The Inner Sanctum has selected a Team of the Week for Round One of the 2023 AFL season. Photos: North Melbourne/Twitter, GWS Giants/Twitter, Melbourne Demons/Twitter

The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week, comprised of the best performing players from Round 1 of the 2023 AFL season.

The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week, comprised of the best performing players from Round 1 of the 2023 AFL season.

Defenders are rewarded for defensive play, midfielders receive accolades for their dominance, while forwards are praised for hitting the scoreboard and applying pressure.

The team selected is…

The Inner Sanctum’s Team of the Week for Round 1. Design: Will Cuckson


In a tough afternoon for Fremantle, Luke Ryan provided a highlight with an excellent showing. Ryan finished with 37 disposals, 13 marks, and 10 rebound 50s.

Tasked with keeping champion Tiger forward Jack Riewoldt quiet in the opening game of the season, Lewis Young was strong in defence for Carlton. The key defender had 20 disposals, 14 intercept possessions, and eight marks in the thrilling draw.

Matching up on dangerous small forward Charlie Cameron might have been a task too difficult for Ryan Burton coming into the match with Brisbane, but the running defender was certainly up to the challenge. Burton picked up 24 disposals, seven marks, and more importantly held Cameron goalless.

Having played the entirety of his career in the forward line, ahead of his debut game against West Coast, Harry Sheezel was moved to half-back and fitted in seamlessly. Sheezel collected 34 disposals, nine marks, and eight rebound 50s. Sheezel’s efforts would earn him the round one rising star nomination.

With Brisbane’s star-studded forward line making its debut in Adelaide, it was vital for Aliir Aliir to have a strong showing for Port Adelaide side to have any chance. The key defender did just that, shutting out Brisbane’s Joe Daniher, while finishing with nine intercept possessions, seven marks, and 15 disposals.

Nick Daicos showcased why he is the reigning winner of the rising star, with a big performance on Friday night against Geelong. Daicos was everywhere and picked up 35 disposals at 91 per cent, nine score involvements, and 579 metres gained.


In a tough evening for Gold Coast, co-captain Jarrod Witts tried to lead by example with a dominant showing in the ruck. Witts recorded a remarkable 51 hitouts, 25 disposals, and 10 clearances in the loss.

After a controversial trade away from North Melbourne, promising youngster Jason Horne-Francis showed why he is a former number one draft pick. Horne-Francis provided the spark Port Adelaide was looking for, kicking a goal and proving unstoppable with 25 disposals, 11 score involvements, and 10 inside 50s.

Luke Davies-Uniacke was far too strong for West Coast’s midfield to contain in a tight win at Marvel Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Davies-Uniacke was everywhere for the Kangaroos on his way to 32 disposals, 11 clearances, and eight score involvements.

Tom Green picked up where he left off in the pre-season with a massive performance in the come-from-behind win over Adelaide on Sunday. Green worked his way through the midfield with ease, recording 37 disposals, 12 score involvements, and booted a goal of his own.

Sydney’s Chad Warner was the x-factor in Sydney’s crushing win over Gold Coast on Saturday night at Heritage Bank Stadium. Warner finished with 30 disposals, 14 score involvements and eight tackles in the win.

In what was a difficult Saturday night for the Western Bulldogs at the MCG, Jack Macrae did not stop trying on his way to 33 disposals, four clearances in a goal.


In Essendon’s prolific win over Hawthorn on Sunday afternoon at the MCG on Sunday afternoon, Archie Perkins made a strong statement. The promising youngster booted three goals to go with 10 score involvements and 20 disposals.

Having dominated the Eagles with six goals at Marvel Stadium last year, Nick Larkey gave West Coast headaches once again, kicking yet another bag of six goals. Star defender Tom Barrass was no match for the Kangaroos’ spearhead in the tight win.

Jordan De Goey was arguably the most influential player on the ground in Collingwood’s shootout victory over Geelong on Friday night. The Magpies superstar electrified the crowd, and was too much for the Cats to comprehend, collecting 25 disposals, 11 score involvements, and booting three majors.

Having been given the captaincy role, Toby Greene lead by example in the Giants come from behind win on Sunday. Greene was far too dangerous for the Adelaide backline, kicking four majors from 19 disposals and eight marks.

Despite the highly touted Western Bulldogs defence, key forward Ben Brown proved how good he is, booting four goals to go with 10 score involvements and seven marks.

Having overcome an early bump on Bulldogs midfielder Bailey Smith, Kysaiah Pickett excited the Melbourne supporter base, booting four goals to go with 19 disposals, 11 score involvements, and eight tackles.


Mason Wood had his best game in St. Kilda colours, impressing new coach Ross Lyon with 20 disposals, six marks and two majors. Wood provided the spark the Saints required up forward in the unexpected win over Fremantle.

John Noble had what was arguably his best game in Collingwood colours with 29 disposals at 82 per cent, seven marks, and seven score involvements. Noble generated run out of the back half all night, and found himself with 637 metres gained.

Charlie Dixon was too good for Brisbane key defender Harris Andrews, finishing with a team-high 10 marks, three goals, and 12 score involvements.

Darcy Parish returned to his form of 2021, gathering 37 disposals, 13 clearances, and 10 inside 50s, helping him power Essendon to a crushing 59-point victory over Hawthorn on Sunday afternoon at the MCG.

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