In each game of the finals. Mongrel writers rate every player out of ten as we search for the 2023 Mongrel Player of the Finals.
In this one, Jimmy Day and The Slugger look at the Giants and the Power.
Semi Final 2: Port Adelaide vs GWS Giants
Port Adelaide (Jimmy D)
 Lachie Jones – 2
Needs a big pre-season. He was fumbly, and caught out of position on numerous occasions. It looks like he doesn’t back himself and can sometimes get lost on-field. He has speed and toughness, but doesn’t get enough opportunities to show that. Was beaten soundly on the night.
 Aliir Aliir – 4
This is probably a generous score, but he does always compete and brings the ball to ground. Spent time on Riccardi, who did a great job engaging Aliir to give clear air to his other forwards. Aliir needs support, but also needs to be more assertive in the air at times. He can hang back at times when he has the chance to kill the ball.
 Dan Houston – 8
Played a great game across half-back, especially in light of how much time the ball spent in the Power’s defensive half. Ran hard and did his best to try and set up the game for the Power, but didn’t have enough support from his teammates.
 Miles Bergman – 7
Toby Greene got hold of Bergman early, but the Power defender did a great job in the second half. He locked down on Greene, and didn’t give him any space. The detriment was that it mitigated the run, carry, and elite distribution that Bergman possesses. Has had a fantastic season and will look to build on it in 2024.
 Trent McKenzie – 3
Came into the game banged up, and spent extended periods on Jesse Hogan. He set up a few plays by foot, but was clearly hampered in his attack at the ball and the contest. Just couldn’t really have a sustained impact.
 Ryan Burton – 3
This is probably a really harsh score, but there was just no impact. He finished with 16 disposals – honestly, I thought he had five or six touches. He just couldn’t get into the game and, like other defenders, was overwhelmed at the amount of ball heading into the Giants F50 and the lack of pressure on the ball carrier.
 Zak Butters – 4
Has become the main man for his team, and when they needed a spark, he couldn’t deliver. He upped his output in the third term, however half his disposals were turnovers. He looked panicked, and lacked composure when he had space. He’s had a great year, but couldn’t lift his side off the canvas tonight. (this score also reflects the expectation Butters has built for himself). He also did himself few favours given his interaction with a Giants trainer.
 Willem Drew – 8
Battled hard all night against the Giants midfield. Was combative, determined, and tried to get as involved as possible. He adds that defensive/run with edge for the Power midfield, but was a lone hand (outside of Travis Boak) tonight, in having any form of impact on the game.
 Travis Boak – 8
Rumours were swirling in the lead up that the Power stalwart had been told he wasn’t going to be offered another contract. The way he played tonight, you’d think Port would be mad to not offer him another contract. In the first-half, it was he and Rioli who showed up. Boak showed his poise, his class, and, the thing often overlooked by non-Power fans, his competitive and physical presence. As the Power started to gain back some control and momentum, Boak was able to use his running power and game nous more to help generate scores.
 Willie Rioli – 7.5
Lead the line for the Power, however, his influence diminished across the game. Was on early, and at his combative best for much of the game. He hit the scoreboard, laid tackles, and found space to get involved. He just didn’t get enough opportunity to capitalise on the momentum he created early.
 Todd Marshall – 4
Had clean hands and was competitive at times. He just was outmatched by the Giants defenders. Looked more composed than last week, but still struggled to really take control of the forward 50 and bring his mates into the game.
 Jed McEntee – 2.5
Relatively non-existent. You could have been mistaken for thinking he wasn’t playing, given he was barely sighted and had no impact on the game. Almost raised his score after his great contested grab in the last, but then butchered the entry and cost his side a shot at goal. I originally gave him a one and then looked at his stats – primarily the tackle numbers. He brought the heat, but still had very limited impact.
 Darcy Byrne-Jones – 2
Couldn’t get near it. Some of that isn’t much of his fault, but just couldn’t get into the game. They could have used his run through the middle or behind the ball to generate some momentum. He has done well to reinvent himself up forward in 2023, tonight is one to not dwell on too much personally.
