The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week comprised of the best performing players in round nine of the AFL season.
Every player is selected in the position they played on the weekend. Defenders are rewarded for their 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.
After spending much of the Carlton match in the forward pocket, Caleb Daniel has returned to the rebounding role that earned him an All Australian blazer last season. He had 26 disposals at 92% efficiency and 449 metres gained. Robbie Fox had the job of quelling Brodie Mihocek’s influence and managed to keep him to one behind. Tom Stewart had 23 disposals at 96% efficiency, and had four intercept possessions.
Nick Hind is fast-becoming Essendon supporters’ favourite player. The new Bomber had 31 disposals and eight marks, offering his side a safe passage out of defence every time he had possession. Jack Buckley matched up on Tom Lynch and Jack Reiwoldt at times, who both only kicked a goal each. Brayden Maynard spent much of his match against Sydney on Buddy Franklin, whilst also collecting 29 touches and gaining 612 metres.
With the injury list mounting at Richmond, Liam Baker was tasked with moving into a midfield role. The young defender played on the inside and outside for almost the entirety of the game, collecting a team-high 33 disposals, laying six tackles and gaining 529 metres. Hugh McCluggage takes the opposite wing, with 24 disposals and a goal to his name. Jacob Hopper was arguably the best player on ground despite the four-point loss to Richmond, with 35 disposals, seven tackles, five marks and a goal.
Todd Goldstein was influential around the ground for North Melbourne in its first win of the season, collecting 19 disposals and 28 hit outs, to go along with six marks and a goal. Jy Simpkin was a major beneficiary of Goldstein’s dominance, with a career-high 38 disposals (23 contested), 13 clearances, nine tackles, five inside 50s and 550 metres gained. Jarryd Lyons continued a career-best year against the Suns with 37 disposals at 81% efficiency, nine tackles and six marks in a best-on-ground performance.
Isaac Heeney returned for Sydney for his best game of the season. The utility kicked 3.2 in the win, whilst also collecting 22 disposals. Tom McDonald kicked three goals in Melbourne’s win over the Blues and provided a marking target the entire length of the ground, while Dayne Zorko had 34 disposals and a goal despite starting forward of centre for most of the game.
Dustin Martin played through the middle in typical Dusty fashion, but he was most dangerous in the forward 50. The Brownlow Medallist had 28 disposals, kicked four goals and cleaned up one umpire in the close win at Marvel Stadium. Jesse Hogan also had four goals that game, in just his second game of the season. Cody Weightman played his first game of the year and sent a message to selectors with three goals, including a bicycle-like kick over his head.
Bench and Sub
Clayton Oliver has been very consistent this season, with his match against Carlton yet another great game. He had 28 disposals, 10 tackles and a goal in the win. Cam Guthrie is unlucky not to make the field, with 36 disposals, six marks, seven tackles and a goal against the Saints, while Jack Darling put on a dominant display, kicking five goals in one quarter. It seems the AFL altered the rules for 2021 to suit Daniel Rich, with the long-legged rebounding defender enjoying playing on and kicking long. 25 disposals, including 21 kicks (at 88% efficiency) earned him 495 metres gained.
Hayden Crozier is named as our sub, coming onto the ground in the first quarter after Easton Wood was subbed out with a tweaked hamstring. Crozier collected 18 disposals, took six marks and had gained 330 metres in just 59% TOG.
The Full Round 9 Team of the Week:
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