The Mongrel Player of the Finals is live, and these ratings will feed into it. In each game, two Mongrel writers will award ratings to each player on the park to decide the 2021 Mongrel Player of the Finals.

Trent Adam Shields and Sam Marcolin have you covered for this one.


Let’s jump into the second game.


Elimination Final 1: Sydney vs GWS


Sydney – (Trent Adam Shields)


[7] Harry Cunningham – 5

Only able to collect 12 disposals, well down on his season average of 16.3 but was typically dour to the end, a brave and desperate diving spoil with only 7 minutes to go prevented a certain Giants shot at goal and kept the momentum going the Swans way in the pulsating dying moments.


[43] Lewis Melican – 4

Possibly a tough grading as his 17 possessions with ten intercepts and eight marks were far from terrible, however, Leon Cameron identified Melican as the weak link in the Swans backline and both Himmelberg and Hogan in particular prospered when they were matched up against him. If only Longmire had someone of the ilk of Aliir to call on to play the second tall back role alongside McCartin.


[24] Dane Rampe – 7

The Swans skipper was less influential early than we typically expect, but was one of the main reasons they stormed home in the last quarter. Seven of his 21 disposals and 300m of his team leading 568m were obtained in the final term as he consistently drove the ball forward, attacking through the centre of the ground to great effect. He’ll regret the decision to shoot for goal with the clock ticking down and only reaching the goal line for an easy rushed opportunity.


[44] Jake Lloyd – 6

Only six disposals in the first half for the prolific swan, who’s workrate lifted dramatically in the second half to break free of a fierce Matt de Boer tag to finish with 21 touches – albeit still well short of his 27.9 season average. Used his superb touch to deliver the ball at >95% efficiency, but alas too little too late.


[30] Tom McCartin – 8

Was dominant in the air with seven intercept marks, two of them contested as he repelled attack after attack in the first term, before a genius positional change moved him off Hogan and onto the more accountable Himmelberg, that both dimmed his influence and allowed Hogan to dominate. Can hold his head high as a genuine four quarter performer after a fabulous season.


[27] Justin McInerney – 5

The 4th placed Rising Star was instrumental in the Swans fast attacking game plan in the first quarter, until he was pushed deep into the defensive fifty by a de Boer match up and his effectiveness dulled. Managed to con the umpire into reversing a free against Greene that should’ve rightly been a 50m penalty to the fiery Giant star. Only one mark in the match, which is typically a strong suit averaging 5.4 per game.


[34] Jordan Dawson – 7

Particularly good early when eight first quarter disposals gained 238m and travelled inside forward fifty four times. His influence was dulled as the match wore on but a solid contributor with six tackles and eight marks. A couple of his disposals were sublime in execution, a first term long ball to Wicks who didn’t break stride, and another spot up to Franklin in the second who duly converted.


[29] George Hewett – 8

Channeling Port’s Willem Drew, Hewett recorded a game-high 13 tackles to go with his six clearances and nineteen possessions. With Kennedy and Mills missing from the midfield rotation it was Hewett along with Parker who did the most to address the Giants imbalance and regain momentum for the Swans in the second half.


[5] Isaac Heeney – 9

A quiet first half belied his impact on the remainder of the match. A strong contested mark led to Papley’s goal to open the third term, of which he then scored with a sharp snap before a brilliantly taken set shot from a tight angle. His third and fourth goals were courtesy of a goal square snap, and yet another strong contested mark to breathe life into his team’s charge towards victory. Twenty-one touches and two direct goal assists, one where he brutally dismissed a flailing Haynes tackle and spotted up Bell directly in front to go along with his four goals had purists disappointed his season is over.


[9] Will Hayward – 5

Twelve disposals and six marks had Hayward always in the mix as the ball went inside Sydney’s forward 50, but he was unable to convert in the manner he has regularly throughout the season ending with just two behinds. Five inside 50 entries and six score involvements had him around the mark, but just not able to find that x-factor he often brings.


[41] Hayden McLean – 4

Found himself out of position numerous times early in the game, however kept presenting and ended up with five marks, although wasn’t able to hit the score board. Worked hard defensively racking up three tackles inside forward fifty and giving Hickety strong support with 11 hit outs and two clearances while on the ball.


