30/05/2024

The Inner Sanctum has selected a Team of the Week for Round 8 of the 2023 AFL season. (Photos: @CollingwoodFC, @GWS Giants, @BrisbaneLions, Twitter)

The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week, comprised of the best-performing players from Round 8 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 eight is…

Defenders

Few players in the competition play as well as Tom Stewart when at their respective home grounds, and Saturday afternoon was no exception. Stewart controlled the backline, finishing with 24 disposals, eight marks, and 502 metres gained.

Callum Wilkie is right in the frame for an All-Australian selection so far in 2023, and he did his chances no harm on Sunday afternoon against North Melbourne. Wilkie picked up 28 disposals at 85 per cent, nine marks, and eight rebound 50s.

In a big win at home, Luke Ryan enjoyed his best game of the season as Fremantle got its season back on track. Ryan finished with 27 disposals at a remarkable 96 per cent efficiency, as well as nine marks and six rebound 50s.

It was arguably a career-best performance for Isaac Quaynor on Sunday against Sydney at the MCG, and it reflected on the stats sheet. As well as keeping dangerous Swan Will Hayward to just one goal, Quaynor collected 22 disposals, nine marks, and five rebound 50s.

Jack Payne showed why he is one of Brisbane’s most valuable contributors on the Friday night stage against Carlton. Having to combat the duo of Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow, Payne was rock-solid, picking up 13 disposals, nine marks, and eight intercept possessions.

Liam Stocker put together his best performance as a Saint, finding plenty of the football in Sunday afternoon’s win over the Kangaroos. Stocker racked up 25 disposals at 88 per cent, 16 marks, and five score involvements.

Midfielders

In what was a significant win for the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night against Greater Western Sydney, Tim English showed why he is in the frame for the All-Australian ruck position. English put together an all-round performance as the Dogs claimed a 15-point victory, finishing with 40 hit outs, 23 disposals, and 10 marks.

GWS midfielder Tom Green put together one of the most dominant individual performances of the 2023 season, finding plenty of the football on Saturday night in Canberra. Green enjoyed 38 disposals, 10 score involvements, nine tackles, eight clearances, and three goals.

Since crossing from the Western Bulldogs in the recent off-season, Josh Dunkley had his best game for Brisbane on Friday night against Carlton. Dunkley was at his game-breaking best, picking up 33 disposals, 13 tackles, and 11 marks.

After somewhat of a difficult start to 2023, Andrew Brayshaw was able to return to form on Saturday night against Hawthorn. Brayshaw put together an incredibly strong performance of 34 disposals, eight tackles, and two goals.

Sydney young gun Errol Gulden stood tall on the big stage at the MCG, with a dominant performance against Collingwood. Gulden did everything he could to keep the Swans immersed in the contest with 37 disposals, 13 marks, and seven clearances.

Max Holmes has flown under the radar so far in 2023, but his performance in Geelong’s win over Adelaide on Saturday afternoon deserved recognition. Holmes’ efforts allowed him 22 disposals, eight tackles, five clearances, and a goal.

Forwards

Dynamic small forward Shai Bolton was pivotal to Richmond snapping its losing streak, with an electrifying performance on Saturday afternoon. Bolton posed a threat constantly with 31 disposals, 13 score involvements, seven clearances, and three majors.

In what was yet another difficult afternoon for the injury-ravaged Eagles, Oscar Allen posed a threat in attack all day. Allen booted four goals from his 15 disposals and seven marks, ensuring West Coast remained in the contest.

Connor Rozee continued his strong season with another positive performance against Essendon on Sunday afternoon at the Adelaide Oval. Rozee, who is one of the favourites for Port Adelaide’s Best and Fairest, put together 29 disposals, six score involvements, and booted a goal.

With the in-form Nic Newman as his direct opponent, Charlie Cameron reminded the competition just how good he is, with a game-changing display. Cameron kicked four goals and laid six tackles, as Brisbane picked up an important win.

Brody Mihocek showed his quality, providing the Sydney defenders with plenty of headaches as Collingwood avenged its preliminary final demons. Mihocek slotted five majors from his 10 disposals and four marks.

Up against the in-form Melbourne backline, it wasn’t ever going to be easy for Gold Coast’s Malcolm Rosas, but the speedy Sun proved his doubters wrong. Rosas was pivotal to Gold Coast staying in the match, kicking four goals.

Interchange

Dan Houston continued his strong run of form, finding plenty of the ball in Sunday afternoon’s narrow win over Essendon. Houston posted 25 disposals, seven inside 50s, and six marks, generating plenty of drive-off half-back.

Superstar Marcus Bontempelli rose to the occasion once again on Saturday night in Canberra, with yet another impressive display. The Bulldogs’ captain was everywhere with 32 disposals, 14 clearances, and seven inside 50s.

Noah Anderson has filled the void left by the injured Touk Miller in fine style and was crucial to Gold Coast staying in the contest on Saturday evening. Anderson put together a performance of 37 disposals, 10 clearances, six tackles, and a goal.

Darcy Parish enhanced his chances for the Essendon Best and Fairest, finding plenty of the ball throughout the midfield against Port Adelaide. Parish collected 37 disposals, to go along with nine clearances, and five tackles.

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