30/05/2024
Club MVP: Round Five

Ben Keays (pictured against Gold Coast) was one of the best players of the round. Picture: Daniel Cohen

Keays continued his love affair with Carlton, with three first half goals and remained a danger all game with 10 marks, including three inside 50. 

And then there were two at both ends, with two undefeated and two winless teams as the first quarter of the season nears the end.

The Inner Sanctum makes their picks for the Best On Ground in Club MVP each week, to highlight the best-performing players each round of the 2024 AFL Season.

Melbourne Vs Brisbane

Melbourne 

3. Max Gawn: Whether Melbourne is well beaten or not, Gawn always shows up. A whopping 51 hitouts, double that of Oscar McInerney, saw him refusing to yield against the Lions. 

2. Jake Lever: If not for the likes of Lever, this game may very well have been worse for Melbourne. Lever took the equal highest number of marks with 11 and even drifted forward to kick a rare goal. 

1. Ed Langdon: The Melbourne midfield was well beaten by the Lions, but Langdon can hold his head up high. Langdon was running at 94% efficiency for his 17 disposals, which was no mean feat given the pressure of the Lions all night. 

Brisbane

3. Cam Rayner: Rayner burst from the blocks early to make a statement for the Lions, and won the ball at the contest time and time again, with a personal best, and game-high nine clearances, six of which came in the first quarter alone.

2. Josh Dunkley: Another massive game for Dunkley, whose 11 contested possessions were among the highest on ground, and his 30 disposals were well clear of the best for Melbourne. 

1. Charlie Cameron: Rev up the motorcycle, as Cameron was his typical dangerous self once the supply started coming in thick and fast, with a goal in each of the final three quarters, and nine marks, the highest of any forward. 

Western Bulldogs Vs Essendon

Western Bulldogs 

3. Adam Treloar: The pressure was coming thick and fast for the Bulldogs all night, and Adam Treloar was one to give it back to the opposition, with eight tackles, the most of anyone on field, and the most disposals on the ground as well. 

2. Tom Liberatore: With Marcus Bontempelli down on his usual influence, it fell to Liberatore to help lift the Dogs midfield. Liberatore brought his trademark ball-handling abilities to the table with a whopping 17 contested possessions and 30 pressure acts in an ultimately fruitless effort to lift the team. 

1. Sam Darcy: Jamarra Ugle-Hagan was the most effective forward, but Darcy’s presence was the most constant, with eight marks, the most of the Dogs on the night and his hard work was rewarded with a late goal as well.

Essendon 

3. Xavier Durrsma: Durrsma has thrown his hat in the ring in the debate of recruit of the year via owning the wing on the way to 13 marks and two goals, including one to seal the match. 

2. Zach Merrett: Win or lose, Zach Merrett always puts in the work, and 27 disposals was the best return for Essendon, and 462 metres gained the best from the midfield. 

1. Kyle Langford: With no Peter Wright due to suspension, Langford has once again picked up the slack forward, booting three goals, the equal highest on the night. 

GWS Vs St Kilda

GWS

3. Lachie Whitfield: 34 disposals across half-back, his excellent delivery by foot set up many GWS forays forward and helped create the healthy lead before the comeback by St Kilda.  With others going down injured, the backline needed Whitfield to step up and he did so in spades.

2. Lachie Ash: Ash has always had much promise, and it feels as though this year he has finally taken that next step.  He was much more assured by foot against the Saints, and backed his strength and agility to break tackles and lines, finishing with 26 disposals and nine marks.

1. Toby Greene: Greene always seemed the most likely of Giants’ forwards, kicking two goals and taking seven marks.  His five tackles did not go unnoticed either, with his forward pressure a highlight, and the captain was instrumental in helping to build the Giants’ lead.

St Kilda 

3. Jack Steele: The captain is back to his best, amassing 29 disposals and a goal, in a best-on-ground performance for the Saints.  His efforts late to help will his side back into the game were a highlight. 

2. Rowan Marshall: Marshall had a huge day out, with 28 disposals and 25 hitouts, easily accounting for young Giant Briggs.  His work around the ground was noticeable, often being a target from a defensive kick out of the backline and linking well with running teammates.

1. Bradley Hill: Hill had his best game for the season, collecting 33 disposals and kicking a goal. In addition, his 13 marks highlight how much he was willing to run and create space. 

Carlton Vs Adelaide 

Carlton 

3. Sam Walsh: No easing yourself back in here, as Walsh monstered himself into the contest with 34 touches and 13 tackles, the most of the match for both sides. 

2. Zac Williams: With Adam Saad subbed out early with an injury, it fell to Williams to pick up the slack with 23 touches at 83% off half-back and 405 metres gained. 

1. Patrick Cripps: The captain did all he could to will Carlton over the line, with half of his eight tackles coming in the last quarter when the game was in the balance. 

Adelaide

3. Ben Keays: Keays continued his love affair with Carlton, with three first-half goals and remained a danger all game with 10 marks, including three inside 50. 

2. Taylor Walker: Walker needed a big game to kick start his season and he got it against Carlton, with four goals and 10 marks helping to sink the Blues. 

1. Izak Rankine: Rankine has been threatening to start 2024, and put it all together against Carlton, with three goals to go with 11 contested disposals out of 23 for the match. 