[21] Errol Gulden – 4

Struggled to find space early as the Giants worked over the Swans young brigade, but eventually found his feet and was involved in several critical attacking plays including one exceptional hard ball get, spin out of trouble and then open up the field by lacing out an option in the central midfield. 14 touches and five marks, to go with six inside 50s were his final numbers in a highly promising freshman year.


[11] Tom Papley – 8

Any argument as to Papley’s worthiness to be named All Australian were surely put to rest after a typically robust performance in the heartbreaking loss. A brilliant contested mark backing into Giant star Haynes early in the piece set him alight and shortly after he registered the first major from a mark inside fifty. Was a livewire in his time attending centre bounces, often streaming out of the clearance with the ball. He added a second great goal in the third, but missed a few half chances which were costly in the wash up.


[23] Lance Franklin – 6

Any player entering the game on 992 career goals is likely to be a centre of attention, and while the fact he may have been over-targeted was not Franklin’s fault, his insistence in trying to mark on his chest allowing direct opponent Sam Taylor to spoil time and again certainly was. Kicked three mostly opportunistic goals but missed the set shot from an eerily familiar position on the ground which would have handed his club safe passage through to next week. A mighty 50+ goal return on the season after barely playing for the past two years.


[45] Sam Wicks – 3

Yet another player likely to have an uneasy sleep after missing a simple chance at goal in the last term, clanging the post from barely 20m out after getting himself into perfect position to capitalise. 11 touches, with six score involvements and five tackles just wasn’t enough under the fierce finals lights.


[31] Tom Hickey – 7

An engrossing battle with Shane Mumford was probably an even-points draw in the wash up, despite being physically overwhelmed at times. Was five hit outs behind at quarter time and finished only three down 36-33, while also collecting fifteen possessions and five marks, including two towering contested interceptions in the final term. Will rue his pulled set shot from 30m out directly in front in that horror final stanza.


[26] Luke Parker – 9

Continued his exceptional season and in the absence of his long-term partner in crime, Kennedy led all-comers with 34-disposals and a team-high eight clearances. Imposed himself physically on the contest with several hard hits on giants opponents as part of his five tackles, but let himself down with a rushed shot on goal in the second term when he had much more time and you’d expect a better finish from a seasoned veteran.


[8] James Rowbottom – 7

Never stopped trying and laid nine crunching tackles to complement his fifteen neat touches at 80% efficiency gaining 347m for his team. As was the unfortunate tale of the tape for the Swans, butchered a golden chance in the second term to kick a goal which ultimately proved costly.


[38] Colin O’Riordan – 2

Copped a heavy knock early and was never able to assert himself on the contest thereafter. Recorded just six touches and one tackle and wasn’t able to suppress the Giants small forwards with any success.


[1] Chad Warner – 5

Showed flashes of his early season form at times, but was noticeably rusty upon return from a long injury lay off. Made good position to accept a handball from a long Franklin lead and streaked through the midfield delivering to Heeney which became a goal to Bell, and almost replicated this after a clearance in the last, but just appeared a step behind the pace, his 11 touches not indicative of his quality and looks to be a mainstay in coming years.


[13] Oliver Florent – 4

Delivered an ‘almost’ game, his run down tackle in the first directly led to Franklin’s first, but a great hard ball get shortly after was turned over softly. Attempted to take on Josh Kelly and handed the ball over yet again to his opponents, before getting injured and finishing the match subbed out on the bench.


[32] James Bell – 1

Got on the end of some brilliant individual brilliance by Heeney to score an early goal, however his game went from bad to worse from this point, as he gave away a messy 50m penalty running through the protected zone, and then turned the ball over in a dangerous position after an undisciplined punch into Mumford’s back, finally hitting the post from just 20m straight in front deep in the final quarter.


Medi-Sub [42] Robbie Fox – 2

Replaced Ollie Florent late in the game and wasn’t able to impact at all with only two handballs and tackles.


GWS – (Sam Marcolin)


[42] Jake Stein – 5

Very solid down back in the first half, with all of his five intercepts in the first quarter, but faded after half time with more accountability. Not sure he was directly responsible for Heeney in the second half, but was beaten in the last quarter in the passage leading to the Swan’s fourth goal. Still, resolute.


