and was again valuable roaming up and down the wing, taking an important mark with the flight in the last term before driving it forward while more than 50% of his touches won in a contested situation. Has an enormous role to play next week against one of two clubs with outstanding depth in the wing position.
 Dion Prestia – 8
The still underrated Tiger was instrumental in the final term push that gave Richmond ascendency to hold off the Port Adelaide season. A game high seven disposals and four clearances showed his immense value when the game was on the line. Playing on, but wide of Boak the Tiger champion finished with nineteen touches, three tackles and five clearances to take the honours and is building nicely for yet another chance at glory.
 Marlion Pickett – 6
The maligned Tiger wingman seems to be expected to live up to the one in a million debut on Grand Final day last year. The fact is he is a flawed footballer, hence not being given a chance until he turned 27, but Hardwick and his panel obviously see more than enough to keep selecting him. Began poorly without touching the ball in the first quarter, and negatively impacting his team through fumbles, but afterwards improved to be a strong contributor in the desperate final stanza. 13 disposals with three tackles and a further three clearances would have him pretty assured of lining up for a second Grand Final in just his 20th match.
 Jack Graham – 6
The strongly built Tiger midfielder battled hard all night against worthy adversaries from Port, fourteen disposals, four tackles, four I50 and three clearances a step down from previous weeks, but still an important part of the rotation that needed over three quarters to wear down the Power midfield.
 Jason Castagna – 4
The creative Tiger wasn’t at his sharpest in this clash, a spilled chest mark at the top of the square in the third a good illustration that he has just off his game. Just seven touches and two tackles for the normally busy Tiger but wouldn’t count him out from having a big say next week.
 Dustin Martin – 9
The Richmond megastar treats the finals stage as his own personal plaything, and again delivered for his team when it mattered most. Hitting a pack at the top of the goalsquare at pace in the first he brushed aside two tackles and snapped truly for the game’s first, in the second he worked over DBJ and was able to mark essentially uncontested before calmly slotting the set shot. In the third term he wrenched a loose ball out of a pack situation and fired an incredible handball into space for Baker to run on and spot up Balta. An equal game-high six score involvements speaks to his ability to hurt team where it counts. Has been to the Grand Final two previous times and on each occasion has walked away with the Norm Smith Medal, who would be willing to bet against a third.
 Tom J. Lynch – 6
The aggressive Richmond CHF was relatively well held by Port’s Clurey across the evening, but able to impose his will upon the game through repeated effort and work ethic. Again his conversion was slightly off and we’d want to rectify that in time for next week, but began the second half strongly, firstly collecting a loose ball and handing off to a streaking Bolton who missed, before grabbing a big pack mark and converting. An early miss in the last could’ve broken the game open, but it left the door open for a Power surge, however nine disposals and four marks on an unforgiving night was a solid return.
 Jack Riewoldt – 6
The veteran Tiger spearhead received very little reward for a sacrificial game. While relatively well held by McKenzie, Riewoldt worked extremely hard to make contests and bring the ball to ground allowing the fleet of foot smalls to threaten. A very well taken goal from 45m in the first term after a marking infringement free kick the highlight of his six-possession game, but numerous tap ons and blocks were not recorded.
 Daniel Rioli – 8
The elusive Tiger forward has put together a very good finals series, with ratings of back-to-back seven’s in the first fortnight on top of an eight against Port. In difficult conditions Rioli was a beacon of class, his 13 disposals at an impressive 93% efficiency as his team recorded only 58% overall. An equal team-high four I50s, and six tackles (including game-high two inside F50) summarised a performance that included numerous highlights including an early strip of McKenzie to set up Lambert for a shot on goal, and a beautiful pass to Riewoldt that was only cut off by Ebert’s bravery.
 Toby Nankervis – 9
Ivan Soldo who? Despite being easily covered in the hit outs by Lycett (30-19), Nankervis did his damage as an extra midfielder, excelling once the ball hit the ground as his game-high ten tackles and three clearances attest. When the game was there to be won in the final term Nankervis stood tallest, nine hit outs (versus 4), five disposals and three marks, two contested inside the Port defensive 50 was a special effort.
 Shane Edwards – 8
The sublimely talented Tiger only amassed eleven touches and three tackles, but every time he took possession time seemed to slow and he made excellent decisions. Three times he picked out Lynch, even though no goals eventuated was always influential.
 Trent Cotchin – 8
The old adage that tall players don’t get any shorter could be adapted to suit Cotchin, something along the lines of the desperate players never stop throwing themselves into the contest. Seventeen disposals (6 in the last qtr), four tackles and an equal game-high five clearances (2 in the final term), eventually overran the impressive Port midfield to lead his team to within a victory of becoming the first Tiger skipper ever to raise three premiership cups.
 David Astbury – 6
The dour Richmond defender played multiple roles with aplomb, keeping the tall Port forwards quiet with five intercept possessions, winning three clearances in his relieving efforts in the ruck, and the highlight a holding-the-ball decision against Port star Tom Rockliff to stop another strong Power forward thrust.
 Jayden Short – 6
Richmond employed one of their designated kickers to good effect again, Short’s twelve kicks gaining a team-high 401m, however Port coach Ken Hinkley’s pre-game planning ensured he had less time and space than usual and only ran at 43% efficiency, well down on his elite season average of 84%.
 Kane Lambert – 8
The consistent Tiger midfielder forced himself into the game in the final term with a match-winning two goal contribution. The first from a clever snap in a goalmouth scramble, and the second shortly afterwards from a tight angle after Hartlett had conceded a free kick for deliberate out of bounds. You can set your watch to the fact Lambert will deliver, and a second team-high six tackles helped the Tigers to a total of 66 for the match, 16 above their season average.
 Shai Bolton – 8
The return of established stars Dion Prestia and Shane Edwards in recent weeks has forced Bolton out of the starting midfield rotation, but rather than dwell on the demotion has become a dangerous forward and valuable link player. Bolton’s maturity was again on show last night and was lively throughout, his run down tackle on Lycett leading to Martin’s second goal, and he contributed another goal assist with the clearance and handball to Lambert for his first of the last term. 15 disposals and an equal team-high four I50 and six score involvements have him as a dangerous opponent to counter next week.
So, who have we got too high and who have we got too low? Maybe we’ve even got some juuuuust right?
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