Each week of the finals, Trent Adam Shields has compiled the Player ratings for each game. Feeding into our Mongrel Punt Finals Player of the Year Award, these ratings are your indicator as to who was the best… and the worst on the day.

Let’s jump into the Grand Final Ratings.

GEELONG:

 

[38] Jack Henry – 6

A tremendous mark running back with the flight of the ball the highlight for Jack Henry who was again a solid contributor for a besieged Geelong defence. Seven intercepts amongst his 14 disposals, can hold his head high.

 

[7] Harry Taylor – 8

In his likely swansong two-time premiership defender Taylor was excellent in keeping dangerous Tiger Tom Lynch in check. Recorded an impressive eight spoils and was unbeaten in eight one-on-one defensive contests.

 

[8] Jake Kolodjashnij – 4

With Henderson and Blicavs both down the pressure transferred to Kolodjashnij, dicey disposal was again an issue as he turned it over badly to Lambert setting up Richmond’s 5th goal. Had the ball eight times and took a nice mark ahead of Martin in the third.

 

[25] Lachie Henderson – 5

Arguably the Cats player of the finals series, appeared on again with two early clearing possessions before the Tigers discipline took hold and didn’t allow him the freedom to which he’d become accustomed. Held to a second low possession count of just seven, and after taking 28 marks in his past three finals was only able to register one against an accountable Tigers team.

 

[46] Mark Blicavs – 4

An uncharacteristically poor game from the Geelong big man. Caught with the ball numerous times as his strength was unable to break through the ferocious Tiger defence, also outsprinted by Bolton at one point early on. 13 disposals and ten hit outs but only one score involvement as he was unable to get involved in chains of possession as he usually does.

 

[44] Tom Stewart – 8

The Cats star led the game with ten intercept possession from his 20 for the match, contributing an incredible season-high 624m gained for this side, along with ten R50 as he continually drove his team forward increasingly against an unstoppable tide.

 

[22] Mitch Duncan – 9

Excelled in his second AFL Grand Final as clearly his teams best across the four quarters. 25 typically quality disposals, a game-high seven marks, four clearances and a well taken goal to give his side the lead on the stroke of quarter time, did all he could to give his side a chance and was rewarded with Norm Smith Medal votes from two judges.

 

[14] Joel Selwood – 7

The inspirational Cats skipper was able to muster twenty-one possessions and a team-high six clearances, but always seemed hurried as his three out on the full kicks would attest and could only get hold of the ball three times in the final term when he has so often been able to will his team to victory. Time is no friend to any professional sportsman so can imagine his throwing everything he has left into the 2021 season.

 

[27] Sam Menegola – 6

A three-club journeyman completed his best ever season in 2020 but was relatively well held in the Grand Final as McIntosh proved a worthy adversary, not allowing him space and forcing him to follow deep into defence. Took an incredible mark running with the flight of the ball and converted with the long shot, one of two goals for the evening to bring the margin back to 16 points with seven minutes to play, but undid a lot of good work when he chose to argue with the umpire rather than defending Bolton who got the goal assist to Lambert earlier.

 

 

[40] Luke Dahlhaus – 4

Fourteen largely ineffective disposals from one of the few players for the Cats with previous premiership experience. Most notably spoiled a pass meant for Hawkins well within goal scoring range at the start of the second quarter.

 

[23] Gary Rohan – 2

After promising outputs in the past two finals, the ghosts of Grand Finals past came back to roost for Rohan in a very disappointing match for the forward. Only five touches at 40%, a bright spot with a rundown tackle on Dion Prestia and a vague attempt to juxtapose his efforts in keeping Dylan Grimes busy notwithstanding will do nothing to hide the burgeoning millstone weighing down his neck.

 

[32] Gryan Miers – 5

Tried hard and his creativity helped him record a team-high six score involvements including a good finish on the run in the third, but much of his work was undone by a horrible brain fade midway through the second to play on from 25m out straight in front and miss.

 

[42] Mark O’Connor – 4

Ineffective, only nine disposals and little of his customary run as he kicked out on the full under little pressure when there was a spare player further afield in the desperate third term.

 

[26] Tom Hawkins – 3

The AA and Coleman star missed his chance to make an impact in the first half with two very gettable shots at goal sailing wide. Was able to find the goal in the middle of a Geelong purple patch that saw them gain a 22-point lead towards the end of the second term, 30 points might’ve been too many. Finished with ten disposals, five score involvements and three tackles I50, but only two touches in the second half as the game was played almost exclusively at the Tigers forward end.

 

[37] Sam Simpson – 5

Unable to replicate his heroics from the past two finals as the Tigers kept him on a tight leash only allowing 2 clearances, one tackle and no marks down from seven, eight and six respectively he’d recorded in the other two finals. His night came to a devastating halt as he was knocked unconscious in the marking contest that Menegola scored his second goal.

