Back for week two of the 2021 Finals, the Mongrel Punt Player Rankings feed directly into the Mongrel Player of the Finals Award.

In each game, two Mongrels rate every player on the park to give us the basis on which we’ll build our award on.

This week, Nicholas Sluggett looks after his Cats, and JB Eddy takes responsibility for the Giants. Here’s how they saw it.

 

Semi-Final 1: Geelong vs GWS

 

Geelong(Slugger)

 

[38] Jack Henry – 6

 Looks to be trying to take that step as a mark-first player when the opportunity presents. Will be crucial that he keeps that confidence next week against the Demons. There really isn’t much else to say about Henry’s game other than he got the job done. This is the case for the first few defenders on our list, which I think is a good thing. If your defenders weren’t overtly noticeable and playing significant games, then your overall team has to have done well (Or incredibly poorly).

 

[25] Lachie Henderson – 5

A solid enough game from Henderson. After last week, the only place to go was up. He took a couple of good marks drifting across the pack and didn’t get exposed for pace this week, which is a positive. Still had a couple of moments he would probably like back.

 

[8] Jake Kolodjashnij – 6

Like Henderson, an improvement on last week. I still get nervous every time he has the ball in his hands though. “Kolo” just looks unsure with his decision making and hitting those slightly more difficult targets. But he still does his job most weeks (including in this game). 

 

[2] Zach Tuohy – 9

I just want to see the meme of R.Lee Ermey from Full Metal Jacket. It perfectly encapsulates my opinion not only of Tuohy’s performance, but his effect on the way this Geelong team plays. Tuohy adds an extra layer of daring and run off half back as well an experienced head in defence that doesn’t look like he is about to crumble every time the pressure is turned up. Tuohy was everywhere in the first quarter and formed part of the Cats real three headed monster of outside talent with Menegola and Smith. Tuohy led the Cats with 31 disposals at a 90% efficiency rating (take that with a grain of salt), with five intercepts, 500 metres gained and some clutch plays on the last line of defence that saved multiple goals. I think I accurately speak for Cats fans when I say it was just so good to have him back.

*exhales* mmmm, satisfaction. 

 

[46] Mark Blicavs – 7

Did the job on Himmelberg for the majority of this match. Once Hogan was a late withdrawal, the majority of the Giants forward play was going to rely on Himmelberg. Blicavs was excellent in his effort to quell his influence. Blicavs had 13 spoils and six intercepts in a solid defensive display that would’ve given his defensive teammates confidence.

 

[30] Tom Atkins – 5

Only 11 disposals for Atkins in this match, but he did start strongly with nine of those in the first half. I believe he forms a strong tandem with Bews as small defenders that allows Zac Tuohy to be a more attacking weapon for the Cats off halfback. Atkins also had seven intercept possessions in those 11 touches of the football, but surprisingly didn’t have a recorded tackle in the match.

 

[29] Cam Guthrie – 7

A solid night for Guthrie. Like a lot of his teammates, a much improved effort from last week. I’ve had people tell me he has issues with his kicking, but he was having none of those tonight as he weighted some kicks to perfection. He exquisitely kicked the ball through the opposition at times that if I had the computer knowledge to add a “chef’s kiss” emoji, I would.

 

[22] Mitch Duncan – 8

A more balanced game from Duncan this week. Thanks to Tuohy’s return and Blicavs shift to permanent defender he was no longer shackled to the defensive 50 and ventured further up the ground to his usual hunting ground. Now, at the cost of winning more of his footy on the attacking side of the ground, but winning less of it overall, you can argue that his impact both increased and reduced, when compared to last week. However, he is still the player that I most want to see with the ball in hand streaming through the middle of the ground.

 

[7] Isaac Smith – 9

The running man. I would argue Geelong’s best mature age pick-up. 23 disposals in this game (20 kicks), and a whopping 740+ metres gained! Rewarded himself with a goal in the last quarter but could have easily had one or two more. He is absolutely lethal coming out from the kick-in as well. Forms a dream partnership with Sam Menegola and Zach Tuohy rotating through the wings.

 

[17] Esava Ratugolea – 4

Took his pack mark in the second quarter and kicked truly. Not sighted in the second half, but I’d still be keeping him in the team. Was serviceable as a second ruck and allowed Blicavs to provide some steadiness down back without the stress of going into the ruck. Will likely play a huge role next week as the Demons toss-up sending Lever to himself or Rohan, and who they may leave exposed on the other.

