Mongrel of the Year – Round 13 Results

Throwing its black hat into the ring alongside the Brownlow, Leigh Matthews Trophy and AFLCA Award as the most prestigious individual award in the game, the Mongrel of the Year award is back bigger than ever with a regular Thursday slot to recognise last week’s heroes. Using the superior 5-4-3-2-1 configuration to recognise the most important and best player each game, the Mongrel will keep a running tally through the year as well tip its aforementioned lid to the stars each round.

 

**ROUND THIRTEEN**

 

Round 13 sees us two-thirds of the way through the bye rounds, and a confusing return to Thursday night footy in the middle of a cold and miserable winter, made even more curious from a scheduling perspective as games were stretched out to Monday with the traditional Queen’s Birthday clash. Again, some sterling performances as Lachie Neale secured the outright lead for the first time this season, his best afield heroics were matched by a star on the rise at Tigerland, Liam Baker, inspirational Blue, Sam Docherty, a re-born Harry Himmelberg, still underrated Pie, Brody Mihocek and Hawk leader Jaeger O’Meara. The ladder continues to tighten up, and with the Demons once again stumbling, there is every likelihood that a single game will separate teams played First to Seventh at the end of round 14.

 

As already revealed Lachie Neale has taken the outright lead of the race to be considered most Mongrel in 2022, however, Cripps and Mills have their chance to close the gap this weekend, elsewhere, Andrew Brayshaw continues to climb the ladder, moving into outright 5th, Hawk star and likely skipper-in-waiting James Sicily moves into the top 10, and AA-candidate Jack Sinclair enters the leader board for the first time in 2022, overtaking consistent team mate Brad Crouch as the leading Saint on 17 votes. The composition of the leader board is heavily midfielder dominated, but perhaps not more so than other major awards, thirteen of the top 21 are genuine midfielders who attend centre bounces regularly, three key forwards in their renaissance year, three general defenders and one each of a winger and mid forward.

 

Richmond vs Port Adelaide

5 – Liam Baker

4 – Dion Prestia

3 – Nick Vlastuin

2 – Daniel Rioli

1 – Robbie Tarrant

 

The tenacious Tiger has been a revelation moving further afield this season and has polled three best on grounds in the past month, rocketing to the top of his clubs list and within touching distance of the overall leader board. He was superb in the Thursday night slog, as the Power unexpectantly fought back in the last quarter it was Baker continually driving the ball forward, a game-high seven I50 alongside his twenty-six disposals, five clearances and capped off with the goal that sealed victory. It seems odd that a player recognised as the Best & Fairest in a premiership year would still not receive the recognition he deserves, but you could make a strong argument that Prestia is one of the most important cogs to Richmond’s chances of success. 25 touches at an exceptional 76% efficiency, 6 clearances and I50 on a tough night for skills had him far more impactful than his Port counterparts and a valuable contributor to a hard-fought victory.

 

Essendon vs Carlton

5 – Sam Docherty

4 – Harry McKay

3 – Lewis Young

2 – Dylan Shiel

1 – Jordan Ridley

 

Not even the most heartless Bomber fans could be upset by their 150-year celebration being hijacked by one of the best feel-good stories in many a year as inspirational former Carlton skipper, Sam Docherty continued his stunning return from cancer to claim best afield honours. Setting the tone early, he controlled the tempo with a game-high thirty-three possessions and 699m gained as he repeatedly progressed his team’s attacks to feed their ravenous forward line, four tackles for good measure showed he wasn’t concerned about how he gained possession just as long as that was the ultimate outcome. After five weeks on the sidelines recovering from knee surgery, reigning Coleman Medallist Harry McKay picked up as though he’d never missed and was a dominating force on a night not necessarily conducive to high marking. Despite that he was an aerial threat at all times, dragging down eight marks, four of which were contested and contributing three majors from four shots on goal, among a game-high eight score involvements.

 

Fremantle vs Hawthorn

5 – Jaeger O’Meara

4 – Andy Brayshaw

3 – Luke Ryan

2 – James Sicily

1 – Caleb Serong

 

Freo continued on their winning ways, adding the Hawks scalp to those collected from the Lions and Demons in recent weeks, but this was not all on their terms and in fact, Hawk veteran O’Meara was adjudged best afield by our expert panel. A debilitating knee injury has probably robbed the Hawk #10 of his career trajectory after winning the rising star in 2013. This was more a workmanlike performance than some of the dazzling highlights for which he is renowned, and alongside his team-high 30 touches, he secured nine clearances, seven tackles including three I50, two direct goal assists and one of his own from distance in the first term to stamp his team’s intentions. Brownlow fancy Brayshaw was prolific once more and worked tirelessly to collect 37 possessions at an elite 84% efficiency, he bookended the game, by scoring the winning goal deep into time on in the last through sheer effort.