 

[1] Rhys Stanley – 6

The Geelong first choice ruckman had an engrossing battle with his opposite number Toby Nankervis, neither recording a decisive ascendency over the other. A game-high 29 hit outs and 14 disposals, including a team leading six in the final term a solid return, but was also complicit in Martin’s fourth goal by dropping an uncontested mark and then having his handball to Dangerfield stolen by the Tiger superstar.

 

[35] Patrick Dangerfield – 4

Built up in the preview as the heavy weight match up between himself and Dustin Martin, but much like most of the main events in the boxing world this failed to deliver to the hype. Not helped by Chris Scott’s insistence to play him deep forward for long stretches, but strangely subdued in his first Grand Final, possibly affected by the early clash with Nick Vlastuin caught with the ball on numerous occasions and unable to stick tackles in defence. Lowest disposal count and equal lowest number of marks and I50 for the season. That coveted flag still eludes him.

 

[29] Cameron Guthrie – 6

An inconsistent game by the All Australian Geelong midfielder, able to collect fourteen disposals and five clearances, however only one touch in the second and fourth quarters. Kicked a long set shot goal in the first term to ignite his side and a terrific mark in the third over Nankervis, but unable to match the intensity of the Tigers mids across the match.

 

[2] Zach Tuohy – 6

Battled hard as his team-high ten contested possessions show, along with five intercepts played his part. Unlucky to miss a snap on goal in the second term which would have extended the Geelong lead almost out of Richmond’s comfort zone.

 

[3] Brandan Parfitt – 5

A revelation for Geelong this season the tough young midfielder not able to maintain his offensive output as the Tigers put the squeeze on their opponents. An early thumb injury seemed to reduce his capacity but still managed an equal-game high seven tackles. A great campaign unfortunately for him finishing one win short of glory.

 

[4] Gary Ablett – 4

As silly as it sounds a Geelong victory may have not provided the exclamation point a wonderful career deserved as his final moments would have been drowned out with numerous other stories. As it was he was given due respect and a fitting farewell as he left the field, acknowledged by all 44 players and support teams. A serious shoulder injury in the opening minutes limited his ability to impact the contest, one final moment of magic a deft handball to set Selwood free a reminder of the class he exuded throughout a career for the ages.

 

[24] Jed Bews – 4

Another Geelong defender overwhelmed by his Richmond opponents and unable to operate with the same freedoms and dare as in previous matches. Nine disposals at just 55% efficiency not reflective of his season as he struggled to find targets with his usual regularity.

 

RICHMOND:

 

[35] Nathan Broad – 7

The Tiger defender erroneously received two votes from Leigh Matthews in the Norm Smith medal voting, but you could make an argument that his blanketing job on Dangerfield had him in the judges’ thoughts. Took a strong defensive mark on the last line to deny a Gryan Miers snap at goal in the last term, and with his third medallion in just his 70th match overtakes Brad Hill’s record for least number of games to this milestone in the AFL era.

 

[2] Dylan Grimes – 4

Was effectively drawn out of the contest by Rohan also spending time on Dangerfield, only collected four possessions but took am important contested mark over Blicavs to keep the ball in the Tigers attacking half in the last quarter when the game was still in the balance.

 

[21] Noah Balta – 7

The Tiger strongman joined the premiership club with another impressive showing against Tom Hawkins, albeit ably assisted by some poor conversion from the Cat spearhead. 12 disposals, six intercepts and three score involvements as he also rotated through the ruck position in relief.

 

[7] Liam Baker – 8

The impressive Tiger youngster starred on the biggest stage contributing a game-high three goal assists, streaking through the middle to get on the end of Martin’s centring ball, then handed off to McIntosh for a long goal.  A beautiful left foot pass to Riewoldt for his second deep in the last was split by another confident pass after breaking the lines to sets up Casatagna for his goal.

 

[1] Nick Vlastuin – 1

The Tiger star was knocked out in the opening minutes and unable to contribute after an early handball and couple of tackles. His loss seemed to temporarily disorganise the Tigers as Geelong capitalised with five unanswered goals.

 

[14] Bachar Houli – 4

The consistent Tiger playmaker was down on his usual output, later admitting a torn calf early in the first was a contributing reason. 11 disposals and only 64m (down on season averages of 19 and 292m) indicative of a leg injury, but a third medallion under trying conditions will ease the pain.

 

[33] Kamdyn McIntosh – 7

The important Tiger winger made up for the disappointment of missing out on last year’s premiership to nullify the impact of Sam Menegola. His hard running to handball receive from Baker and kicking long from outside 50 for the Tigers second a standout moment in the game.

 

[3] Dion Prestia – 7

Remarkably able to recover from what seemed a season-ending ankle injury to return for the last round and finals to be an important cog in the Tiger engine room. Only 14 disposals but four clearances, five tackles and two valuable goals, both a result of hard running to support teammates further afield testament to his commitment to win.

