30/05/2024
Club MVP: Round Nine

Jordan Dawson (pictured against Gold Coast) was just one of the Club MVP's Best On Ground in Round Nine. Picture: Daniel Cohen/The Inner Sanctum

Round Nine saw sadness, shockers, and surprises as the race for finals, top four, and the flag is now anyone’s guess.

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.

Carlton Vs Melbourne

Carlton 

3. Sam Walsh: Walsh has rarely missed a beat since his return and 34 disposals and 11 tackles helped not only build a big lead for Carlton but defend Melbourne’s comeback. 

2. Patrick Cripps: Up against Clayton Oliver in the middle, Cripps won the contest at the coalface with a game-high seven clearances and a game-high 35 disposals.

1. Jacob Weitering: Weitering’s impact may have been negated in the second half, but his six marks to halftime completely nullified the Demon forward line, helping the Blues to a big lead.

Melbourne

3. Christian Petracca: It was a case of Trac Vs Blues for most of the match with Petracca almost single-handedly dragging the Demons over the line with a personal best five goals. 

2. Alex Neal-Bullen: Neal-Bullen’s profile grows week-on-week as he was one of the few Demons up for the fight early, and desperately tried to spark his team with relentless pressure with 12 tackles. 

1. Jack Viney: Viney’s competitiveness was on full display in a dramatic last quarter that saw a third of his 12 tackles and a third of his 21 disposals amassed to try and drag Melbourne over the line.

Geelong Vs Port Adelaide 

Geelong 

3. Zac Guthrie: When others in defence looked timid and nervous in the first half, Guthrie was resolute and impenetrable.  With a team-high 24 touches, a goal and seven marks, Guthrie would be likely to be featuring strongly in the Cats Best and Fairest at this time of the year.

2. Tyson Stengle: He looked the most likely of the Geelong forwards, kicking four goals, including a tough shot in the last two minutes to keep the Cats hopes alive, continuing the great form he has been in all season. 

1. Oisin Mullin: Has a sub ever gotten votes before? Mullin came on late in the second quarter and tagged the then-best on-ground Horne-Francis, limiting his impact severely as the game went on and the performance should earn him a few games in a row. 

Port Adelaide

3. Zak Butters: We could easily have given the three votes to JHF, but Butters’ was amazing throughout the game. The midfield dominance in the first quarter from Butters was something to behold, and he ended up with 34 touches and a goal. 

2. Jason Horne-Francis: The number one draft pick had a phenomenal first half, dominating the centre square, hitting the scoreboard and breaking the game wide-open in what was probably his best 60 minutes of football, finishing with 26 touches and a goal.

1. Ollie Wines: 33 touches and a goal don’t do his game justice. His performance, combined with the duo above, was the main reason Port led by as much as 49. Find him more mid-time.

Sydney Vs Fremantle

Sydney 

3. Oliver Florent: Swans will be happy to have this man signed up as Florent dominated the Dockers forward line, taking a massive 13 marks and even drifting forward for a last-quarter goal. 

2. Isaac Heeney: Heeney’s goal streak may have ended, but with Fremantle the best clearance team in the competition, his game-high eight clearances were notable in helping Sydney win out of the middle.

1. Will Hayward: Every bag for Hayward seems to add a dollar to his contract, and once again, he was the dominant forward for the Swans with another four goals, one in every quarter. 

Fremantle

3. Jeremy Sharp: Recruit Of The Year? Sharp was impressive on the wing for the Dockers with 28 disposals, and kicked half of their goals with two in the last quarter when they had struggled to convert all night. 

2. Caleb Serong: Serong had the ball on a string in the first half with 25 disposals to halftime, and even with more attention still made it to 34, the highest on the ground for both teams. 

1. James Aish: With James Jordon putting the clamps on Jordan Clark, it fell to Aish to try and kick start Fremantle’s forward forays which he did adequately with 503 metres gained.

Hawthorn Vs St Kilda 

Hawthorn 

3. Karl Amon: Amon is fast becoming Hawthorn’s creator-in-chief, and Saturday was one of his very best performances. With 24 kicks and seven handballs, in a match where chaos seemed to reign supreme, all of it made perfect sense.

2. Lloyd Meek: Meek contested a two-man war in the ruck against Rowan Marshall.  The new ruck rules in force this year seem to favour the traditional purveyors of ruck craft, like Meek, and he returned 46 hitouts to assist Hawthorn clearances, which were vital.

1. Dylan Moore: Moore captained Hawthorn for the first time and led by example. He loves a goal and kicked two at vital times for the Hawks while being a constant menace in attack and spilling blood at the bottom of the packs.

St Kilda 

3. Rowan Marshall: Marshall may have lowered his colours to Meek for hit-out, but that was all in a sterling all-round performance.  A personal best of 24 kicks, a respectable 35 hitouts and 11 tackles illustrated that he never stopped working and could well have three Brownlow votes in a losing side.

2. Jack Steele: It was a courageous effort by the St Kilda captain who never stopped driving his team forward in a low-scoring contest where nothing mattered as much as territory. 30 disposals and 13 tackles show peak commitment to both attack and defence.

1. Josh Battle: Battle is fast becoming Ross Lyon’s main Mr. Fixit, and on this occasion, he was needed more in attack than behind the ball.  Two goals on such a day were vital to the Saints’ cause, the last-quarter effort from 50 metres being pivotal to his side staying in touch.

Essendon Vs GWS

Essendon

3. Sam Durham: The Bombers’ mid is one of the main reasons his side has surged to third on the ladder. His grunt work and contested efforts were a main factor in the Dons over-running the Giants. Durham finished with 25 disposals, four tackles, and five marks, as well as possibly three Brownlow votes.

2. Kyle Langford: The best forward on the ground, Langford kicked four goals and looked threatening every time the Bombers went forward. Should we start considering this bloke as an out-and-out star?

