Team of the Week – Rd 4

Backs:

Eric Mackenzie (West Coast) – Mackenzie performed honourably on Buddy for the majority of the night. His shut-down role clearly frustrated Buddy, who had seven free kicks against and 1 goal 6 behinds. Mackenzie was also involved in a lot of play and gathered 27 touches, second only to Kerr for West Coast.

Harry Taylor (Geelong) – With the help of Tom Lonergan, Taylor restricted the tall Tiger forwards Riewoldt and Vickery to a goal each, despite a lot of supply to the Richmond forward line. Taylor was also highly influential in defensive rebounds and finished as Geelong’s highest disposal winner with 27 in an all-round classy performance.

Ted Richards (Sydney) – Richards only had 13 touches but it was his shut-down of big man Drew Petrie as well as his marshalling role in the Swans’ defence which earnt him a spot in the team of the week. The usually influential Petrie’s impact on the game was minimal and Richards was able to adapt to the slippery conditions better than most.

Beau Waters (West Coast) – Waters epitomised the role of a half-back in the Eagles win over Hawthorn. He intercepted passes, showed bravery, helped out in defence with spoiling, found 26 disposals, and delivered the ball effectively up the ground.

Harry O’Brien (Collingwood) – After a poor start to the year, O’Brien bounced back and will gain some confidence from his loose man in defence role against the Power. He had 29 possessions and seemed to control his area of the ground throughout the day, just knowing when and where the ball was going.

Robert Murphy (Western Bulldogs) – Murphy showed plenty of his characteristic poise and creative run off half-back against he Dees. His quality disposal and composure was crucial in many of the Dogs’ rebounds from defence. He had a particularly strong first half and finished with 24 touches, 20 of which were kicks.

Centres:

Aaron Sandilands (Fremantle) – Big Sandi played like the monster he is. Again his dominance in the hit-outs (44) did not translate into Fremantle winning clearances. Nevertheless he was invaluable around the ground taking contested grabs, kicking a goal and helping out in defence.

Lenny Hayes (St Kilda) – It was a typical Lenny performance. He had 30 touches and 7 tackles, working tirelessly and getting it going forward for the Saints whenever he could. It’s great to see him back in form and playing tough footy, should surely be an inspiration for teammates.

Brent Stanton (Essendon) –  Stanton’s great start to year went up another notch on Saturday. Against the Blues he was the everywhere man, racking up 36 possies, 17 marks and a staggering 175 Dream Team points. Surely he will start to cop a hard tag.

Daniel Kerr (West Coast) –  Kerr picked up 33 disposals in a performance that combined tough in-and-under work and some classy play in space. He must have frustrated Clarkson who accused him of ducking throughout the night. He also kicked a critical late goal from a stoppage and the Eagles surely wouldn’t have won without him.

Rory Sloane (Adelaide) – Sloane produced a tireless performance. He took the concept of the ‘second effort’ to a new level, often going to third and fourth efforts against GWS. On top of his 24 disposals, 8 tackles and goal he even had managed a hit-out!

Luke Parker (Sydney) – Parker was unstoppable in the first half, amassing 23 touches. He slowed down in the second to finish with 29. He showed great physical strength and evasive skill at stoppages and barely missed a target by hand or foot. A very exciting player blooming for the Swans.

Forwards:

Tom Rockliff (Brisbane) – Rockliff walks into the team this week. He was the standout player of the Q-Clash, proving more than a handful for Gold Coast and winning the Marcus Ashcroft medal. He gathered 37 touches, 10 clearances, 7 tackles, and 2 goals. It was a complete performance and he continues to dominate without the deserved fanfare.

Kurt Tippet (Adelaide) – Tippet temporarily silenced critics of his goal-kicking with an effective performance in front of goal (4 goals, 1). He was a main reason for Adealide’s early dominance, kicking the game’s first two goals and also kicked two needed goals in the third quarter when GWS looked like being in the game at three-quarter time.

Dane Swan (Collingwood) – The great Dane produced his best game of the season so far with 36 touches and 8 tackles. He was one of a number of experienced Collingwood players to stand up, collecting possessions in all parts of the ground and hitting targets at will. He and Rockliff are in the forward line here for team balance!

Matthew Bate (Melbourne) – After second place in the VFL’s JJ Liston Trophy last year, Bate has shown improvement at AFL level early this year. Against the Dogs he worked hard all night, constantly presenting up each wing and delivering into the forward-line. Overall he had 20 disposals and kicked 2 goals.

Stewart Crameri (Essendon)  – A few missed opportunities and errant kicking (5 goals, 6 behinds) cost Crameri what could have been close to a 10-goal bag. He was the dominant forward on the ground, overpowering Bower in aerial contests and doing some good work at ground level also. Only needs to improve his goalkicking.

Luke Dalhaus (Western Bulldogs) – Hard to believe this dreadlocked teenager went pick 22 in a rookie draft and is already one of the Dogs’ most important players. He had 23 energetic disposals and a goal. Not only is he smart and creative but seems to be on a drip feed of Red Bull.

Bench:

Nathan Foley (Richmond) – Foley won plenty of his own ball and used his trademark burst to break through the lines against the Cats. Clearly enjoying playing second fiddle to Richmond’s younger midfield stars, he fired off 16 handballs from 24 disposals, but also found space at times to set up the Tigers’ forward forays and kick a crucial goal.

Joel Selwood (Geelong) – The captain was one of the few Cats players at their best at the windy Simonds Stadium on Saturday. He lead his team in typical Selwood fashion; accumulating contested disposals bravely, winning hard ball and earning free kicks. He had 27 disposals, 10 tackles, and 130 Dream Team points.

Adam Cooney (Western Bulldogs) – Cooney showed some of his best form in a commanding midfield role against Melbourne. He had 26 touches and was damaging offensively by setting up many of the Dogs’ scoring plays and kicking 2 goals himself.

Substitute:

Ricky Henderson (Adelaide) – Henderson gets the nod as Team of the Week substitute. He was called into the game in the first quarter to replace Petrenko and did not disappoint. His 13 disposals came at 85% efficiency (the second most of any Crow).  He kicked a great goal after some evasive work in slippery conditions in the second quarter and has perhaps proved he deserves a gig in the starting 21 next week.

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