As something novel, I thought I’d try something completely subjective and earn the ire of every second supporter that reads our page. That’s a good way to endear yourself to readers, huh?
What could go wrong?
So on this Tuesday morning, after a loooong weekend of footy, and another long weekend just a couple of days away, why not rate the best performances of the round? It’ll be subjective, and with a day or so of space to work in, may even differ from my gut reactions from a few days ago, but I don’t think you’ll be able to say that the performances contained in here aren’t deserving of praise.
I’ve tried to keep it as varied as possible, but two of my favourite performances came from one team this week. I may have missed your favourite performance, I may have overrated or underrated one, as well. I’m open to discuss it, as always.
Here we go – the best ten players of Round Five.
10 - Tim Membrey (St Kilda)
When the game was there to be won, Tim Membrey put his hand up for the Saints. There are quite a few with better numbers on the weekend, but a four goal return, with four contested marks, and setting up the Saints for another very solid win… it’s hard to look past his influence.
Membrey can be very hit and miss, and there have been times I have been critical of him for going missing for periods a little too long, but he did what was required against the Dees, and was a big reason the Saints now reside toward the top end of the ladder.
9 - Dion Prestia (Richmond)
There’s this illusion that the Richmond midfield revolves around Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin, but this fella is the true barometer as to how they’re travelling, for mine.
Prestia gathered a season-high 32 touches, had 15 contested disposals, 10 score involvements, three direct goal assists, eight clearances and 10 inside 50s in his best game of the season to power the Tigers over the top of the slumping Swans.
8 - Adam Treloar (Collingwood)
It seems so long ago now, but Treloar was at his running best on Thursday evening, racking up 36 touches on the way to a best on ground performance. The standout in the polished Collingwood midfield, Treloar was the only player on the park to top 30 disposals, and spread far and wide to provide options.
He had 12 score involvements and three direct goal assists to round out a very nice start to the round.
7 - Shannon Hurn (West Coast)
There’s not much I can say about him that hasn’t already been said. In a backline under siege by Port Adelaide, Hurn was one of the few able to repel attack after attack. His numbers are outstanding – 33 touches at 85% efficiency, 10 intercept possessions and 11 rebounds from defensive 50.
Many think that Hurn should have been named All-Australian Captain last season, being the only genuine leader in the team, and I am firmly in that camp. His display against the Power, under all sorts of duress, is precisely why.
6 - Travis Boak (Port Adelaide)
He is having a massive year, and even though there may have been others who could stake a claim as best on ground (I had him as best), his work early in the piece was both inspirational, and influential.
It’s not often you get a win against the West Coast Eagles. It’s less often it happens on their home deck. It required guts, it required putting your body on the line, and it required taking the bull by the horns and making the play. Travis Boak did them all.
5 - Michael Walters (Fremantle)
Drifting between forward and midfield, Walters is a match-up nightmare, and in foreign territory, he stood up this week.
Many will laud Fyfe, and rightly so, but Walters hit the scoreboard for three goals, two direct goal assists and 13 overall score involvements. That, my friends, is a dangerous set of numbers. He sent the Dockers inside 50 nine times en route to a best on ground effort. If he were playing in Victoria, he’d be hailed as a superstar. As it stands, he is an unsung one, and one of the best small forwards in the game.
4 - Dylan Shiel (Essendon)
This is the player Essendon were in desperate need of. Hard run, blistering pace through the middle of the ground, and some nice inside 50 delivery made Shiel’s game an absolute standout for the Bombers.
The knock on Shiel is that he forgets how to kick whenever the big sticks are in sight, and that was the case again here, but he compensated for that by lowering his eyes and looking for open teammates to finish with four direct goal assists. Those are elite numbers. 36 touches, 11 score involvements and 10 inside 50s made for a great day at the office.
3 - Matt Taberner (Fremantle)
Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. 13 marks to Tabs were highlighted by his four contested grabs which led to three goals.
It should have been five goals, but Tabs’ kicking continues to be a sore points. That said, I will take 13 marks and three goals from a key forward all day long. What makes Taberner’s efforts more remarkable is the quality of his opposition. He was beating Phil Davis for several of those marks, and Davis is highly rated here at the Mongrel.
Taberner has been the surprise packet of the season thus far. Can he keep it up?
2 - Harry McKay (Carlton)
The world needs a hero. Carlton needs a hero. And sometimes, Paddy Cripps just isn’t enough. Enter Harry McKay.
The big fella filled the void left by Charlie Curnow, and perhaps started people thinking about who should be the number one forward at Carlton, with a dominant aerial display. He clunked five contested marks amongst his 11 grabs for the game, and added four goals. If he can get that kicking under control, we may see a few bags from McKay in the near future.
Here you go, Blues fans. You’ve got a player leading the game in contested grabs. He looks dangerous. And Charlie Curnow is your number one forward. For the moment, you’re Brendan Bolton… do you try Charlie further up the ground this week and hitch your wagon to McKay? And what happens to Casboult now? He took three contested marks as well.
Not a bad problem to have.
1 - Gary Ablett (Geelong)
I am sure there are more than a few people who thought we wouldn’t be seeing Gary Ablett have this kind of impact up forward for the Cats. He was the bloke who looked old, his shoulders all taped up and supposedly “avoiding contact” whenever he could, right Derm?
He certainly wasn’t the bloke who took hangers, had three pivotal goals, racked up 23 touches as a forward, and had 11 score involvements. This shouldn’t be happening!
But it is, and we should enjoy it. Not only did he have great forward numbers, he also had the highest metres gained for the game, with 626. Not bad for an old bloke anchored to the forward 50. At 34 years old, Gaz is still a star of the highest order.
On the biggest stage, in a stand-alone game, Gary Ablett reminded everyone just what a player he is. What a privilege it was to watch him this week.
And there we have it – unlucky not to get a mention as follows.
Patrick Cripps, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Zach Merrett, Dyson Heppell, Michael Hurley, Sam Powell-Pepper, Ollie Wines, Brad Sheppard, Nat Fyfe, Eddie Betts, Rory Sloane, Tex Walker, Ricky Henderson.
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