The Inner Sanctum's Team of the Week for Round 21. Design: Will Cuckson

The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week, comprised of the best performing players from Round 21 of the 2022 AFL season.

The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week, comprised of the best performing players from Round 21 of the 2022 AFL season.

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

You can read last week’s team here.

Having become an integral part of Geelong’s backline in just his second season of AFL football, Sam De Koning continues to take his game to new heights every week, and Saturday night was no exception. De Koning ended with four marks from 11 disposals and held Max King to just one goal. Tom Barrass continued his excellent form, this time against the experienced Taylor Walker, who was held to just five disposals, while Barrass had 10 marks and five rebound 50s of his own. Luke Ryan was fantastic down back for Fremantle, collecting 32 disposals at 97 per cent, 15 marks, and 11 rebound 50s.

Daniel Rioli has taken his game to the next level in season 2022, and his class was on full display in Saturday night’s win over Port Adelaide. Rioli collected 25 disposals, 510 metres gained, and two goals.

Harris Andrews showed why he is one of the competition’s best key defenders as he held reigning Coleman medalist Harry McKay to just nine disposals. Blake Hardwick had arguably his best performance of 2022 against Gold Coast, collecting 16 disposals and five rebound 50s while holding exciting Izak Rankine goalless.

Geelong veteran Isaac Smith wound back the clock in Saturday night’s win over St Kilda, collecting 21 disposals, 11 score involvements, and three majors. Clayton Oliver tried everything he could to drag Melbourne over the line in Friday night’s thrilling loss to Collingwood. Oliver finished with 42 disposals, 14 clearances, and eight tackles. Lachie Whitfield was back to his best in GWS’ dominant win over Essendon, winning 29 disposals, eight marks, as well as booting a goal.

Toby Nankervis showed his experience against second-gamer Brynn Teakle, dominating both in the ruck and around the ground. Nankervis finished with 29 disposals and 44 hit outs in Richmond’s big win. Rory Laird did his All-Australian chances no harm in his milestone match, picking up 36 disposals, 10 clearances, and two goals. Lachie Neale was outstanding for Brisbane in the win over Carlton, collecting 32 disposals, 10 score involvements, nine clearances and a goal.

Shai Bolton was electric on Saturday night, picking up 17 disposals, four clearances, and had nine scoring shots, kicking four goals. Nick Larkey had his best game of the 2022 season, returning to his best with seven goals. Zac Bailey was back to his best for Brisbane on Sunday afternoon, finishing with 19 disposals, seven inside 50s and four goals.

Jamie Elliott gave Melbourne plenty of headaches on the main stage on Friday night, booting four goals. In the final game of his illustrious career, Josh Kennedy wound back the clock and dominated the Adelaide backline, kicking eight goals, nearly dragging his side over the line. Jack Gunston was the match winner in Tasmania in the victory over Gold Coast with eight marks and five majors.

Trent Cotchin wound back the clock with 31 disposals, six clearances, and six score involvements in Saturday night’s important win over Port Adelaide. Ash Johnson provided a match-winning aspect for Collingwood in the win over Melbourne with four majors, including two in the final term. Rory Lobb was far too strong for the Western Bulldogs’ backline in Saturday’s win. Lobb finished with four goals and seven marks. Darcy Fogarty provided a genuine forward threat in Sunday’s win over West Coast, kicking four majors from 13 possessions.

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