ADELAIDE’S title as the only undefeated team six rounds in has seen three Crows named in this week’s Team of the Week, brought to you by Accor Hotels.
Two of their Rory’s – this week, Sloane and Laird – made cases for themselves with commanding performances against Richmond, while Sam Jacobs was the round’s standout ruckman with 50 hit-outs.
Unlucky to miss out were big men Ben McEvoy, Brodie Grundy and Melbourne’s stand-in ruck solution Cam Pedersen, with Jacobs’ game too big to overlook.
Squeezed out of the midfield by the likes of Gary Ablett, Scott Pendlebury and Jack Steven were Patrick Cripps, Clayton Oliver, Shaun Higgins and Matt Crouch, while Zach Tuohy, Tom McDonald and Elliot Yeo were unlucky in defence.
While it was a round for taggers with Levi Greenwood and Connor Blakely doing jobs, they were left out in place of Marcus Bontempelli, Christian Petracca, Taylor Adams and Jason Johannisen, who made up the interchange bench.
Johannisen narrowly edged out Heath Shaw in the fan vote for the final spot, after both played excellent rebounding roles on Friday night in Canberra.
ZAC WILLIAMS (Greater Western Sydney) – Gave the Giants plenty of run from defence with 25 touches, which were moved with 80 per cent disposal efficiency. Also laid six tackles and had three one per centers.
LYNDEN DUNN (Collingwood) – Played on Tom Hawkins and kept the in-form Geelong forward to one goal, which was kicked from the goalsquare. Was excellent in one-on-one contests in his first AFL game for Collingwood, after being called up for the rested Ben Reid.
RORY LAIRD (Adelaide) – Continued to be a force setting up attacking moves off half-back for the Crows with 34 disposals with an efficiency of 94.1 per cent. Also had eight rebounds and took five marks, and gained 707m – the most of any player in the round.
SAM DOCHERTY (Carlton) – Another strong game through the midfield and across half-back, with 39 disposals making him the Blues’ highest possession winner. Moved the ball with an efficiency rating of 87.2 per cent and took 12 marks.
JEREMY McGOVERN (West Coast) – Took an enormous 13 marks – eight intercept – after moving back to defence. Was important for the Eagles in their win over the Dockers with his elite ability to read the play.
DYLAN ROBERTON (St Kilda) – Repelled the ball from defence over and over again with accuracy and reliability, collecting 29 disposals and six rebounds, but also snuck forward for two goals. Took eight marks and moved the ball 610m – the most of any Saint.
JACK STEVEN (St Kilda) – An impressive game from the Saints’ ball-winner. Won 36 disposals, and while his efficiency was a little off (66.6 per cent), worked tirelessly for eight tackles, five marks and five inside 50s.
GARY ABLETT (Gold Coast) – A magnificent performance from the two-time Brownlow medallist. The Suns didn’t win, but there wasn’t much more Ablett could have done with 45 disposals and a career-high 18 clearances making him a lock for this week’s team.
JACK MACRAE (Western Bulldogs) – It was cold in Canberra but Macrae ran hot, with 26 touches (15 contested possessions) and eight tackles. Is second at the Dogs for tackles this season and third for possessions.
CHAD WINGARD (Port Adelaide) – Showcased his potency throughout the midfield and ability to drive play forward for Port Adelaide. Was explosive across the ground gathering 31 disposals, seven clearances and seven inside 50s.
BEN BROWN (North Melbourne) – Announced himself as North Melbourne’s main man in the forward line after booting a career-best six goals. Also gathered 17 disposals and eight marks, and was vital in the Roos’ breakthrough win.
MATTHEW WRIGHT (Carlton) – Was Carlton’s leading goal kicker last year and continued to impress up forward for the Blues. Went on a rampage during the third quarter kicking three of his four goals – his last being an outstanding snap from 45m.
TOBY GREENE (Greater Western Sydney) – After being reported for striking Caleb Daniel he bounced back to become a huge presence in the Giants’ nail-biting win. The talented small forward stood up when needed, booting three goals – including a crucial set shot in the final term – from 17 touches and snatched seven marks.
JOSH KENNEDY (West Coast) – Awarded his second-straight Ross Glendinning Medal for best on ground after a six-goal haul. The powerhouse took 11 marks – eight of those inside 50 – and racked up 17 disposals in the Eagles’ Western Derby triumph.
NICK RIEWOLDT (St Kilda) – Celebrated his 700th career goal with a clever snap midway through the third quarter. Was highly influential in the Saints’ win over Hawthorn, finishing with four goals, 20 disposals and eight marks.
SAM JACOBS (Adelaide) – Commanding game from the big man. Not only dominated in the ruck with 50 hit-outs, but also played a crucial link-up role through the midfield, won 26 disposals for eight inside 50s and kicked a goal.
SCOTT PENDLEBURY (Collingwood) – Form slumps don’t tend to last long for the Magpies skipper, and he put two quiet games behind him to lead his team to victory over Geelong with 32 disposals and nine tackles, despite a five-day break.
RORY SLOANE (Adelaide) – Has rocketed into favouritism for the Brownlow medal with another red-hot performance. Kicked three goals to go with his 33 disposals and laid eight tackles, and leads the competition in the latter statistic with 58 from six games.
MARCUS BONTEMPELLI (Western Bulldogs) – Started slowly but helped swing the momentum after quarter-time to contribute three goals, 22 disposals (15 contested), seven tackles and four inside 50s.
CHRISTIAN PETRACCA (Melbourne) – The Demons had to cover gaps given their outs, and the talented youngster played in the forward line where he lined up against Michael Hurley. Booted a career-high four goals to help get his team over the line.
TAYLOR ADAMS (Collingwood) – It was an Adams-Pendlebury double act in the win over the Cats, with the former finishing with 36 disposals, eight marks, eight tackles and six inside 50s.
The fans’ pick
JASON JOHANNISEN (Western Bulldogs) – Narrowly edged out Heath Shaw in the fan vote with 53 per cent for the final bench position. Was the Dogs’ best defender with 21 touches and seven rebounds.