 Charlie Dixon – 2
Other than his contested mark and goal to open the final term, Charlie was relatively unsighted. He was given a bath by Sam Taylor, and struggled to have an impact against Kieren Briggs when in the ruck. He was also very undisciplined.
 Sam Powell-Pepper – 2
Lacked the impact and spark we come to associate with how SPP plays the game. Was inaccurate in front of goal, and lacked discipline. His limited output was partly the way in which the momentum of the game played out, but also just not quite being on for much of the night.
 Scott Lycett – 1
For a player of his experience, this was a pretty woeful night for Lycett. Was outbodied, out worked, and generally just outplayed. Looks disinterested in his football at the moment, so it’ll be interesting to see what 2024 brings for him.
 Ollie Wines – 4
Has looked like a shell of his Brownlow winning self for a long time now, especially since his heart issues. He couldn’t lead the line, couldn’t get involved, and just generally looked slow and fumbly. He still provides a presence at stoppages, but he needs to find some ways to get more involved for longer.
 Connor Rozee – 4
Threatened a few times to split packs and the game, but, realistically, couldn’t do much to shape the game. He lacked some of his usual run and precision, but did compete.
 Xavier Duursma – 1
That’s two finals in a row when Duursma has been outplayed on a wing. He was rarely able to get into space and have an impact, and was hurt by his opponent repeatedly. Didn’t show his best side for potential suitors during this finals campaign.
 Ollie Lord – 2
Couldn’t recreate his Qualifying Final heroics. Kicked a big goal under pressure when Port started to press, and also blew a chance to really put pressure on the Giants. May have struggled with all of Dixon, Marshall, and Finlayson (sub) featuring up forward at times, as he wasn’t the main man. However, he has shown some great progress during the finals to suggest he will be a player.
 Jason Horne-Francis – 6.5
Found space and was one of the few Power players that seemingly turned up for the contest. Was his usual combative self, sought to move the ball forward whenever he had it, and continued his development. Give him another preseason and watch as he continues to develop, and maintain some more composure. He had options at times, but dump kicked a little too much. Has shown he can be clutch in front of goal.
 Kane Farrell – 4
We didn’t see the best of Farrell tonight. He is a crucial cog in the Power’s ball movement, and ability to slingshot from defence to attack. Tonight, he was hurried, and didn’t get as much space as he would prefer. Still was serviceable, but his output was down.
[SUB – 11] Jeremy Finlayson – 1
Played a quarter and a half and really didn’t have any impact or influence on the game. It’s almost harsh to give him any rating.
GWS Giants (Slugger)
 Jack Buckley – 9
Defensive double-double for Buckley who stood like a brick wall against Port Adelaide’s attacking forays. It’s no surprise the Power’s key forwards struggled when Taylor is simply who he is and Buckley plays a mammoth defensive game.
 Sam Taylor – 7
A quieter game from Taylor in this one. But still solid. He impacted contests and held his opponents well for most of the game. Still, two finals in a row where he hasn’t been asked to be everything for this Giants defence is handy. Other players standing up around him is crucial if GWS is going to trouble Collingwood next week.
 Connor Idun – 6
Idun probably did just enough in this game. Offered some run and decent ball use, but no tackles and not a lot of scoreboard impact in terms of connecting play.
 Lachie Ash – 7
Did what he needed to do. Had some crucial moments where he stood tall in defence to support the likes of Buckley and Taylor.
 Harry Himmelberg – 8
Great dash out of defence from Himmelberg all game. Gave the Giants a real launchpad and attacked the Port zone.
 Lachie Whitfield – 9
The attacking halfback for GWS drove knife after knife into the side of Port fans as he rebounded the ball from defence and pushed the Giants forward. Whitfield was also effective in winning the ball back directly off the Power. Which ratcheted up the effectiveness of his quick attack. Particularly when the Giants were able to link up and through the middle or change the angle on a quick play.
 Finn Callaghan – 5
With so many others monstering the Port Adelaide midfield and harvesting the football, there wasn’t much left for Callaghan. He did rack up mid teens in disposals but wasn’t a standout in this game.