1. Mason Redman: A quiet start to the season was quashed with Redman’s best game of the year for the black and red. 12 marks, 26 disposals and a goal is a fine effort, but his ability to break lines with his booming kicks was most impressive.

GWS

3. Tom Green: What injury? The GWS star midfielder amassed 34 disposals and was the most influential midfielder on the ground in the first half. Like his teammates, he went missing somewhat in the second half, but it was still a fine game from the young gun.

2. Stephen Coniglio: Like Green, Coniglio was great in the midfield in the first half but also dropped off as the game went south for the Giants. ‘Cogs’ amassed 24 disposals but would be rueing his missed opportunities in front of goal (two behinds).

1. Josh Kelly: Kelly continued his fine under-the-radar season with 21 disposals, six tackles and a goal. He went quiet towards the back end of the game, but his link-up play and running between the arcs was on song early on. 

Gold Coast Vs North Melbourne

Gold Coast

3. Touk Miller: Miller was key in a massive lift for the Suns, helping his midfield dominate the Roos with 29 disposals at 86 per cent efficiency alongside 11 contested possessions.

2. Mac Andrew: Andrew has been a revaluation as a key defender for the Suns and took an equal game-high three contested marks to keep the Roos at bay all night. 

1. Sam Clohsey: After a few quiet weeks, Clohsey returned to his best form, lighting up the Darwin sky with two goals in the first half and 634 metres gained.

North Melbourne

3. Zac Fisher: Fisher was one of few winners for North Melbourne in another tough loss, with his rebounding leading him to 34 disposals at 88 per cent to try and spark the Roos. 

2. Luke Davies-Uniacke: Davies-Uniacke was, once again, North’s most effective midfielder with a game-high nine clearances, as well as 17 of his 35 disposals being contested. 

1. Charlie Comben: Comben battled hard down back to attempt to hold the Suns at bay, with an equal game-high three contested marks as well as a team-high 10 intercept possessions. 

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Richmond Vs Western Bulldogs

Richmond

3. Shai Bolton: Bolton was easily the best on the ground in what was otherwise a forgettable night for the Tigers. He finished the night with 19 disposals, four tackles and two goals.

2. Daniel Rioli: Rioli provided what he could in the brutal loss, contributing 26 disposals and six tackles.

1. Dion Prestia: His return back to the squad last week following his injury was much welcomed by Tigers fans and the veteran shone on Saturday night with 23 disposals and a goal to his name.

Western Bulldogs

3. Adam Treloar: Continuing his standout 2024 season campaign so far, Treloar was unstoppable as he amassed 41 touches on Saturday night, while also contributing five tackles and one goal. 

2. Ed Richards: Richards was a force to be reckoned with against his opponent in the electrifying win for the Bulldogs, bringing the pressure with 34 disposals and a career-best 10 tackles.

1. James Harmes: The former Demon was impactful and his efforts didn’t go unnoticed. His performance consisted of 27 disposals, three tackles, and four goals. 

Collingwood Vs West Coast

Collingwood

3. Nick Daicos: Daicos is well and truly back to his 2023 form, dominating the West Coast midfield with 17 contested possessions out of 36 and leading all-comers for clearances and tackles with seven apiece.

2. Josh Daicos: The elder Daicos dominated the wings for the Pies dragging down a game-high 11 marks, and kicked a nice goal in the final quarter.

1. Darcy Cameron: Cameron was strong in the ruck as usual, but his follow-up work around the ground, with 24 disposals was just as important with keeping the game well away from the Eagles.

West Coast

3. Alex Witherden: Often maligned, Witherden has managed to enter a rich vein of form and was West Coast’s best on a dirty day at Marvel Stadium with 30 disposals at 90 per cent efficiency and a game-high 12 intercept possessions. 

2. Liam Duggan: Duggan rarely will not lead by example for his club and with the Eagles well beaten by the Pies, he was doing a lot of heavy lifting down back and trying to spark his side with 680 metres gained, the most on the ground.

1. Tom Barrass: It’s difficult to find a third vote for the Eagles, but Barrass’ team-high nine marks was a rare highlight for the well-beaten Eagles.

Adelaide Vs Brisbane

Adelaide 

3. Jordan Dawson: Not for the first time this season, Dawson attempted to lift his side to victory, and in the final quarter he had eight of his 27 disposals and two of his seven tackles to try and will the Crows to what would have been a massive victory.

2. Izak Rankine: Rankine’s skill and class were on full display with two big second-half goals out of three for the day, and four stoppage clearances. 

1. Darcy Fogarty: Fogarty was one of two unlikely spearheads at the Adelaide Oval, with his four goals including back-to-back goals in the final quarter to give Adelaide the lead coming from seven marks, including a team-high two contested. 

Brisbane

3. Jack Payne: Payne punished any wayward forays from the Crows, stopping them dead in their tracks with a game-high 13 intercept possessions, and with four contested marks out of 12, his defence helped save two points for the Lions.

2. Jarrod Berry: Berry is not one of the bigger names in the Lions midfield, but was definitely their best against the Crows, helping them win at stoppage with six clearances, and leading all-comers with 30 disposals in the draw. 

1. Callum Ah Chee: The second unexpected spearhead of the day, it was Ah Chee’s fourth that got the Lions back level with the Crows, and with the likes of Charlie Cameron, Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood kept to one each, the haul was crucial in securing two points. 

Leaderboard after Round Nine

1st: Isaac Heeney (Syd) 17 votes

Eq 2nd: Shai Bolton (Rich) Zach Merrett (Ess) 16 votes

4th: Nick Daicos (Coll) 15 votes

Eq 5th: Patrick Cripps (Carl) Matt Rowell (GCS) 14 votes

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