MELBOURNE’S stunning upset 41-point victory over ladder-leader Adelaide has been rewarded with four Demons in the round eight Team of the Week, brought to you by Accor Hotels.
Michael Hibberd, Christian Petracca, Jack Viney and Clayton Oliver were all outstanding as the Dees, without ill star forward Jesse Hogan, notched their most impressive victory in Simon Goodwin’s time in charge.
Oliver won 72 per cent of the fan vote over Western Bulldogs midfielder Caleb Daniel to pinch the final spot in the team.
The Bombers also have a healthy representation of players, with Joe Daniher, Zach Merrett and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti all unstoppable as Essendon torched Geelong at the MCG on Saturday night.
Daniher partners Jeremy Cameron in the key forward posts after the star Giant booted a round-high six goals against Collingwood.
At the other end of the ground, Hawthorn youngster Ryan Burton has been rewarded for his starring performance against the Brisbane Lions in Launceston on Saturday.
North’s Robbie Tarrant quelled the influence of Sydney superstar Lance Franklin and is picked at centre-half back, with Roos coach Brad Scott acknowledging the 42-point loss could have been even greater if not for Tarrant standing tall.
As always, the midfield spots were hotly contested with Tom Rockliff, Jack Macrae, Brad Ebert and Travis Boak among the unlucky ones to miss out.
Ryan Burton (Hawthorn): The highly touted youngster continued to shape his future and was a standout for the Hawks. Had 16 kicks among 25 disposals, 11 intercepts and an efficiency rating of 88 per cent.
Jack Hombsch (Port Adelaide): Outlasted his tiring opponents and was the general in defence. With eight marks and 18 disposals he was a major contributor in shutting down Gold Coast’s forward line.
Michael Hibberd (Melbourne): The former Bomber had his best performance so far this season and continued to build on a successful return to AFL. Was highly disciplined in defence, finishing with 34 disposals, 20 kicks, eight marks and 673m gained.
Sam Docherty (Carlton): The reigning Carlton best and fairest was instrumental across half-back and snatched some important contested marks. Finished the day with 26 possessions, 11 marks and 10 intercept possessions.
Robbie Tarrant (North Melbourne): Played a crucial role on Lance Franklin and restricted the star forward to only one goal. With 20 touches and six marks he had a “dominant performance,” according to coach Brad Scott.
Sam Mitchell (WCE): Alongside Andrew Gaff, was instrumental in the Eagles’ thrilling win. Equalled former St Kilda star Robert Harvey’s record of the most games with 30 disposals or more (118).
Andrew Gaff (WCE): The hard-running Eagle had a game-high 35 disposals and was one of the keys to West Coast’s eight-point win over last year’s premiers. Gaff had 33 uncontested possessions and 15 marks, as his ability to win the ball on the outside created havoc for the Dogs. Also finished with one major.
Josh Kennedy (Sydney): The Sydney captain was immense in the Swans’ 42-point win over North Melbourne, particularly in the first half where he amassed 26 disposals. He finished with 37 in a best afield effort as the Swans’ midfielders crushed their North Melbourne counterparts in contested situations.
Josh Kelly (GWS): Kelly turned in one of the best individual performances of the season to lead the Giants to their first win over Collingwood in the club’s history. The young star had 36 disposals, 11 tackles, eight inside 50s, seven clearances and a goal, despite close attention from Levi Greenwood at times.
Michael Walters (Fremantle): Racked up a career-high 38 disposals predominantly playing through the midfield and was dynamic in the third quarter as Fremantle built its lead. Booted one goal, but could have had three or four to his name if he had kicked straight.
Joe Daniher (Essendon): Another best afield display and added another medal to his keeping, after being awarded the inaugural Tom Wills Award. Daniher’s athleticism in the air and agility at ground level, as well as his long-range kicking were a feature of his five-goal haul.
Jack Billings (St Kilda): Billings silenced some of the doubters with his best game at AFL level. The 21-year-old, pick No.3 in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft, kicked five goals from 30 disposals to be the most influential player on the ground in his 50th match.
Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (Essendon): Sparked the Bombers with his unrelenting pressure, his swift movement in traffic and ability to charge out into space. Had 17 disposals and kicked three goals, with his left-foot goal on the run in the third-term straight from the top shelf.
Jeremy Cameron (GWS): Booted six goals, including three in the second quarter as the Giants hauled themselves back into the contest by cutting a 26-point quarter-time deficit to just one at the major break. Cameron took 10 grabs and along with Josh Kelly was the key play in a thrilling last-gasp win.
Christian Petracca (Melbourne): Changed the complexion of the game in the second half with his sensational work around the contest up forward and in the middle. The young star’s ability to keep his feet and power through tackles was a defining symbol of the Demons’ rousing 41-point win over Adelaide.
Brodie Grundy (Collingwood): Allowed the Pies to win plenty of the ball as he dominated star GWS ruckman Shane Mumford. The big man was a clear standout, gathering 21 disposals, 41 hit-outs and a goal.
Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn): The prolific midfielder has averaged 34 disposals a game this season and continued his fine form against the Lions. He was influential throughout the match with 36 disposals, including 22 handballs.
Jack Viney (Melbourne): Alongside a host of good Melbourne performances, the co-captain was prolific inside the contest and outside – striking a good balance with 15 contested possessions and 16 uncontested possessions. Laid a game-high 12 tackles to go with 30 disposals and a goal.
Luke Parker (Sydney): Comprehensively turned the corner after a slow start to the year, which was exacerbated by an interrupted pre-season. The star Swan had 36 disposals, 11 clearances and kicked two goals as the Swans smashed the Roos.
Zach Merrett (Essendon): Merrett was typically prolific in the midfield, gathering 33 disposals as the most influential onballer on a ground containing Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield. The star Bomber also laid 12 tackles for the game (two fewer than the Cats had as a team for the entire first half).
Seb Ross (St Kilda): Enhanced his reputation as one of the emerging midfield stars of the competition with another standout display in the Saints’ 19-point win over Carlton. Collected 31 disposals, six clearances and kicked two goals – one of which put the Saints up by a goal at the 10-minute mark of the final term.
The fans’ pick
Clayton Oliver (Melbourne): Reached the 30-disposal mark for the fifth time this season, as he continued his stellar start to the season. Oliver gathered 30 touches (15 contested and 15 uncontested) and laid 10 tackles. Capped his night off with an unbelievable banana goal from the pocket. Won 72 per cent of the fan vote against the Western Bulldogs’ Caleb Daniel to claim the final spot on the bench.