As the 2021 season heads towards its climax, the number of matches we see each weekend continues to dwindle, but the individual stardom remains unwavering.
Unsurprisingly, the top-five of this week's Player Rankings is comprised solely of Geelong and Western Bulldogs players, with both teams triumphant.
See the full list below.
10. Harris Andrews (BRIS)
Everyone knows Harris Andrews the interceptor, but on Saturday night we were introduced to Harris Andrews the key forward. And he didn’t disappoint. Having already racked up an impressive 13 intercept possessions, Andrews was swung forward late in the piece and clunked two crucial marks. While he wasn’t able to nail what could’ve been a decisive set shot from 50, Andrews did finish with 17 disposals, four score involvements and three contested marks.
9. Tom Liberatore (WB)
Liberatore continued his stellar season on Saturday night, finishing with 21 disposals, two goals, 12 contested possessions, eight score involvements, seven clearances, six tackles and 450 metres gained against Brisbane.
8. Caleb Daniel (WB)
Daniel’s somewhat fallen into the shadow of Bailey Dale on the Dogs halfback line this season, but he reminded everyone of his class in Saturday’s semi final with 31 disposals, 11 contested possessions, seven intercept possessions, five score involvements and 596 metres gained. Still one of the game’s premier halfbacks.
7. Lachie Whitfield (GWS)
Whitfield was gallant as his Giants were outplayed by the Cats, putting together one of his best games of the season with 34 disposals, 11 contested possessions, 10 intercept possessions, seven score involvements and 711 metres gained.
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6. Hugh McCluggage (BRIS)
One of the league’s premier wingers, McCluggage was pivotal for the Lions in what’s being dubbed the game of the season. Although his side was edged out by a mere point, the 23-year-old accumulated 28 disposals, 10 contested possessions, eight score involvements, seven inside 50s, five clearances, two goal assists and 609 metres gained. Brisbane’s shining light on a difficult day.
5. Sam Menegola (GEEL)
Having taken his game to new heights at the ripe age of 28 last season, Menegola continued to remind us of his brilliance with a resounding display that included 29 disposals, 10 contested possessions, eight score involvements, five clearances, five tackles, two goal assists and 538 metres gained.
4. Zach Tuohy (GEEL)
Tuohy’s the second of three Cats to feature in this week’s top-five, a feat reflective of their Giant trouncing. And the Irishman was clinical, accumulating 31 disposals at an elite efficiency of 90%, along six score involvements, five intercept possessions, four goal assists and 586 metres gained.
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3. Bailey Smith (WB)
Clutch and Bailey Smith went hand in hand on Saturday night. With the game on the line, Smith kicked two crucial goals in the final quarter, including the Bulldogs’ last of the game, and he lapped it up too. The AFL’s crying out for personality, and Smith has it in spades. But he’s also a force on the field, finishing the semi final with 27 disposals, three goals, nine inside 50s, eight score involvements, a goal assist and 548 metres gained.
2. Tom Hawkins (GEEL)
Extremely stiff not to be number one this week, Hawkins was a colossus. He took the game away from GWS, racking up 19 disposals as a key forward and slotting five goals. He also had 12 score involvements, 11 contested possessions, eight marks – four contested – and a goal assist. Is firming as the best key forward of the past decade.
1. Jack Macrae (WB)
In a game that’s decided by a lone point, any and every player can swing the pendulum in their side’s favour. Macrae did just that, and then some against the Lions, with a display of match-winning proportions. For a big final, his numbers were simply off the charts; amassing 39 disposals, 19 contested possessions, 11 clearances, 11 inside 50s, nine score involvements, five tackles, one goal assist, one goal and 813 metres gained. The AFL doesn’t have a triple-double, but its equivalent would have to be in there somewhere.