 

[5] Jeremy Cameron – 6

I think Cameron did enough in this game. He wasn’t outstanding, but he performed a perfect supporting role as part of a cohesive forward unit which hadn’t functioned for more than six quarters. Was able to find the goals early when they were hard to come by, despite a couple of really poor bounces for him. Had nine score involvements from his 14 disposals.

 

[23] Gary Rohan – 7

It was close to the ultimate comeback game for Rohan. How he would like those two early shots at goal back. Still, he did what he needed to do and actually found some of the footy. He put good pressure on, which definitely would’ve been a requirement from coach Chris Scott after dropping Dahlhaus during the week. He finished with two goals, a couple of nice marks and some great defensive acts. 

 

[45] Brad Close – 6

Scored a goal in the first quarter and had a couple of good moments before a quiet second. Found some good touch in the second half, adding 10 disposals and a goal. A surprisingly good set of hands. With Close marking so well and rocking the long sleeves, it may draw comparisons to a former norm smith medalist for the Cats, who was a good mark for his size and enjoyed an extra layer of warmth on his arms.

 

[26] Tom Hawkins – 10!

Channeling my inner Billy Bob from Varsity Blues, I’m giving the big Hawk “A 10!! A freaking 10!!!” 


Others may mark him down for that clumsy hit in the second quarter or the 50m penalty he inexplicably gave away at the top of the goal square. He also traded one diving free kick for another with the umpires to have an even ledger. However, for the second time in three years Hawkins won the Cats a semi-final. 

He kicked five goals, took eight marks (four contested and five inside 50), had 19 disposals and 12 score involvements! As the late Bernie Mac quipped in Ocean’s Thirteen, “‘Nuff said”. 

 

[32] Gryan Miers – 7

A much improved performance from Miers. Found some football around half forward and got involved in the play. Looked like he kept his player honest. Probably just needs to tighten up his disposal under pressure.

 

[1] Rhys Stanley – 9

Haters be damned. Stanley was arguably the best big man in the middle of the ground in this match. Mumford threw his weight around, as he does, but when Stanley got his chances in the middle he simply jumped over him. Stanley also used his superior fitness to find plenty of the ball and really run Mumford ragged in the second half. Stanley also was critical in assisting the defence. He got back with pace and was solid as a rock down there taking a couple nice marks and spoiling the football with authority.

 

[14] Joel Selwood – 4

Very quiet night from the Captain. But you can understand that on a night that he literally breaks the record for games played for his club. I don’t want to be one of those people, but Selwood has definitely lost half a step with age. The spirit is willing, but I’m just not sure he can still consistently deliver for the Cats. He was pushed off the ball and beaten with pace a couple of times in this game. He still laid eight tackles and was by no means disgraced.

 

[35] Patrick Dangerfield – 6

Was given the De Boer treatment in the first half – he had him beat. The Giants however moved away from that match-up in the second half and Dangerfield came home with a wet sail. He had seven clearances in the last quarter alone! Talk about winning the footy at the coalface. When he wasn’t winning the ball Dangerifeld used his body as a missile in this game and really tried to exert himself on the opposition even when being curtailed.

 

[24] Jed Bews – 6

Bews is the sort of player I believe only Cats fans see the true value of. He just doesn’t panic with the ball and is so good in traffic. He has a very quick first couple steps that allows him to get around  most players in a tight spot, and his commitment to his small defender craft is second to none. 

 

[27] Sam Menegola – 9

Fantastic. Sam Menegola played like he was playing at home… because he was. You would’ve forgiven the Western Australian native for thinking he was in for a dirty night when his first two actions were to give away free kicks, which he then followed that up with missing a simple shot at goal. However, he would eventually tear the Giants to shreds in this match. Working beautifully with Touhy and Smith across the wings Mengola was getting back to support the defence and, as Cats fans know too well, he was more than happy to get forward to try and shark some goals for his efforts. He would finish with two goals and one behind, with two more direct goal assists. He also had five clearances and over 500 metres gained.

 

[3] Brandan Parfitt – 1

Went off in the first quarter without any real impact on the game. Unfortunately, the hamstring injury looked bad and I don’t think there is any chance of him playing any more football this year. It will be interesting to see how the Cats approach replacing Parfitt as he generally acts as the defensive midfielder.

