The numbers are in. Matt Oman and Jimmy Day knuckle down and rate every player in the nailbiting Prelim between the Pies and Giants.
Collingwood (Jimmy Day)
 Nathan Murphy – 5
Murphy polarises many, so, I guess, the fact he didn’t stand out says that he was solid. Read the play well, and had some good moments. But, also had some dicey moments where he was caught or put his teammates under pressure.
 Darcy Moore – 5.5
Not the intercepting game we associate with the Pies skipper, but solid nonetheless. Benefitted from the Giants’ ball use for much of the game, but did appear to lack composure at times – caught out of position a few times. That said, was also the deepest defender when the Pies could set up their zone, forcing the Giants to adjust their offensive entry points.
 Isaac Quaynor – 7
Is resolute in defence. He can go with players when the ball is in the air, and when it’s on the ground. Was again solid, a defensive rock at times. Quaynor did what he needed to do and reminded everyone why he was in All-Australian calculations. Led his side for intercept possessions and cutting off the Giants offence.
 Brayden Maynard – 8
Had a great battle with Toby Greene, and probably took the points. Went at 100% disposal efficiency and was up for the contest from the first bounce. Gave Greene too much latitude at times, but was able to offensively capitalise when the Pies got the ball. A solid game from Bruz.
 Scott Pendlebury – 7
Mr Dependable was uncharacteristically fumbly at some key moments, but was still able to impact the game. He made good decisions, and remains one of the GOAT’s when it comes to the release handball that turns defence into offence, clearing the contest and putting a teammate in space.
 Jeremy Howe – 8
Had a game high 10 marks. While it wasn’t his usual intercepting game, he became a key link man for the Pies as they moved the ball across and down the field. Was able to find himself in good positions and used the ball exceptionally well.
 Steele Sidebottom – 6
For someone with the experience Steele has, this wasn’t his greatest outing. He was fumbly, and his decision making was a little off. He still had a positive influence – a testament to his work rate and ability to be in the right places, but didn’t set the place on fire, so to speak.
 Jordan De Goey – 9.5
Say what you will about JDG and things that have happened off-field, the man knows how to play football. He tore the Giants mids apart at times, coming out the front of stoppages far too easily (especially in centre bounces). He brushed opponents aside, and was defensively astute, as well. It almost backfired late with him off the field for so long. It seemed the Giants couldn’t go with him, so it’ll be interesting to see how he is handled next week. If he’s flying, the Pies usually are as well.
 Josh Daicos – 5
Ran hard all night, but didn’t have his usual influence or impact. He had moments where he threatened to do something special, but was curtailed by the Giants wings. Had some important touches in getting the Pies back into the game through his ability to spread well, but they were few and far between.
 Bobby Hill – 3
This feels harsh, but it was an “almost” game for Bobby. He got into space a few times, but was corralled. And a few little knock ons didn’t quite pay off. He’s a genuine X-factor, and while he was significantly down on his 2023 outfit, I’m sure he has something up his sleeve for next week. He seemed more intent to get in the faces of his former teammates than actually play the game for much of the game.
 Brody Mihocek – 4
Had a few moments during the game where he took some clutch contested marks. Aside from that, struggled to make a big impact. He competed, and at least was able to bring the ball to ground more often than not. It’s a win for the Pies that they got the job done with Mihocek having a quiet night.
 Patrick Lipinski – 2.5
Really struggled to get involved. He turned the ball over, got into awkward positions, and couldn’t really break the lines. He’s highly-rated and valued at the Pies, however, tonight was not at all a good showcase for what Lipinski offers as a footballer.
 Jamie Elliott – 5
Threatened to take Mark of the Year a few times, and did typical Jamie Elliott things, just not enough of them. The Pies forwards were outplayed, mostly, by the Giants defenders. It was about taking the moments and Elliott did that when he had the chance. Another the Pies will hope stands up next week.
 Daniel McStay – 6
The ex-Lions big man threatened early to take the game away from the Giants. Was on top of Sam Taylor early – who fought his way back into the game – and was then subbed out with a suspected knee issue. Clunked some big grabs and kicked goals at crucial times. 2.1 from 4 kicks.
 Will Hoskin-Elliott – 3
Couldn’t get into the game in any way or have any level of influence in the game. Looked panicked and wasn’t often in a good position for release kicks. If it was early in the season, he would probably get a rest next week. Needs to find ways to get more involved in games for longer.
 Mason Cox – 5
Was very physical in the ruck, and had an impact there. Around the ground, he got hands to a few balls, but didn’t quite reach the heights of his 2019 Prelim theatrics. His mark on the lead, outbodying Sam Taylor, and then goal helped immediately restore momentum and the Pies lead in the final term. Mason might be maligned, but he knows how to come up clutch.
