02/03/2024

The Inner Sanctum has selected a Team of the Week for Round 13 of the 2023 AFL season. (Photos: @StKildaFC, @RichmondFC, @EssendonFC, Twitter) Design: Will Cuckson

The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week, comprised of the best-performing players from Round 13 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.

You can read last week’s team here.

The selected side for round 13 is…

Defenders

In a tight tussle with Fremantle on Saturday night, Tigers defender Nick Vlastuin stood tall with 26 disposals at 92 per cent, 12 marks, and seven rebound 50s.

Despite finishing with just 13 disposals and six marks, the most impressive factor in Port Adelaide key backman Aliir Aliir‘s performance was holding Bulldogs spearhead Aaron Naughton to just six disposals.

Callum Wilkie returned to his early-season form in St. Kilda’s gritty win over Sydney at the SCG on Thursday night. Wilkie picked up 23 disposals, eight marks, and eight rebound 50s, as well as holding Lance Franklin to just seven disposals.

Caleb Daniel continued his strong run of form despite the Bulldogs’ disappointing loss on Friday night at Marvel Stadium. Daniel collected 29 disposals, seven marks, and booted an important goal.

Upon returning from suspension, James Sicily reminded the competition just how good he is, with 32 disposals, 12 marks, and seven rebound 50s, as Hawthorn recorded an upset win over Brisbane at the MCG.

Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera provided St Kilda fans a glimpse of the future with 30 disposals, nine marks, and six rebound 50s as the Saints got its season back on track.

Midfielders

Rowan Marshall dominated the ruck against Tom Hickey, putting together 50 hit outs, 16 disposals, and seven tackles.

Tim Taranto continued his excellent 2023 form, as he firms as a genuine contender for the Brownlow medal, as well as Richmond’s Best and Fairest award. Taranto recorded 35 disposals, seven clearances, and booted two goals in one of the Tigers’ best wins of the year.

The transformation of Zak Butters into one of the competition’s best midfielders has been seamless, and Friday night showed exactly why. Butters picked up 31 disposals, 11 score involvements, six clearances, and a goal.

With the unexpected absence of superstar Clayton Oliver, midfield-bull Jack Viney rose to the occasion, with a big performance on King’s Birthday. Viney finished with 32 disposals, 11 tackles, nine clearances, and a goal.

Essendon winger Nic Martin continues to take his game to the next level, and his efforts on Sunday night in the win over Carlton were no exception. Martin collected 30 disposals, nine marks, and eight score involvements.

Jayden Short put together a damaging display for Richmond from the middle of the ground, hurting Fremantle on the scoreboard. Short gathered 20 disposals, six marks, and booted three goals in the tight contest.

Forwards

Saturday afternoon was a breakout game for promising Hawthorn youngster Connor MacDonald, who stunned the MCG with a game-breaking display. MacDonald picked up a career-best 28 disposals, 12 score involvements, and booted two goals as Hawthorn claimed the upset victory.

Taylor Walker rocked the football world with a remarkable performance in game 250 at Adelaide Oval against the hapless Eagles on Saturday afternoon. Walker put together a remarkable 10-goal haul, surpassing his previous best of seven, and kicking the highest amount for the 2023 season so far. Along with his 10 majors, Walker had 21 disposals, 11 marks, and 17 score involvements.

Shai Bolton lifted late in Richmond’s upset win over Fremantle on Saturday night, as it hopes to make a run towards the top 8. Bolton picked up 33 disposals, 11 inside 50s, and booted a goal, as he showcased why he is one of the competition’s most valuable assets.

The pure class of Toby Greene was too much for the inexperienced North Melbourne backline to handle as the Giants captain helped lift his side to a scrappy win. Greene finished with 24 disposals, six inside 50s and three goals.

In what was his first game of season 2023, Essendon key forward Peter Wright showed the Bombers fans what they’ve been missing, with a dominant display. Wright kicked five goals from seven marks, with the Blues backline having no answers.

Mitch Lewis added to his outstanding campaign, as he continues to be a vital cog in Hawthorn’s attack, kicking another four-goal haul in the win over Brisbane. Along with the four majors, Lewis collected 11 disposals and six marks.

Interchange

Rory Laird helped drive Adelaide forward at every opportunity in its crushing 122-point victory over the Eagles. Laird finished with 34 disposals, 13 clearances, and six inside 50s as he strengthens his chances for another All-Australian finish.

Essendon youngster Ben Hobbs has made the most of his added midfield minutes, putting together another damaging display in the win over arch-rivals Carlton. Hobbs was very effective with 24 disposals at 87 per cent, eight score involvements, and five marks.

St. Kilda dynamo Mitch Owens ensured his name remains at the forefront of the Rising Star selectors, with another strong performance in the win over Sydney on Thursday night. Owens put together 21 disposals, eight marks, and booted two majors.

Although Brisbane suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Hawthorn on Saturday afternoon, Lachie Neale did everything he could to will his side over the line. Neale picked up 30 disposals, 14 marks, and five clearances, as he eyes off another Best and Fairest award.

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