.In each game of the 2023 AFL Finals Series, the Mongrel team rate every player out of ten to compile scores to name the Mongrel Player of the Finals.
Who will join previous winners? Let’s get into it
Qualifying Final 2: Brisbane vs Port Adelaide
 Brandon Starcevich – 8
A very controlled performance from Starcevich. With players like Powell-Pepper and Rioli needing to be quelled, Starcevich matched up on both comfortably when his time came. Starcevich also turned defence into attack.
 Harris Andrews – 7
Real mixed bag for Andrews. He was still a very big presence for Brisbane and read the play and intercepted and impacted on numerous contests. But Port Adelaide put their time into Andrews and his opponent got dangerous and had three goals to his name at halftime to be Port’s only multiple goal kicker and effectively keep them in the game.
 Jack Payne – 6
Was solid, but was really spared in the first half by Todd Marshall’s very uncharacteristic inaccuracy. Payne’s rise to reliable lieutenant for Harris Andrews had his first huge test in this final and you can comfortably say he passed.
 Conor McKenna – 7
Looked to have suffered an ankle injury early but returned to deliver his usual output of run from defence and drive the ball forward as one of the Lions main ball movers. Even when Brisbane was chipping the ball around killing time, McKenna couldn’t help but take ground and keep adding to those meters gained.
 Ryan Lester – 6
Lester had a quiet start to the match but was dour in defence. He found more of the football in the second half and became a real weapon for the Lions.
 Darcy Wilmot – 8
Could’ve gone into his shell when he got rundown in defence early in the game. However, his teammates supported him and reinforced that he was a key piece of their puzzle and he continued to attack the game and performed very bloody well for a teenager.
 Hugh McCluggage – 10
Spent 20 minutes off the ground in the second quarter and ended the first half arguably level with Cam Rayner as the Lions best player! Led the Lions in disposals, clearances, goal assists and contested possessions. His purple patch in the final minutes of the second quarter was the key reason Brisbane regained their ascendancy in the match. The second half was much the same as McCluggage was the standout Brisbane midfielder. Honestly, it looked like he had a magnet with him, as sometimes he would just be wandering through the middle of the field and the ball would just spill to him.
 Josh Dunkley – 7
The Lions recruited Dunkley for this exact type of match. A big final at home with Lachie Neale held to below his usual level of impact. However, they didn’t actually need Dunkley to dominate to compensate as McCluggage decided to turn into a mixture of Bob Skilton and Haydn Bunton Snr. Dunkley played his role well, without being an absolute standout.
 Dayne Zorko – 6
Just the usual from Zorko in this match. He was at his niggly best trying to throw the likes of Butters and Rozee off their game. All the while industriously hunting the football. He does not win as much of it as once did, but he is still a leader for this Brisbane team, as one its most experienced campaigners. A player opposition supporters love to hate.
 Charlie Cameron – 7
Beaten early in a few crucial one-on-ones. Usually when Charlie gets those sort of looks he capitalises. Laid a big tackle on Horne-Francis to set-up the Rayner goal in the second quarter. Really got the team rolling in the third quarter and got some reward late to celebrate his milestone game. Not a huge performance, but still important and telling. Even when it’s not all going his way, he is just too dangerous and skilful to be kept quiet.
 Eric Hipwood – 8
Was a very big presence in this match. Let himself down with his shots at goal, but his ability to contest the ball in the air, and bring it down in this game were crucial to the Lions ball movement. Formed a great duo with Joe Daniher. Who said these two talls can’t take a team to a Grand FInal? That statement ages more poorly every week.
 Callum Ah Chee – 7
Jeez, what a great first half, high flying and attacking the footy. Ah Chee played his role well and provided good pressure as well. A solid outing.
 Cam Rayner – 9
Three massive goals in the first half. copped a corky for his troubles and was rested by the Lions late in the game. Rayner looks ready to tear this finals series apart. Just his strength through his hips and his balance, mixed with his skill and ability to launch at the football. If he puts in another couple performances like this, the Lions will be hard to beat.
 Joe Daniher – 10
Had his moments in the first half. He started hot and looked to be a difference maker, but was then a bit quieter in the second term. But you get that when you’re playing on a quality defender like Aliir. Really broke the game open in the third quarter where Aliir still kept him to three disposals, but all three were goals. Finished with five (his best haul in a final).