 Beau McCreery – 4
I’m a big fan of McCreery and what he brings to the table. Had limited opportunities to make an impact. Threatened, on a few occasions, to do something to lift the crowd, but didn’t quite deliver on the night. Is imperative to the way the Pies play and we saw that tonight in his pressure and getting in the face of ball carriers.
 Jack Crisp – 8
Still flies under the radar. His ability to extract the ball in contested situations and then dispose of it in a way that benefits his side, is in the top handful of players in the competition. His two-way running adds an additional layer that enables him to be relevant deep into games and to get into good positions. Had another fantastic game, and final. One of those who shapes the fortunes of his side.
 Tom Mitchell – 9
Was solid all night, and then lifted a level in the final term. With the game on the line, Mitchell was excellent in the clinches and was a big reason for the Pies continued dominance around the ball. While JDG was the flash, Mitchell was the grunt (with a whopping 10 tackles), forcing the ball to the outside and giving the Pies some run. He was fantastic and a big reason for the field position advantage the Pies had.
 Darcy Cameron – 9
His bodywork at stoppages was very good. And his positioning around the ground, just bringing an extra body to the contest helped his side to impact the Giants ball movement. He looms as a key figure next week.
 Nick Daicos – 5
Found the footy throughout the night, but lacked the usual zip, composure, and execution we come to expect of him. Sure, he’s missed a few weeks and it’s his first game back after injury, but he wasn’t himself. He missed some kicks he normally would hit, was caught a few times, and was very clumsy with some of his tackling – was probably lucky to not KO one of his opponents and risk not playing next week.
 Oleg Markov – 2
Chosen over John Noble, and tonight is one to forget for Markov. We saw none of his trademark dash, and didn’t see much else. He really struggled to get into the game and mostly became just an extra body in different team structures. Will be unlucky to be dropped from a winning side, but also may not have done enough to keep Noble out – also not outside the realms of possibility.
[Sub – 33] Jack Ginnivan – 1.5
It’s probably harsh to score GInnivan given he played one quarter, but he’s experienced enough to have an impact. Had 7 disposals in the final term, and kicked a behind to open the final term, but didn’t have much influence, beyond that.
GWS Giants (Matt Oman)
 Jack Buckley – 9
The stronger of the two key defenders, Buckley seemingly gets better every week. Kept Brody Mihocek quiet, and came off his man to influence the ball coming in, regularly providing his teammates with a chop out. Six marks from 16 disposals, can you really ask for much more from your big man in defence?
 Sam Taylor – 7
Kept Daniel McStay relatively quiet after his hot start, but he had a surprising amount of marks taken on him tonight. His combination with his fellow defenders proved effective, but one-on-one, I expected just a little more. Maybe I’m being harsh, but I feel like he has now earned the reputation that tonight’s criticism brings.
 Connor Idun – 8
Without a doubt, that was the best game of Connor Idun’s career. With the game hanging in the balance in the last quarter, Idun was clearly the most influential player on the ground, and time and time again he cut off Collingwood forward entries and got his team going on the counterattack.
 Lachie Ash – 6
Typically consistent game from one of the Giants lesser known names, but his excellence was more in combination with his other five defenders. Gathered 22 disposals, seven marks, and 432 metres gained, and can’t fault his effort all night.
 Harry Himmelberg – 6
Only three Giants registered more metres gained than Himmelberg, and as the third tall defender, he did his job. It shouldn’t be that simple, and certainly there were players ahead of him in terms of influence on the game, but for what his team needed, and when, he was quite good.
 Lachie Whitfield – 6
Only a six rating from a 26 disposal game? Yeah, maybe I’m grading a little harshly, but I just felt that there were others in orange that were more eye-catching and influential. Sure, his ball use off half back and the wings was exquisite, but it seemed watching on that the gaps were too large between his beautiful best and his non-existent worst.
 Finn Callaghan – 6
Had his moments in the midfield, and showed glimpses of future consistent brilliance, but he wasn’t damaging enough when the game was in the balance. Gathered 21 disposals, but only four of those were by foot, and he only registered 164 metres gained.
 Tom Green – 8
An absolute beast in the middle, for a while it was a two-horse race between Green and De Goey for BOG honours. As Kelly rose in the second half, Green didn’t need to do as much in the final hour of the game, but he was still in the thick of it all night, and those hands! Lethal ball use by hand, arguably the best in the competition.
