Max Gawn and Marc Pittonet compete during the round nine match between Carlton and Melbourne at the MCG, May 9. Picture: AFL Photos

THE FREMANTLE plan was clear from the outset: stop Max Gawn's early influence.

"He's an incredible ruckman, but especially early in games. In first quarters, he's massive. He sets them up with his score involvements and his hitouts to advantage," Dockers star Caleb Serong said after the 92-point demolition of the Demons.

Gawn's impact was subsequently quelled. Although his numbers looked good afterwards, the Melbourne skipper had just two kicks and one mark in the opening term as Fremantle laid the foundations for its Alice Springs upset.

But who else needs shutting down early? Who gets going in the 'premiership quarter' after half-time? And who are the AFL's clutch kings when the time is ticking away in the fourth terms?


Champion Data's stats somewhat contradict Serong's claims. Instead, they show that Gawn's significant influence has been spread evenly across all four quarters this season.

The No.5 ranked player in the competition for AFL Player Ratings points – Champion Data's most definitive stat to measure influence on a game – Gawn averages 4.2 points in first quarters, 4.7 in the second, 4.1 in the third and 4.9 in the last.

Instead, it's surprisingly Carlton ruck Marc Pittonet who is the AFL's early bird. He averages a League-high 6.6 AFL Player Ratings points in opening terms, ahead of stars like Collingwood's Nick Daicos (5.9) and the Dogs' Marcus Bontempelli (5.8).


Western Bulldogs midfielder Adam Treloar and North Melbourne ruck Tristan Xerri are saviours in the second, with their average of 5.5 points ahead of Greater Western Sydney's Josh Kelly (5.0).

Carlton spearhead Charlie Curnow dominates the 'premiership quarter', with his average of 5.8 points in the third term leading both of Sydney's gun duo in Isaac Heeney (5.7) and Chad Warner (5.3) behind him.

Meanwhile, Adelaide speedster Izak Rankine is the king of the fourth. His average of 6.6 AFL Player Ratings points in final terms is clear of both Bontempelli (5.7) and Carlton captain Patrick Cripps (5.6).