ON THE weekend of the underdog, it was defenders from opposite coasts that made up most of the backline in the round seven Team of the Week, brought to you by Accor Hotels.
It was the first time since 1975 that every team beat an opposition with a higher ladder position, and it was West Coast and Gold Coast that benefitted from strong games from their backmen.
Brad Sheppard and Elliot Yeo were important for the Eagles with Tom Barrass unlucky to be squeezed out, while Suns Jarrod Harbrow and Steven May propped up their team against Geelong.
With a pair of Jacks – Viney and Steven – making it impossible not to select them for midfield spots, along with Lachie Neale, the unlucky ones this week included Clay Smith, Chad Wingard, David Swallow, Luke Shuey and Tom Rockliff.
And, there was no spot for Sam Gibson despite his strong performance against Rory Sloane.
Bags to Lance Franklin and Jarrad Waite made them walk-up starts in attack, while Matthew Kreuzer took the points against Brodie Grundy and won the ruck spot for the first time this year.
SAM FROST (Melbourne) – Provided rebound from defence in an area that the Demons struggled in. His willingness to take on the game was a big part of their revival in the third quarter, with 20 disposals all up and seven rebounds in a career-best performance.
ROBBIE TARRANT (North Melbourne) – The Roos had winners everywhere against the Crows, and along with Scott Thompson, Tarrant intercepted plenty of attacking forays. Had nine intercept possessions and kept in-form Crow Taylor Walker to one goal.
BRAD SHEPPARD (West Coast) – Didn’t put huge numbers on the stats sheet (14 disposals, four tackles and one goal), but he kept Robbie Gray’s influence well and truly down, with the Power star goalless for just the second time this season.
JARROD HARBROW (Gold Coast) – Has been in red-hot form for the Suns this season and took it a step further with his first 30-disposal game since round 14, 2013. Was involved in plenty of counterattacks and equally led the Suns for intercept possessions with Steven May.
STEVEN MAY (Gold Coast) – Kept Tom Hawkins quiet (the big Cat kicked three but only one was directly on May), and was also important in setting up plenty of attack with 26 disposals in his first game since a round four hamstring injury.
ELLIOT YEO (West Coast) – Another strong game with the in-form Eagle collecting 27 touches – 17 contested – and 10 marks across half-back and through the midfield. He also had nine intercept possessions and led the side for metres gained with 578.
SHAUN BURGOYNE (Hawthorn) – Did a bit of everything with his 23 disposals, including beautiful ball usage (91.3 per cent efficiency), seven clearances, six inside 50s, and a great goal from outside 50 in the third quarter.
JACK VINEY (Melbourne) – Did all he could to will the Demons over the line with 32 disposals – 16 contested – and a whopping 15 tackles; three more than any other player this round.
BRADLEY HILL (Fremantle) – Amassed a career-high 37 disposals, 12 of which came in the third quarter when the Dockers launched their charge. Also took 16 marks, kicked a goal and took the ball inside 50 six times in an impressive showing.
DUSTIN MARTIN (Richmond) – Another relatively even performance from the Tigers, but Dusty still had some moments in his quest to push his team over the line in a thriller against the Dogs. Had 28 possessions, six clearances and two goals.
LANCE FRANKLIN (Sydney Swans) – The Bud was back in town with eight goals against the Lions, including one 70m on-the-run bomb from the centre square in the first quarter that has been nominated for Goal of the Year. It was his biggest bag since round 21, 2014.
LUKE DAHLHAUS (Western Bulldogs) – Probably the Dogs’ best player in their narrow win over the Tigers. Had 31 touches and seven inside 50s, with five marks and five tackles.
MARK LECRAS (West Coast) – Kicked three first-quarter goals to give the Eagles a dream start and finished with four to be his side’s leading goalscorer. Also took five marks and eight scoring involvements all up.
JARRAD WAITE (North Melbourne) – In his first game pack from a shoulder injury suffered in round one, the key forward was easily the Roos’ best in their stunning upset win over Adelaide. Finished with six goals and eight marks, but his day was soured by a dangerous tackle on Tom Lynch that resulted in a one-match ban from the Match Review Panel.
SAM PETREVSKI-SETON (Carlton) – A cracking game from the youngster, who was taken with pick No.6 overall in last year’s NAB AFL Draft. Had 14 disposals and two goals in a standout first half before finishing with 22 possessions to lead his side to an upset win over Collingwood. He also picked up this week’s NAB AFL Rising Star nomination.
MATTHEW KREUZER (Carlton) – Stood up against Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy, who narrowly won the hit-outs 30-29, but didn’t have as much impact around the ground. The big Blue had 15 disposals, six clearances and laid seven tackles, as well as providing two goal assists.
LACHIE NEALE (Fremantle) – Prolific across the entire win over Essendon with 40 touches, (16 contested), nine clearances, five tackles and a goal. Didn’t waste many of his disposals either with a disposal efficiency of 80 per cent.
JACK STEVEN (St Kilda) – Has been in superb touch since returning from the punctured lung he suffered against West Coast in round two, and was important on Friday night with 29 disposals, seven clearances and two last-quarter goals.
MARCUS BONTEMPELLI (Western Bulldogs) – Outstanding in attack and through the midfield with 27 possessions, 10 tackles and one goal. Laid nine tackles and won six clearances as the Dogs pinched a thriller.
ZAK JONES (Sydney Swans) – Standout performance from the 22-year-old. Had a career-best 27 touches and kicked a brilliant on-the-run goal through traffic. Also won six clearances and took six marks, and had 11 score involvements.
JACK BILLINGS (St Kilda) – Started well with a strong first quarter and marked strongly all night in his best game for the season. Ended with 22 disposals and two goals.
The fans’ pick
MATT TABERNER (Fremantle) – Pinched the Twitter fan vote from Jarryd Roughead in the closest head-to-head yet (51 per cent). Kicked four goals in his first game for the season and took seven contested marks, and also pinch-hitted in the ruck to allow usual part-time ruckman Michael Johnson to play more of a sweeping role.