 

[9] Max Holmes – 7

I rated Max Holmes  in this game. Recalled after being dropped for the qualifying final, I think it’s safe to say he won’t be concerned about a repeat dosage this week. 10 contested possessions. 10 disposals, five clearances and eight tackles. Not a bad effort in your first final with Dangerfield and Selwood both having down games next to you.

 

Medi-Sub [39] Zach Guthrie – 3

Was activated early thanks to the injury to Parfitt. Only had the seven disposals, but wasn’t the liability Cats fans tend to believe he is. Four intercept possessions as well. Who knows if he keeps his spot as the medi-sub or not, but I don’t see him being elevated into the 22 next week.

 

GWS(JB)

 

A tough ask with Hogan a late out and Greene having his inexcusable brain fart. I actually like having Davis in the side, Geelong have a lot of firepower up forward, so his experience proved to be useful and allowed Haynes and Whitfield to run off, but the lack of marking ability in the forward line told just how much they missed Hogan.

For much of the game GWS found it so hard to get outside in space that the whole team could be declared an LGA. They almost managed to put a bit of a scare into Geelong, but the Cats had too much experience to be overly worried, icing the game without a lot of hassle in the end. 

 

[42] Jake Stein 3

Only 8 touches for a defender is forgivable, but having only a single tackle is not. Spent most of his time trying to stay in space, but finals footy is an unforgiving beast, and his lack of pressure and physicality meant he spent a fair bit of time ball-watching.

 

 [15] Sam Taylor 6

While he was given the tough job on Tom Hawkins, who tore the game away from GWS, I’ve given Taylor a pass mark because he kept at it all day, and often had to deal with some excellent delivery to Hawkins, while a few times it looked like he was pushed in the numbers. A bit unlucky, but unfortunately that’s the curse of the backman—no time to stage for frees. 

 

[13] Isaac Cumming 6

I’m a big fan of Cumming’s role as a half back playmaker, and he did have some excellent link ups and F50 entries here, but he struggled to get back to cover his man, especially when Dangerfield rested forward on him. It’s a nice taste of finals for the kid, but needs to bring more physicality and be willing to get a bit of bastard into his game. He need look no further than Matt de Boer as an able instructor for such things.

 

[1] Phil Davis 6

Was far from embarrassed as a late in, managing to pick up some excellent intercepts, including several when outnumbered that would have surely resulted in goals. He didn’t do a lot with the few possessions he had though. It looked like Taylor, Haynes and Davis all struggled to coordinate at times, which was also due to the speed that Geelong moved the ball through the middle.

 

[19] Nick Haynes 6

Haynes had a monster tackle early on in the match that looked to set the needed tone, but then reverted to the sort of bruise-free footy that has no place in finals. 

He did manage to break forward for a fantastic goal, and his nine intercept marks were crucial in limiting the Geelong forward thrusts, but all too often his ambition to get into space hurt him on the turnover when he was too far from the drop of the ball and his opponent to impact the contest.

 

[6] Lachie Whitfield 9

Whitfield was GWS’ best on ground for my money. 34 touches and 711 metres gained, with more than a few bursts of run and gun that allowed the Giants to move deep inside 50. He also chipped in with some nice tackles, and constantly joined the forward rush while doubling back quickly if it looked like it may be cut off.

 

 [22] Josh Kelly 8

Kelly started slowly, but managed to find a bit of the ball as the game went on. He only had 25 touches, but his work at the coalface was vital, managing six clearances and seven tackles, as well as pushing forward for a goal in the second quarter.

He had to work in traffic all day, with little cover for the aggression shown by his opponents. May need to get on the protein in the off season, or recruit someone willing to dish out some corkies when he’s getting pushed around at the contest. 

 

[3] Stephen Coniglio 5

 While Coniglio did some great stuff without the ball, he looked very timid with it in his hands for most of the night. GWS needed a lot from him without Greene, and he just couldn’t provide all that was required. It might seem like I’m being harsh on him, but he was a player that GWS needed to star, and instead they got a game from him that was just sort of OK. 

 

[36] Harry Perryman 7

Perryman had a lot to do on the night, but seemed to prefer long blast kicks over effective shorter disposals. Another who spent a lot of time on the outside and looked uncomfortable with the crash and bash style that Geelong brought when they wanted to move the ball forward. 

 

[14] Tim Taranto 7

Taranto was fairly poor in the first half, sticking to a high half-forward position that didn’t do him any favours, especially with the delivery so often high and over his head, and no one able to bring it to ground where he had a chance to scoop it up and use his agility. His move into the midfield was a bit too late, but he did have an impact once he got there. 