 Josh Kelly – 9
Simply beautiful. When you want to describe the perfect footballer to admire from a distance, you immediately go to Kelly. As smooth as silk, Kelly was outstanding with his run and ball use. 33 disposals, 607 metres gained, and plenty of brilliance by foot, Kelly was the outside to Tom Green’s inside, and both were almost as influential as the other. I’ll mention it here, but the only knock on Kelly and Green’s games were their efficiency, with both going at under 55%.
 Toby Bedford – 4
Scored a team high (equal with Taylor and Perryman) six tackles, and was good as a defensive forward, but I often feel like you still need to have an actual impact with your own hands, and Bedford simply didn’t do that. Only touched the ball eight times, and just two of those were by foot.
 Jake Riccardi – 3
Was maybe a little hampered from a hamstring injury in the first half, but I think the occasion got to Riccardi a little bit. Still provided his team with a target, but with Hogan working his way up the ground, Riccardi needed to do more closer to goal. Was beaten by Murphy, and only kicked one goal from six disposals.
 Brent Daniels – 7
Granted, I haven’t seen enough Giants games as I’d like to this season, but I can’t remember Daniels playing better than he did tonight. Played his typical small forward role wonderfully, and drifted further up the ground to get involved in the play. For one of the Giants’ lesser known, but important on-field figures, Daniels gets a big tick.
 Daniel Lloyd – 6
In what was ultimately Lloyd’s final game, there was nothing we hadn’t seen before. That’s not a criticism, it simply shows how consistent a performer Lloyd has been, and how selfless a team player he is. Was rewarded with a goal after a Sidebottom 50 metre penalty, and did his job in the forward line all night.
 Jesse Hogan – 8
The stats won’t show it, but Hogan was magnificent. It was all about workrate with Jesse, and he played a true workmanlike centre half forward role. Pushing up the ground, taking strong contested marks on the wings, and willing the ball forward, Hogan and his coaches should be very proud of his efforts.
 Toby Greene – 6
It was an “almost” game for Greene tonight. He almost got his team over the line. He almost had the influence that we’re used to. He almost won the battle with Maynard. The stats will show that he was GWS’s only multiple goal scorer for the evening, and he registered 380 metres gained from 17 disposals, but we’re used to so much more, and it just wasn’t there enough.
 Kieren Briggs – 4
Four might be an unfair grade given Briggs was so clearly hampered by last week’s shoulder injury, but we need to be honest. Briggs was well beaten by the Cameron/Cox double team, and he didn’t have the same vicious punch that we’re used to seeing. Still proved all year that he’s Shane Mumford’s heir, it just didn’t happen for him tonight.
 Callan Ward – 4
Well, all we can say is that others were worse, and Ward was fine. But no more than that. Almost tempted to give him a pass mark because his attack on the ball could never be questioned, but he was being lauded all week about being one of GWS’s most important players, and tonight’s performance was disappointing given those benchmarks.
 Stephen Coniglio – 7
Combined well with Kelly and Green, and did well with his 25 touches, but I counted four midfielders that had more of an influence. Certainly led from the front, as you would expect from the former skipper. Did like that he was able to get free and use his 18 uncontested possessions effectively.
 Isaac Cumming – 5
Typical Cumming game from the back half/wing. Perhaps didn’t have his usual influence, and has played more than a few better games, but this was perhaps the quintessential “pass mark” game for me. 14 disposals, five intercept possessions, 270 metres gained, but only 57% disposal efficiency, Cumming wasn’t the best, but was far from the worst.
 Harry Perryman – 6
424 metres gained from 14 disposals, Perryman patrolled the wings and half back well and never looked out of place. Could’ve been slightly more damaging with his disposals, and made a few critical errors that he won’t want to see back on the review, but he still contributed when his team needed him.
 Lachlan Keeffe – 2
With Riccardi hampered and Hogan up the ground, GWS needed a big game from their journeyman, and it simply wasn’t there. Keeffe just had no influence on the game, and was even detrimental on a few occasions. I don’t like saying this, but maybe it’s time to call it a day.
 Callum M. Brown – 5
The Irishman had his moments, but there could’ve been so much more. Harsh to say, but there were at least two contests that Brown pulled out of, and you can’t do that at this level, let alone in a cutthroat final. Tried his heart out, but it looked like he wanted the ball to come to him more than going to get it himself.
[Sub – 33] Xavier O’Halloran – N/A
Not going to give a rating to someone that really only spent 15 minutes on the ground. His tackle on Will Hoskin-Elliott would’ve been lauded had the Giants won the game, but you can’t put much more of a stamp on the contest when you don’t see any of it.