 Zac Bailey – 7
Just looks made for finals. How good was that first goal and then the similar set up later on? Not quite at the same level as Rayner but if he sparks, his impact will be massive. He was involved in some important chains in this game.
 Oscar McInerney – 9
Got the points against Lycett. Fought hard in a bitter ruck duel between two experienced warriors. Won some great clearances and responded every time he was challenged. Should comfortably win the hitouts-to-advantage statistic and probably should’ve by more if his teammates had been a bit cleaner. Supported his defence well and even went forward, although he got robbed of one his prime opportunities to score.
 Lachie Neale – 6
Very quiet in the first quarter. Only 1 disposal. Got busier in the second. The key thing to remember is Brisbane have specifically recruited and trained so that their finals prospects no longer live and die by the form of Lachie Neale. Drew did his job well. Neale still had his moments and finished with a bit of the ball.
 Jarrod Berry – 6
Another Lion who played his role well and took his chances when they presented without being spectacular. So many great teams are filled with these players. Players like Berry who can be counted on to play their role.
 Deven Robertson – 4
A very quiet game for Robertson as he struggled to make an impact before being subbed out in the last quarter. His second quarter should give the Lions confidence that he has what it takes to perform across a whole game as he did get involved when the game was at its hottest.
 Lincoln McCarthy – 8
Great forward pressure from McCarthy. Capitalised on his chances and got his reward late, but his main value is in his pressure. Just fantastic. The Power defenders were always under pressure. McCarthy’s crumb and block for Cameron late in the third quarter was also very bloody good.
 Keidean Coleman – 8
Just another Lion delivering for his team. Colemans dash out of defence was critical for their ball movement. Coleman was consistently able to win one-on-ones and win the ball back for the Lions. The key here is he gets the ball moving quickly and far which was great at putting the Power defenders out of position and not allowing their midfield to support them.
 Jaspa Fletcher – 9
Just involved in everything up forward in the first half, including a great mark and goal. Hard to believe he was playing in his first final in his first year of senior football as he looked one of the most at ease players on the ground as he attacked the footy without any fear or hesitation. He effectively ended the contest with his intercept in the final 90 seconds of the third quarter which led to a Hipwood goal, followed by a Daniher one. Not only having the ability, but the confidence to read the play and leave his man and attack the ball and turn defence into attack.
Sub –  Jarryd Lyons – 3
Only got about 10-15 minutes of game time to do anything and he actually made a pretty good fist of it. Kicked a goal and unlucky not to get another. Should be feeling good about his prospects and did himself no harm once he got his chance.
Port Adelaide (Jimmy D)
 Trent McKenzie – 1
It seems harsh to give this score to an injured player, but he got injured mid-way through the third term, and I wouldn’t have known he was playing were it not for that injury. Couldn’t find the ball, and lacked impact.
 Aliir Aliir – 3
Had his moments playing on either Daniher or Hipwood, and then zoning off at times. He was the leading interceptor for the Power, but was caught out of position on numerous occasions, and was fumbly. Was solid, but not spectacular in the first half and was a victim of defensive teammates getting injured in the second. Joe got off the chain, and Aliir couldn’t really influence much of the play.
 Lachie Jones – 2
Similar to other defenders for the Power, Jones just couldn’t get into the game. He isn’t afraid to crash a pack, but his judgment was a little off tonight. On numerous occasions he spoiled when he should/could have marked, and was out of position at key moments. Won’t want to watch the tape back on this one.
 Ryan Burton – 7
Didn’t win a lot of the ball, but when you keep Charlie Cameron goalless, with only two disposals to half-time, you’re doing your job. Cameron got off the chain more in the second-half as the Lions ran away with it, but Burton persisted well and kept his body work going. Running in this role, he couldn’t use his foot skills as he normally would to help the Power rebound.
 Miles Bergman – 4
Has had a great season, but not a good final. He will want to move on from this quickly. Did the things he normally does – compete in the air and try to spread and run and carry. He just couldn’t get into the game for long enough.
 Dan Houston – 6.5
Tried all night, and was important in the moments when Port were able to move the ball freely. Spent time in multiple positions, and was sent behind the ball to cover injuries late. Competed well, but lacked his overall impact – mostly, I think, given he lacked penetration and the ability to take territory with his disposals.