 

[50] Marlion Pickett – 6

An important player in the second term gaining eight of his 14 disposals as an extra player in defence stemming Geelong’s best attacking moments. Able to run down Ablett bursting clear becoming one of the few to have achieved this feat in a glittering 357-game career. Only poor disposals kept his ranking from being higher, a handball played on from a free kick going directly to Jed Bews minding the mark, two premierships in just 20 AFL matches.

 

[34] Jack Graham – 8

Another robust performance from the barrel-chested Tiger midfielder, 11 of his seventeen disposals coming in the second half as he became influential working up and down the field and in close with five tackles.  A smooth goal assist to Prestia for the Tigers first major was icing on the cake as he made up for missing last year’s flag through injury.

 

[11] Jason Castagna – 6

A typical Castagna game, four tackles including two inside forward 50 as his pressure kept the Cats defenders’ hands full. A long set shot goal in the third was one of eleven disposals and played his role perfectly to compliment the selfless approach of this Tiger outfit.

 

[4] Dustin Martin – 10

What can you say except – wow! Some extraordinary stats coming out including his 19 goals 2 behinds in the past two finals campaigns and that he has now been adjudicated best afield in over 80% of finals matches he’s played. An extraordinary player at the absolute peak of his powers. 21 disposals including an equal-game high ten contested, four goals out of twelve, game-high 9 score involvements, 457m gained and an innate ability to take the ball cleanly and make excellent decisions that sets him apart from mere mortals. There wasn’t an official passing of the torch, but it seemed apt Dusty should submit this masterpiece on the day Gary Junior stepped out for the last time.

 

[19] Tom J. Lynch – 5

The Tiger big man claimed a second premiership medallion in just his second season at Richmond after crossing from the Suns. He was slightly off in this game, credit to his direct opponent Harry Taylor, but also dropped two uncontested chest marks in the first half, and perhaps concentrating too hard on the peripherals like his big tackle on Miers which gave away an early free. Continued to work hard and drew a crowd any time the ball was kicked inside forward 50 which made plenty of space for the Tigers smalls to capitalise.

 

[8] Jack Riewoldt – 7

Kicked 2.2 as he was a constant threat in the Richmond forward line also recording six score involvements, kept the dangerous Henderson occupied and helped set the tone with an early tackle on Blicavs in the centre of the ground drawing a turnover.

 

[17] Daniel Rioli – 4

A couple of neat touches firstly to pick up the loose ball and set Graham free for the first goal, and secondly to get the clearance to start the second half and set up a Riewoldt goal his only meaningful contribution apart from a customary four tackles.

 

[25] Toby Nankervis – 6

The unfashionable Tiger ruckman looked to be considering his options earlier in the year as Soldo was preferred, an unfortunate injury thrust Toby back to the forefront and he is now a 3-time premiership player. Fighting out a competitive draw with Stanley, Nankervis was a thorn in the side of Chris Scott’s plans as he was able to play that underrated role as another midfielder with four clearances and six tackles.

 

[10] Shane Edwards – 9

Stepping back into the familiar Tiger colours for the last round after an enforced absence outside the hub with his young family, Edwards didn’t skip a beat upon his return and was red-hot in the Grand Final recording season high’s and game-high’s for disposals 27 and clearances nine. His exceptional vision and ability to hold up play to allow others to find space came to the fore in the tight confines of the premiership decider and was duly recognised by receiving Norm Smith Medal votes from four of the 5 judges.

 

[9] Trent Cotchin – 8

The Tiger skipper becomes the first to captain Richmond to three premierships, fitting that this occurred 100-years after their first Grand Final win. Displaying his traditional desperation and willingness to do whatever it takes to win he collected nineteen hard-fought possessions, made four tackles and led the game with six clearances including three in the centre.

 

[12] David Astbury – 6

Five intercepts in his seven touches and played a vital role in a reorgansied Tiger defence after the loss of Vlastuin early in the first term.

 

[15] Jayden Short – 9

Played probably the game of his life finishing as clear second in Norm Smith Medal voting behind the incomparable Martin. Gained an extraordinary career-high 771 meters for his side, almost 300m above his league leading season average. 25 disposals, seven R50 & I50 and six tackles including a timely holding the ball decision on Blicavs.

 

[23] Kane Lambert – 7

A workmanlike effort from ever-reliable Lambert, an incredible ground ball collect and give to Prestia for the first of the last term added to a third term goal, 13 disposals, four tackles and five score involvements.

 

[29] Shai Bolton – 9

Sixteen disposals and an equal game-high seven tackles in another fantastic match from the young Tigers star. A great contest backing into Kolodjashnij to spill the ball from Short’s long kick – led to Prestia’s first of the game, a courageous mark from a clearing Bews kick saw him set up Lambert, and yet another goal assist through another brilliant mark in congestion playing on quickly and evading Miers and Dahlhaus tackles to spot Lynch in the goalsquare.

 

So, who’d we get right, and who’d we get wrong. Don’t you dare try to tell me Dusty wasn’t a perfect ten in this one. I’ll have ya!

EBOOK: RICHMOND TIGERS YEAR IN REVIEW 2020