Despite their only being four games instead of the usual nine, this was one of the most hotly contested Player Rankings we’ve seen. Such is the nature of finals footy.
As a result, some gallant performances missed the cut, and honourable mentions extend to Ollie Wines, Charlie Cameron, Tim Taranto and Toby Greene.
10. Josh Kelly (GWS)
Kelly’s regathered his best form in the back half of 2021, and was a vital cog as GWS pulled off one of the gutsier finals wins against the Swans. He finished with 28 disposals, 13 contested possessions, nine clearances, six tackles, six inside 50s, six score involvements and 638 metres gained.
9. Lachie Neale (BRIS)
Lachie Neale accumulates like no other, having broken the record for the most disposals in a final with 46 on Saturday night. He also had a whopping 25 contested possessions, 13 clearances, five score involvements, five intercept possessions and 582 metres gained. Stood out on a disappointing night for Brisbane.
8. Darcy Parish (ESS)
After Parish was adjudged best-on-ground in the Dreamtime game, it was written in this column that it’d be exciting to see what he can do come finals time. He didn’t disappoint. Essendon’s best quarter was the second, and it was off the back of Parish who had 16 possessions, 10 contested possessions, six clearances, four inside 50s and a pivotal goal in that quarter alone. Finished the game with 35 disposals at an efficiency of 71%, 18 contested possessions, 11 clearances, seven score involvements, six inside 50s, one goal assist and 698 metres gained.
7. Isaac Heeney (SYD)
Heeney ultimately finished on the losing side, but he was unanimously declared best-on-ground by the coaches. Although his teammates faltered in front of goal, ultimately costing the Swans their season, Heeney was a deadeye, nailing 4.1 from 21 disposals. Also had ten contested possessions, eight score involvements, two goal assists. A special talent, with his prime only beginning to dawn.
6. Jake Lever (MELB)
One of three Dees to feature in the top-10 this week after they rubber stamped their premiership credentials, Lever was an intercepting machine against the Lions. Fresh off his maiden All Australian blazer, the 25-year-old had a monstrous 15 intercept possessions from 18 disposals at an efficiency of 81%, along with five score involvements.
5. Travis Boak (PA)
Boak was pivotal as Port powered past Geelong; finishing the encounter with 32 disposals, 16 contested possessions, 10 score involvements, seven tackles, seven clearances, seven inside 50s, one goal assist and 588 metres gained.
4. Christian Petracca (MELB)
Another dominant Dee, Petracca was at his damaging best with 30 disposals, two goals, 12 contested possessions, 10 score involvements, eight inside 50s and 699 metres gained.
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3. Tom Liberatore (WB)
When contrasted with the likes of Jack Macrae and Marcus Bontempelli, Liberatore’s exploits often go unnoticed, but he’s as important a player as any in the Dogs side. On Sunday, he was key to the dismantling of Essendon with 35 disposals, 17 contested possessions, eight inside 50s, seven tackles, seven clearances and 452 metres gained.
2. Clayton Oliver (MELB)
How good is Oliver? Seriously. Much like Melbourne he’s taken his game to a new level in 2021, and was up to his usual tricks on Saturday night with 33 disposals, 18 contested possessions, one goal, 10 score involvements, seven clearances, seven inside 50s and four goal assists.
1. Aliir Aliir (PA)
Port never trailed, and frankly, were never threatened by Geelong. They have one man to thank for that. Aliir lay the foundations for Port’s win, reading the ball like a children’s book as every Geelong foray was introduced to the security of his sturdy hands. The ex-Swan would finish with five intercept possessions in the first quarter alone, and 11 for the match. Totaled 14 disposals at a perfect 100% efficiency, and clunked four intercept marks.