Hawthorn Vs Gold Coast

Hawthorn 

3. Finn Maginness: A rare shining light in a difficult match for the Hawks, Maginness may have added another string to his bow, being deployed as a forward, and impressing with three goals. 

2. James Sicily: The Hawks captain did his best to try and hold off a dominant Suns outfit, with nine intercept possessions to help stem the bleeding for the Hawks.

1. Karl Amon: Amon did his job off half-back to provide opportunities across the match, leading in metres gained (636 metres) and disposals for Hawthorn (26) to be one of few winners on the night. 

Gold Coast 

3. Noah Anderson: The Suns midfield was on top from the outset, and Anderson was key to the midfield dominance with not only strong disposal numbers but also winning it at the coalface with eight tackles. 

2. Sam Flanders: Flanders continues to take to his new role in the backline like a duck to water, with 34 disposals at 85% efficiency, being a constant driving force forward for the Suns. 

1. Will Graham: Arguably no one proved the ruthlessness of the Suns more than the second gamer Graham, who laid a whopping 14 tackles for the match, including seven in the third quarter alone. 

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Port Adelaide Vs Fremantle

Port Adelaide 

3. Zak Butters: The vice-captain just continues to prove himself a Brownlow fancy, and his work at the coalface was important in a tight match, with a game-high nine tackles, along with 10 contested possessions. 

2. Ivan Soldo: Matched up against one of the most exciting rucks in the game, Soldo let his ruck work speak for itself, winning a massive 54 hitouts, more than double that of Luke Jackson. 

1. Dan Houston: Houston found himself working harder further up the ground than usual, as evidenced by his 740 metres gained. His pressure was also crucial late, with three last-quarter tackles to help save the win for the Power. 

Fremantle 

3. Josh Treacy: The big Kahuna showed why he will be a formidable partner for Jye Amiss up forward with a breakout performance, with three second-quarter goals threatening to break the game open for Fremantle. 

2. Alex Pearce: The early season form from Pearce has held Fremantle in good stead, and in a tight match, his 13 intercept possessions were critical in keeping the Dockers in close. 

1. Hayden Young: Young continues to grow week on week as a midfielder, and matched up against arguably the best midfield in the comp, amassing 27 disposals at 82% means he was more than influential. 

Geelong Vs North Melbourne 

Geelong 

3. Jeremy Cameron: With six goals, 21 disposals and eight marks, Cameron was the most dominant player on the ground. With Tom Hawkins a late out, he played a bit deeper for much of the game but still roamed up the ground to provide a target and get onto chains of handballs. 

2. Max Holmes: When the game was in the balance early, Holmes was influential off half-back, using his run and carry to break lines and hit targets.  He was also rewarded for his hard running by being in the right place when he floated into the forward line, kicking two goals. 

1. Jack Bowes: His best game as a Cat, Bowes is loving his time as an exclusive midfielder, having 23 disposals, but most impressively, eight clearances and six inside 50s.  These stats underline his ability to break from the centre square and give the Cats’ forwards first use. 

North Melbourne 

3. Harry Sheezel: Another huge game from the best and fairest, with 38 disposals and 15 marks, as well as a goal. His ball use coming out of the backline was first-class, and he often found himself across half forward, hitting teammates lace-out a few times as they led up at the ball. 

2. Paul Curtis: He seemed the most likely of the Kangaroos forwards, marking the ball and leading up well, particularly in the first half.  If not for inaccurate kicking, (1.3) he would have had an excellent day and his one-arm fend-off of Brandon Parfitt was a highlight.

1. Luke Davies-Uniacke: The young midfielder tried hard, working tirelessly up and down the ground to collect 27 disposals and kick a very good goal.  Unfortunately for LDU, few followed his example.

West Coast Vs Richmond

West Coast

3. Jake Waterman: What a performance up forward. Waterman had a career day against the Tigers, kicking six goals, and dominating in the air from start to finish with eight of his 13 marks being contested. 

2. Elliot Yeo: Fully fit and firing, Elliot Yeo is having some sort of revival. Yeo had a whopping 15 clearances, 10 more than the best for the Tigers, allowing the Eagles forwards constant first use. 

1. Harley Reid: It’d be a shock if Reid doesn’t get a Rising Star nomination after that performance. His burst from stoppages was impressive throughout the day, and he covered the ground with purpose, with 539 metres gained, only slightly less than Tim Kelly, who led in that statistic. 

Richmond 

3. Shai Bolton: Bolton started the game like a house on fire with three first-half goals, and even when the game was lost, never dropped his head, desperately trying to spark the midfield, and also attempting to stem the bleeding down back. 

2. Mykelti Lefau: One of the more surprising prospects to come out of the year so far, Lefau has emerged as a genuine forward talent for the Tigers, with eight marks, and two final quarter goals to continue the fine start to his career. 

1. Liam Baker: Throw a blanket over a few players for the well-beaten Tigers, but Baker showed why the Tigers need him playing, and why his contract needs a signature, fast, with 12 first-quarter disposals and a goal to get Richmond off to a flyer. 

Leaderboard after Round 5

  • 1st: Shai Bolton (Rich) 13 votes
  • 2nd: Harry Sheezel (NMFC) 12 votes
  • 3rd: Isaac Heeney (Syd) 11 votes
  • Eq 4th Zak Butters (PA), Patrick Cripps (Carl) 9 votes

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