 Kane Farrell – 4
Like many of his teammates, tonight wasn’t his night. One of the things he does well is be on the end of handball receives, and kick through or over defensive structures. When he is doing this, the Power’s ball movement is great. We didn’t really see much of this tonight as the Lions wingmen had a night out.
 Willem Drew – 8
Did a phenomenal job on Lachie Neale. While he had a run with role, he also was prepared to put his head over the ball, win his own footy, and get the ball moving the Power’s way.
 Xavier Duursma – 2
Duursma runs all day, but the criticism he faces is his disposal. Found space at contests, but often dump kicked to no-one or to the disadvantage of his teammates. As the pressure rose, he wasn’t super clean and did look panicked. His night was summed up by basically being run down by Eric Hipwood in the last quarter.
 Jed McEntee – 2
Looked completely overawed by the occasion. Sprayed the first shot at goal within the first minute of the match, and then couldn’t get into the game. Was fumbly, and gave his opponent too much leeway to run at times.
 Willie Rioli – 5.5
Put on plenty of defensive pressure, and did his part to try and lock the ball in the Power F50, but didn’t have much help in that regard. Kicked the first goal after half-time which may have spurred his team on another night, but that was all he could muster in terms of hitting the scoreboard. Had moments, and did what he could with limited opportunity.
 Sam Powell-Pepper – 4
19 disposals and 2 goals seems like a good day in the office, regardless of the result. His two goals came towards the end of the final term when the game was over. He had his moments, was in good spots, and did all the things he usually does. Except tackle. One tackle for the game sort of speaks to the lack of accountability the Power forwards had for their opponents, who were important for the Lions.
 Jeremy Finlayson – 2
On a night when the Power needed to kick a big score to win, they needed Finlayson to stand up, as he has throughout the season. Alas, he barely mustered a shot tonight, blanketed by Jack Payne and others throughout the night.
 Ollie Lord – 8
Led the Power forwards in his first final. While some of his more esteemed teammates had the yips and were shaky in front of goal, Lord was accurate, crashed packs, and, most importantly, kept Harris Andrews accountable and didn’t allow him to zone off. His first two goals were brilliant, showing great skill and composure at ground level, belying his height. His confidence in his contested marking grew through the game as well.
 Todd Marshall – 6
Had the yips. Could have had a huge first quarter and set the game up for the Power, however, the usually reliable sharpshooter had his radar all over the place for much of the night. He competed well, found space, and had plenty of opportunities to score. Finished with 2.1, with others that went out on the full or didn’t make the distance.
 Scott Lycett – 8
Clearly the dominant ruckman on the ground. While he started slow, Lycett used his strength to his advantage in many ruck contests, and limited the impact of Oscar McInerney. While he missed an easy set shot to help generate momentum for the Power, he was still giving his midfielders first use regularly, and was prepared to tackle and do all the tough stuff.
 Zak Butters – 7
Won plenty of the ball, but seemed to be lacking some of his usual zip and spark. He was collected by Dayne Zorko in the first quarter, and then seemed intent on just hurting opponents physically rather than hurting them with the ball. Had his moments, but wasn’t his brutal and brilliant best.
 Connor Rozee – 8.5
One of the Power’s best. He was causing headaches for the Lions with his ability to break the lines, break from stoppage, and set up scores. His highlight was a long-range goal to emphasise his potency by foot and why teams shouldn’t give him the space they often do.
 Ollie Wines – 3
On a night when the Power were jittery early, you look to your leaders to stand up and set the tone. Now, I’m a big Ollie Wines fan, but tonight he was overshadowed by most of the other midfielders on the ground. He was one of the more ineffective players on the ground.
 Jason Horne-Francis – 3
The Hornet had moments where he threatened to break the game open, but was caught with the ball nearly every time. He does use the ball reasonably well and is unafraid to take on a risky pass to open up the game. His main issue, which was evident again tonight, is his ability to stay present for the whole game, rather than simply just patches.
 Dylan Williams – 2
Exited the game in the third term with a hamstring issue, and hadn’t done much for the game. It was clear that his presence was important to the basic defensive structure for the Power, for when he left the ground, the Brisbane smalls took over. Will be hard to cover next week.
 Darcy Byrne-Jones – 3
Kicked a good goal and looked likely early, as he was in the right positions at the fall of the ball. Lacked defensive pressure and overall impact before being subbed out in the third term.
Sub –  Travis Boak – 2
Probably a generous mark. Didn’t have much opportunity to get into the game and make an impact.