[15] Sam Taylor – 8

May not be the big name, yet, but his battle with the best forward of a generation was a blockbuster. Buddy kicked three, but none of them were particularly straightforward, and even the goals he kicked weren’t necessarily attributable to Taylor. Nine of 12 touches were intercepts to go with 13 one percenters. Renews hostilities with Hawkins next Friday.


[13] Isaac Cumming – 5

Perhaps taxed a little after being subbed off in the third. Provided solid drive from the back half when he did have the ball, with 16 touches and 486 metres gained. Unsure of the significance of the injury but Leon Cameron would obviously prefer to have him in the side.


[7] Lachie Ash – 6

Provided constant dash from half back and the wing in his first final. One of a number of young Giants who can hold their head up. A couple of his inboard kicks were delightful, none more so than the one which set up Jesse Hogan for Harry Himmelberg’s goal after the half time siren. 18 touches at 89% and five one percenters.


[19] Nick Haynes – 6

Not at his prolific, intercepting best, and Heeney maybe got on top of him after a quiet first half, but was resolute in the last quarter when he needed to be and was very solid on the rebound too. His 17 touches came at 82% with seven rebounds and 11 marks. Accrued 455 metres too through his disposals. A Mongrel favourite, he’ll relish playing against Geelong if they kick the way they did last night.


[6] Lachie Whitfield – 6

Not fully sure what to make of Whitfield’s game in this one. When you look at a player as supremely skilled as he is, given the space he was given, 21 touches at 67% is probably a little below standard. Wasn’t relied on for the drive he normally provides, with Perryman and Kelly racking up the metres, but certainly not the number one pick’s best game in charcoal and orange. Still had five score involvements, though, in a reasonable display.


[22] Josh Kelly – 8

A Giant for life, now, and looks revitalised having signed a new contract recently. Clearly the best inside mid for his side, his nine clearances the most of any player on the ground, and 13 contested the equal most of any for GWS. Sent his side inside 50 on six occasions and gained 638 metres, for five score involvements. Butchered the ball a little, going at 61%, but for the role Kelly plays that’s forgivable especially given his other numbers. If he hits his strides this September, the Giants could cause a few more headaches.


[3] Stephen Coniglio – 3

Arguably lucky to get that score, though he does largely for his forward craft in freeing up space for teammates inside 50. Played predominantly as a half forward, but had just two score involvements as part of his 11 touches at 46%. Laid three of his six tackles inside forward 50, earning him another point, but looks well off the pace after an injury interrupted season. Not sure whose spot he’d be taking in the midfield rotation, either, and so may have to become more accustomed to a similar role.


[36] Harry Perryman – 9

Probably best on ground, but definitely best in show for GWS. Won them the game, in all honesty, with a diving effort on the line to deny Justin McInerney what would have been a go ahead goal, earning him an extra point. Given ample space on the half back line and the wing, Perryman had 29 touches, 13 contested and a massive 726 metres gained, each the most of any Giant. Add in six intercepts and it’s an outstanding day out for the underrated Giant, who goes under the radar given the star power around him but he’s etched his name into the folklore of this club, and Leon Cameron will probably be replaying that diving punch for weeks to come, at least.


[14] Tim Taranto – 6

Solid, but maybe not spectacular. Didn’t need to be really, given how deep his side’s midfield bats, and he was still integral to the side’s win. 25 touches and an important goal at the end of the first quarter a return no one would sneeze at, and five tackles a solid return from a young leader willing to crack in. Also sent his side inside 50 on a game high seven times, but I still feel his ceiling is plenty higher than this.


[27] Harry Himmelberg – 5

Played third fiddle to two of the bigger names at GWS, but was solid when called upon. Had just the 10 touches and only three marks, but two second quarter goals as part of a significant run that set up the win for the Giants can’t be forgotten. Was a fairly straightforward finish after the half time siren, but an important one, giving his side a 23 point buffer at the long break. Has been better, will be better, but still useful.