 

Brisbane vs St Kilda

5 – Lachie Neale

4 – Hugh McCluggage

3 – Keidean Coleman

2 – Jack Sinclair

1 – Jarrod Berry

 

Brisbane champion Lachie Neale continued on his merry way after breaking the shackles of hard nut Saints, Crouch and Ross after halftime as he claimed ascendency for his side to go on and record a solid victory against a would-be contender. 37 disposals and seven clearances were his final stat line as his odds shorten on joining former teammate, Nat Fyfe as a two-time Brownlow Medallist. The biggest competition to maximum votes for Neale is teammate Hugh McCluggage who has moved from the wing into the midfield with devastating effect and is on track to finally convert an AA-squad position into a blazer after another fine 33-touch game with seven clearances and I50, and a running goal in the final term. Keidean Coleman, always well-considered internally, played his career-best game against the Saints and was a pillar of strength, repelling countless attacks as he claimed nine intercepts and delivered his nineteen disposals at the scarcely believable 95% efficiency.

 

North Melbourne vs GWS

5 – Harry Himmelberg

4 – Stephen Coniglio

3 – Isaac Cumming

2 – Luke Davies-Uniacke

1 – Tom Green

 

It’s not often a player increases their career-best disposals tally by 60%, or their best marks in a game by 80%, but this is the post-Leon Cameron world and Harry Himmelberg formerly a competent third tall forward, has been reinvented as a skilled and prolific key defender. Gerard Healy latched on to this early in the game and almost cheered him on to record numbers as Himmelberg improved his previous best ever game the 2018 Elimination Final that resulted in 23 touches and nine marks, with 37 and 16, from 11 intercepts and capped it with a goal in a role that looks to suit his skill set perfectly. Co-captain Coniglio has refound his best form in 2022, particularly when his team wins, in those games he is averaging over 30 disposals, 10.5 score involvements and 1.5 goals, compared to 20, 5.8 and 0.6 respectively in losses. These are the numbers of a true barometer, stand down Rhys Mathieson, and his 34 disposals, 11 impactful score involvements and 3 goals from five scoring shots could only lead to one result.

 

Collingwood vs Melbourne

5 – Brody Mihocek

4 – Mason Cox

3 – Angus Brayshaw

2 – Clayton Oliver

1 – Nick Daicos

 

Often a player is underrated by the wider football community or opposition fans, not as often by their own team, although this is the situation Mihocek found himself in when despite being his club’s best forward for four years was only on a rookie contract. I’m not sure who his manager is, but I can only assume it’s no longer Dennis Denuto and that the stingy Pies have finally ‘shown him the money’, as he continues to deliver week after week. In a massive Queen’s Birthday showdown, and no doubt aided by a negative reaction to some rich French food by nominal opponent Steven May, Mihocek was unstoppable, pulling down five contested marks from his tally of ten, and kicking four goals straight from his 16 disposals. Arguably the most maligned player in the comp, Mason Cox once again stood up on the big stage, I’m sure that psychological studies would affirm his personality type operates best under optimum stress and stimulation as his three best career games have been blockbusters, the 2018 Preliminary Final, 2020 Elimination Final and this epic in front of 76,000 baying fans. Running through the ruck as an extra midfielder, Cox collected a career-high 21 disposals and an incredible 407m gained, he took three contested marks and his goal on the run in the third term irretrievably shifted momentum to the surging Magpies.

 

ROUND THIRTEEN LEADERBOARD:

 

34 – Lachie Neale (Brisbane)

29 – Patrick Cripps (Carlton)

28 – Callum Mills (Sydney)

27 – Christian Petracca (Melbourne)

26 – Andrew Brayshaw (Fremantle)

25 – Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)

23 – Tom Stewart (Geelong)

23 – Ben Keays (Adelaide)

22 – Jack Crisp (Collingwood)

22 – Will Brodie (Fremantle)

19 – Ed Langdon (Melbourne)

19 – Jeremy Cameron (Geelong)

18 – James Sicily (Hawthorn)

17 – Charlie Curnow (Carlton)

17 – Josh Dunkley (Bulldogs)

17 – Darcy Parish (Essendon)

17 – Touk Miller (Gold Coast)

17 – Jack Sinclair (St Kilda)

16 – Brad Crouch (St Kilda)

16 – Zac Bailey (Brisbane)

16 – Taylor Walker (Adelaide)

 

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