 Tom Green – 10
Tom Green is a monster. Our dear leader at the Mongrel, HB has been hot on Green longer than anyone else. And again it was rammed down the competition’s throats that this guy is the perfect stoppage player. Green is damn near unstoppable, untackleable and unbreakable as he barges through players for or with the ball. If breaking tackles, or simply standing up in them, was a stat he would be number one. He’s just so clean in any contested situation and has the calm head to find a teammate, even halfway down to the ground being dumped.
 Josh Kelly – 8
Really liked Kelly’s run and dash in this match. Kicked an important goal (they’re all important). When you look back at the match, the type of player Kelly is, really was the difference between the sides. Or maybe it’s just the left foot?
 Toby Bedford – 7
Solid enough game from Bedford. His speed is definitely a weapon. Put on some good pressure when the ball came out of GWS’s forward line. A couple of clearances and inside 50’s with his goal assist. His hard running is just so effective.
 Jake Riccardi – 6
Held well by Aliir, but that was Ports plan to try and get Aliir on to a key forward that wasn’t Hogan so he could support and intercept. Looking at the totality of the forward line performance, he played a role in a successful unit. Gets a bump for the absolute ice cold set shot in the last quarter.
 Brent Daniels – 7
Industrious as ever, but just didn’t quite take his chances. He did form an important cog in the Giants attack. More than half his disposals involved in scoring chains. Add in a few clearances and inside 50’s and Daniels was an important player (particularly in the first half).
 Daniel Lloyd – 6
Lloyd did his best work assisting others. Limited disposals but plenty of impact. He also applied good defensive pressure, which was key in stifling the Powers’ ball movement, particularly in the second half.
 Jesse Hogan – 10
So this is why he went pick two? To say Hogan was huge is an understatement. Why are Port trying to recruit every key defender in the market? This game played by Hogan is exactly why. He made McKenzie look very small. Hogan clunked a few early and hit the scoreboard and after that McKenzie was too worried about him and transgressed multiple times and gifted him more opportunities. The only knock on Hogan is that he could’ve had a huge game with six or seven goals and had this mongrel petitioning for a 12 vote game.
 Toby Greene – 9
Just inspirational. From the first contest of the game Greene was in everything. Kicked his team’s first two goals. Was important all night in linking the Giants forward play. Just oozes class and it showed with his ability to finish off the game for GWS.
 Kieren Briggs – 9
Can’t ask much more from a ruckman. Monstered all of Port’s options in the ruck battle and got involved at ground level with plenty of clearances and was happy to throw his body around. Hoping it’s nothing serious with the left shoulder that saw him hampered late in the game and he is fine for next Friday night.
 Callan Ward – 8
A warriors game from Ward. Doing it all over the ground. Stoppages, open play, down back or up forward. Ward only knows one way and that’s winning the football.
 Stephen Coniglio – 10
What a return from Coniglio! 30 disposals, two goals and eight clearances. Just wow. Almost 500 metres gained as well. Coniglio returned to this Giants team and exploded all over Adelaide oval.
 Isaac Cumming – 6
A quieter game from Cumming but he still stepped up when his moment came. Was solid enough in defence. A game high eight tackles shows just how desperate he was to ensure the Power didn’t get past him.
 Harry Perryman – 6
Got beaten and caught out a few times. In a game the Giants largely held sway Perryman sometimes looked like a chink in the armour. No doubt Collingwood will be looking at that.
 Lachlan Keeffe – 4
One of very few Giants who didn’t have a great night. He still did some good things. Clunked a couple marks and competed well in the ruck.
 Callum M. Brown – 7
Just dangerous when the ball gets in his hands. Brown is enigmatic and sometimes does silly things, but he also does some great things. He takes risks with the ball which you can look at in two ways. Like in the second quarter when he switched the ball into the middle to a contest. He backed the Giants extra number in and it resulted in a goal, but he risked the turnover. With the margin under three goals at the time it was a massive gamble, but that’s the sort of gamble the Giants take.
[SUB] Xavier O’Halloran – 1
Got very little opportunity and made little impact. Who knows how the GWS coach uses this performance when selecting the team for next friday night.