RUCKMEN, resurgences and the continuation of three unbeaten runs were the talking points from the Anzac weekend, and are reflected in the round five Team of the Week, brought to you by Accor Hotels.
Three ruckmen made claim to spots in this week’s team, with the standout Greater Western Sydney’s Shane Mumford for his demolition job against Sydney.
Closely in contention were Richmond’s Toby Nankervis and Hawthorn’s Ben McEvoy. The big Tiger took out the fans’ vote to claim the last spot on the bench.
As far as resurgences go, Fremantle backman Michael Johnson silenced the critics with a general-like performance in the Dockers’ thriller over North Melbourne.
As always, midfield depth across the competition made selection tough with Nat Fyfe, Ollie Wines, Rory Atkins, Callan Ward, Dayne Zorko and Jack Steven unlucky to miss out.
It was also tough for forwards, with Orazio Fantasia and Lewis Taylor squeezed out and Jeremy Cameron pushed onto the bench by Joe Daniher and Jack Riewoldt.
MICHAEL JOHNSON (Fremantle) – A few weeks after his immediate future in the team was questioned, the 32-year-old returned to form and was a general in defence with 26 disposals, 12 contested possessions and seven marks, plus an important late goal.
PHIL DAVIS (Greater Western Sydney) – Played on Lance Franklin and did an excellent job, especially in one-on-one situations. Only had 10 disposals but moved the ball with 80 per cent efficiency, and took five marks.
ZACH TUOHY (Geelong) – Cleanly moved the ball from the Cats’ backline with 32 disposals against the Saints, which came with an impressive efficiency rate of over 81 per cent. Also took nine marks and laid five tackles in an important double act with Andrew Mackie.
JASON JOHANNISEN (Western Bulldogs) – The Dogs needed a spark in the second half and got it via the speedy half-back, who ended with 28 disposals and 471m gained; the most of any of his teammates.
BEN STRATTON (Hawthorn) – It was a team effort from the Hawks’ defence with Josh Gibson and Luke Hodge also contributing, but Stratton’s positioning and intercepting was so important when the Eagles put them under the pump in the third quarter.
MICHAEL HIBBERD (Melbourne) – The former Bomber was the Demons’ best player in his first game for the club. Had 27 disposals, eight rebounds and took six marks off half-back, and even snuck forward for a running goal.
BRAD EBERT (Port Adelaide) – Had 31 disposals and laid a ferocious 14 tackles; the most of any player this round. Amazing intent from a player in a landslide winning side.
JOEL SELWOOD (Geelong) – If it’s not one, it’s the other. Patrick Dangerfield was also excellent, but it was Selwood who was the difference in the second half against the Saints. The captain had 43 disposals, 22 contested, won nine clearances and took nine marks. A “spectacular” performance, according to coach Chris Scott.
DAVID MUNDY (Fremantle) – Kicked three goals last week as a dangerous midfielder-turned-forward; this week, had 30 disposals and won six clearances as a forward-turned-mid after the main break.
ROBBIE GRAY (Port Adelaide) – Won the Peter Badcoe Medal for best on ground after five goals, and was one-half of a third-quarter double act that had jaws dropping. Teamed with Chad Wingard to thrill fans with eight shots at goal between them – unfortunately, they were wayward with their kicking and scored just 2.6
JOE DANIHER (Essendon) – Winner of the Anzac Day Medal for his best-on-ground performance against Collingwood. Roamed up and down the ground, kicked 3.4 from 16 possessions, took eight marks and had six inside 50s in an all-round impressive game.
CALLUM AH CHEE (Gold Coast) – Let his actions do the talking after a two-week stint in the NEAFL. Booted five straight goals on recall, and showed courage to fly in front of captain Tom Lynch to steal a mark in the second quarter.
CYRIL RIOLI (Hawthorn) – Unfounded talk about the goalsneak being homesick for the Tiwi Islands dominated pre-game, but Rioli didn’t appear bothered by it as he took apart the Eagles with two attempts at mark of the year, a series of goal assists, a nutmeg (below), and pure desperation that’s been lacking from the Hawks this year.
JACK RIEWOLDT (Richmond) – Was the heart and soul of Richmond on Monday night. Kicked two of his six goals in the final quarter as the Tigers snuck home against Melbourne in greasy conditions that shouldn’t have suited a player of his type.
TOBY GREENE (Greater Western Sydney) – He might have disappointed with a minor headbutting incident against Isaac Heeney, but his four goals from 16 disposals saw him continue in the rich vein of form he’s displayed so far this season.
SHANE MUMFORD (Greater Western Sydney) – Got the better of Kurt Tippett and Callum Sinclair with a whopping 62 hit-outs. Worked hard around the ground as well with five inside 50s and four tackles, and won the Brett Kirk Medal for best afield.
BEN CUNNINGTON (North Melbourne) – Another big game from the midfielder with 29 disposals and 10 clearances in the Kangaroos’ narrow loss. Would be leading his club’s best and fairest five rounds in.
RORY SLOANE (Adelaide) – Was part of a dominant Crows’ midfield that smashed the Suns. Had 30 touches and laid 13 tackles, as well as winning nine clearances. Isn’t doing much wrong this season as his team remains unbeaten.
MATT CROUCH (Adelaide) – Another cog in the impressive Crows’ engine. Teamed up with his brother Brad and the Rory brigade to heavily influence their big win, with 35 disposals, nine clearances, four inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal.
TOM MITCHELL (Hawthorn) – Has been winning plenty of the ball at his new club and continued that with another big possession game, claiming 37 against the hapless Eagles. Had 19 before half-time and ended with six clearances and six tackles to go with his fourth 30-plus disposal game this season.
JEREMY CAMERON (Greater Western Sydney) – Didn’t make a huge impact score-wise with 2.4, but was so important physically with 24 touches and nine marks. Is working incredibly hard across the ground and applying pressure to the opposition’s defence.
The fans’ pick
TOBY NANKERVIS (Richmond) – Wins the fan vote for his influential game against Melbourne. Yes, he did benefit from the game-ending shoulder injury to Jake Spencer in the second quarter, but his work around the ground (16 disposals, seven tackles, five inside 50s) more than complemented his 56 hit-outs.