18/05/2024

The Inner Sanctum has selected a Team of the Week for Round 7 of the 2023 AFL season. (Photos: @CarltonFC, @PAFC, @EssendonFC; Twitter)

The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week, comprised of the best-performing players from Round 7 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 seven is…

Defenders

Tom Stewart‘s return to the Geelong side has been seamless, and Sunday afternoon against Essendon proved no different. Stewart recorded 24 disposals, 13 rebound 50s, and 12 marks as Geelong cruised to victory.

Albeit against an undermanned Richmond attack, Charlie Ballard was rock solid on Sunday afternoon at Marvel Stadium. With Jack Riewoldt as his direct opponent, Ballard recorded 24 disposals at 87 per cent, 12 marks, and held Riewoldt to just four disposals.

Nic Newman had arguably his best game for Carlton since moving from Sydney at the completion of the 2018 season. Newman excelled out of defence, finishing with 34 disposals, 14 marks, 10 score involvements, and a goal as Carlton recorded a massive victory.

In just his fifth game of the season, Will Powell was one of the most influential players on the ground in Sunday afternoon’s upset win over Richmond. Powell finished with 28 disposals, 14 rebound 50s, and 13 marks.

In his first year as Collingwood captain, Darcy Moore is also in the frame for the All-Australian captaincy role. Moore held Taylor Walker to just one goal and gathered 23 disposals, 11 rebound 50s, and six marks, including the match-winning mark.

Caleb Daniel put together one of his best performances of season 2023, finishing with 27 disposals, seven tackles, and six rebound 50s. The performance of the Bulldogs’ defender helped lift his side to within touching distance of the top eight.

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Midfielders

Up against the inexperienced Brynn Teakle in the ruck on Friday night, Rowan Marshall took full toll, giving his midfielders first use. Marshall finished with 28 hit outs, 26 disposals, 10 tackles, and nine score involvements.

Off-season recruit Jason Horne-Francis responded to his critics, with a dominant performance on Friday night against St Kilda. Affectionately known as ‘JHF’, the prized recruit gathered 25 disposals, 11 clearances, and seven score involvements.

With the absence of superstar Touk Miller, Noah Anderson stood tall for Gold Coast, playing a pivotal role in the win over Richmond on Sunday afternoon. Anderson recorded 32 disposals, nine clearances, and nine marks as the Suns claimed a 24-point victory.

Melbourne superstar Christian Petracca reaffirmed his status as one of the competition’s best players, starring in the big win over North Melbourne on Saturday night at the MCG. Petracca finished with 35 disposals, 14 score involvements, nine score involvements, and booted three goals.

Following his trade from Fremantle last off-season, Blake Acres put together his best game for Carlton on Saturday night. Acres collected 34 disposals at 82 per cent, 11 score involvements, and 10 marks.

While it has often been Nick Daicos receiving plaudits in 2023, the season of Josh Daicos cannot be underestimated, and Sunday’s performance against Adelaide proved why. Daicos picked up 31 disposals, seven clearances, and five score involvements.

Forwards

Although it was a disappointing defeat for Essendon on Sunday afternoon against Geelong, Jake Stringer did everything he could to bring his side back into the game. As well as booting four majors, Stringer picked up 26 disposals, 11 clearances, and eight score involvements.

Tom Hawkins proved far too much for Essendon’s backline to handle, kicking eight goals. The damage was done in the opening quarter, where the veteran Cat kicked four goals. As well as his eight majors, Hawkins picked up 16 disposals, and 12 marks, 10 of which were inside 50.

In his first Battle of the Bridge as GWS captain, superstar forward Toby Greene rose to the occasion with a big performance. As well as booting the eventual match-winner, Greene had 22 disposals, 11 score involvements, and kicked four goals.

Aaron Naughton was able to exploit the inexperienced Hawthorn backline on Saturday afternoon, kicking four goals amongst eight score involvements, and five marks.

It is not often that a key forward who kicks eight goals does not finish on the highest goal tally for the round, but Charlie Curnow had other ideas. Curnow tore the undermanned West Coast backline to shreds, kicking nine goals, along with 16 score involvements and 14 marks.

Bayley Fritsch put together an efficient display for Melbourne in Saturday night’s big win over North Melbourne. Fritsch finished with four goals, 13 disposals, and five marks.

Interchange

Stephen Coniglio starred in GWS’ thrilling victory over arch-rivals Sydney on Saturday afternoon at the SCG. Coniglio picked up 28 disposals, eight score involvements, seven clearances, and two majors.

Darcy Parish generated a lot of drive out of the Essendon midfield, as he continues to make his case for the Essendon Best and Fairest award. Parish finished with 36 disposals, 10 score involvements, and nine clearances.

In what was a dominant performance right from the outset, Clayton Oliver starred for Melbourne’s midfield on Saturday night at the MCG. Oliver recorded 37 disposals, eight score involvements, and seven marks.

Port Adelaide veteran Travis Boak wound back the clock with a dominant performance in Friday night’s upset win over St Kilda. Boak collected 30 disposals, seven score involvements, four inside 50s, and a goal.

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