[4] Toby Greene – 7

After his third goal of the game, I remarked in our Mongrel Chat that Toby was on track for a rare 10 point performance. Three goals and a direct hand in another out of five to that point for the Giants. And then, well, he started doing Toby stuff. Didn’t hit the scoreboard after half time, but did ‘hit’ Matt Stevic and elbowed an encroaching Justin McInerney. Ended the game with the ball in his hands, fittingly, having copped a big bump. 7 is both simultaneously too low and too high, given both his performance with ball in hand and his ill discipline without. That’s probably fair enough given his enigmatic nature. May well be lucky to play next week but if he does it may be bye bye Geelong.


[28] Zach Sproule – 6

Young bloke, cult figure, 10th game, first final. There’s a bit to say about Sproule, and a lot to like. His goal from beyond the arc just a minute into the third quarter, his second of the afternoon, gave the Giants their biggest lead of the game, 29 points. Just the 11 touches but took seven marks, two contested, and laid four tackles. Definitely unlikely to be the biggest name in that forward line, but he played his role very well against the Swans.


[23] Jesse Hogan – 8

Could have been best on ground. Near enough was, had he not scraped the woodwork twice in the space of a couple of minutes halfway through the third, which would have given the Giants a lot of breathing room. Ended with 2.2, two further goal assists, one a clever soccer into space for Greene, and seven score involvements all up, with his second goal after the three quarter time siren proving critical. Reeled in eight marks, a mammoth six of which were contested, in a performance that more than justified his acquisition.


[24] Matt de Boer – 5

How do you judge a pure lockdown player like de Boer? Performed his role effectively, but there may have been a more effective role for him to perform in shutting down the superb Luke Parker. In any event, restricted the prolific Jake Lloyd to just 21 touches, six of which came from kick ins. On the offensive side, though, had very limited impact with just nine touches of his own.


[41] Shane Mumford – 6

Stood up late, in a sense, but then his opponent in Hickey looked like winning the game for his side. Played with the intent to hurt, as he always, somewhat tediously, does, and cracked into Parker and Papley among others. Just edged Hickey in the ruck, with the Giants’ 43-35 clearance ascendancy fueled by a clear edge in stoppage clearances. Had five of his own. Hard to know what to make of the talisman.


[2] Jacob Hopper – 7

Another very respectable outing from a continually developing star. 23 touches in an important distributor role in midfield, but more importantly his defensive edge made the GWS midfield look much stronger. No Giant had more than his nine tackles, as he continually cracked in in-close to prevent Parker et al. from getting the ball out.


[8] Callan Ward – 6

Leadership was evident at points in the last quarter as he looked determined to hold the play up and keep the ball in the hands of his side. Just the 19 touches, but five clearances in amongst those. Stood up late, and you feel his experienced head will be critical to the Giants’ fortunes going forward in these finals.


[50] Sam Reid – 2

That may be generous. The Sam Reid story is a ripping one; you’d be hard pressed to find many players who’ve battled harder than him to reach 100 games. It’s a credit to Reid, but he provided very little down back in this game. Just nine touches at 33%, the equal fewest of any Giant, and seemed hampered at times. A solid role player but not sure he played his role to perfection today.


[38] Daniel Lloyd – 5

Soccered a nice goal in the second as part of the aforementioned run that set up the Giant’s win, but didn’t have a huge impact all round. Buzzed around the forward line, though, for five score involvements. Another role player, hard to fault him for that.


[12] Tom Green – 4

I should disclose I’m a massive fan of the runner up in the 2021 Ron Evans Medal, but his first final wasn’t a performance he’ll reflect on particularly fondly. In fairness, looked very hampered by a shoulder injury as the game wore on. With GWS having close to a first choice midfield in, Green couldn’t really get a look in and so had just the 12 touches. Once again, solid but not spectacular and will hope he can recover to bounce back for next week’s semi final.


[39] Connor Idun – 4

Looked to have responsibility for Papley, who clearly wanted to get off the chain early and kicked two first half goals. Reeled in eight marks as part of 11 touches, and wasn’t terrible but wasn’t particularly excellent, either. Maybe loses marks for inexperience, but will be better for the run.


Medi-sub [5] Tanner Bruhn – 2

Hard to know what to make of a medical sub, really. Would probably have given him no rating, if I could have. Replaced Isaac Cumming late in the third but had just the one touch in a full quarter of game time. Three tackles earns him a couple of points but Leon Cameron may have wanted more out of his fresh legs.