 

[27] Harry Himmelberg 6

I know this one will puzzle people (or get them throwing their hands up in indignation), but I thought Himmelberg’s game left a lot to be desired. His 2.1 from eight touches was a decent return from a forward, but all too often he seemed content to just jog in pursuit of a Geelong player running the ball out of the GWS CHF line. He didn’t seem to have the hunger and competitive spirit on the night, which would likely have earned him a bit of a spray from Greene if he were on the field. It may still, I suppose. He does seem a bit of an easy-going lad, but he needs to be able to push people around anyway. 

 

[18] Conor Stone 6

Stone had an identical game to Himmelberg, but kept himself a lot busier. His two goals were made against the flow of play, but again lacked a bit of pressure that is so important in the modern game, and doubly so in finals.

 

[28] Zach Sproule 2

Sproule seemed to be playing hurt all game, then was subbed out in the 4th quarter having managed only four disposals, two marks and a  point. He looked hesitant around the ball, and had a hard time making marking contests into contests. The record has him listed at 94kg, but despite being two metres tall, I think someone had a toe on the scale when they weighed him, because if he was wearing the old white umpire uniform, he’d be indistinguishable from a goal post with a terrible haircut. I want to cut him some slack as it was his first finals appearance, but there’s no consideration for that in finals. It’s about results, and he didn’t get them.

 

[37] Bobby Hill 4

Little Bobby Hill. Such a frustrating player to watch. His sense of play is astounding, as shown when his masterful tap in the square found Stone running forward and resulted in a goal. Then there’s the forward 50 entry that went out on the full by a good ten metres. He did find distance with his kicks, but unfortunately rarely found a teammate in more than two of his six disposals. I’d have marked him lower, but his deft tap and goal of the year contender was worth a couple of points on their own.

 

[24] Matt de Boer 8

Given the job on Dangerfield, de Boer was at his effective and irritating best. He managed to limit Danger’s impact by keeping a close check on him for most of the game, while collecting a few more touches for himself. He didn’t really manage to do the damage they needed from him though, as Dangerfield was likely expecting the attention, and has the speed and size to deal with it.

 

[41] Shane Mumford 8

I saw Mumford doing some great chase work during the match, which almost deserves some extra points on its own. His tapwork was decent, especially once he realised how hard his mids were having it at his feet, so he started putting some distance into his ruck work and punching the ball into space. His late goal kept the GWS hopes alive too, and every one of his eight tackles looked like he meant it. The big lad looked like he wanted to push his side over the line with his own massive frame so desperately, but just didn’t have the support.

 

[2] Jacob Hopper 8

One of the few GWS players to deliver the ball forward to the advantage of his own teammates. Hopper looked slick for most of the night, racking up 27 touches to go with his seven tackles and six clearances. His each-way running was excellent, and he managed to find open long options that launched attacking movements for his team.

 

[8] Callan Ward 7

Ward did some great work in traffic to bring the ball out and set up some disposal chains, and even managed to sneak forward for an excellent goal. He put a bit of pressure on his opposition, but didn’t actually look like he was willing to push that pressure up to levels that would make them uncomfortable. Still, a decent game overall. 

 

[5] Tanner Bruhn 4

Bruhn didn’t do a lot wrong, but he didn’t do a lot of anything really. When there were chances to be taken in order to bring his side back, he always seemed to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time. 

 

[7] Lachie Ash 7

Ash was one of the few Giants willing to do the each-way work necessary to hold his opponent accountable at all times. His work in the transition plays was excellent, and his decision making was well above average. Wasn’t afraid to look for a long option either. 

 

[38] Daniel Lloyd 4

A great snapshot goal was his highlight of the night, but apart from that he did very little. Lloyd needed to convert his other chance to get a pass mark, but with just five possessions a mark and a tackle, he was not a lot of help on the night. Not a liability, but not a big contributor either.

 

[39] Connor Idun 7

Idun had some great plays and several of his intercept marks showed complete commitment to the ball, regardless of the fact he knew he was going to get crunched. It was the sort of commitment that many teammates lacked, and his aggression at the ball was enough to have a few Geelong players wary of taking him on. 

 

Medi-Sub [45] James Peatling 5

The medical sub who came on once the game was largely decided. A little spark still in the match, but not a heck of a lot. Got three handballs and called it a night, but hard to ask more of the lad when he’s only taking his jacket off at the death of the match.

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