WHEN the matches intensify, the cream rises to the top, and the game's biggest names stood tall in round 22 to dominate the Team of the Week, brought to you by AccorHotels.
Richmond kept its top-four chances alive with a thrilling win over West Coast, and it was 2017 Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin leading the way with a game-high 35 disposals, including 13 inside 50s and a goal.
Later on the same afternoon Marcus Bontempelli (27 touches) was the driving force for the Western Bulldogs in its win over Greater Western Sydney, kickstarting his team's comeback from 15 points down.
And although Geelong was edged out by Brisbane at the Gabba, Patrick Dangerfield did everything in his power to get his team over the line in a best on ground performance.
North Melbourne's Ben Brown was a lock for his 10-goal bonanza, but he wasn't the only Kangaroo to make the 22.
A combination of power and dash in the backline with Levi Casboult's move into defence proving crucial for Carlton. He finished with 20 disposals, but more importantly 10 marks (six contested) in a rock solid outing against St Kilda. Former Bulldog Marcus Adams starred for Brisbane, taking an incredible nine intercept marks and keeping Tom Hawkins goalless. Bachar Houli (34 touches at 82 per cent) was clean in the wet weather, while Eagles skipper Shannon Hurn (24 and 10 marks) was equally good in the same match. Jeremy Howe (11 marks) was strong in the air and Adam Saad (27 disposals) dynamic at ground level as Collingwood and Essendon won crucial road games.
Aside from the already mentioned exploits of Martin and Dangerfield, North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein was a colossus in his team's trouncing of Port Adelaide. 'Goldy' finished with a barely-believable 34 disposals (19 contested), 28 hitouts, nine clearances and a goal in the best game of his decorated career. Zac Merrett was best afield in the Bombers' victory in the west, while Josh Dunkley (31 touches, 10 tackles and two goals) continued his remarkable season. Marc Murphy led brilliantly with his clean ball use on the wing in the Blues' win over the Saints.
The first player picked this week was Brown, who charged to the top of the Coleman Medal race with his career night. Teammate Nick Larkey might have been upstaged but his five goals was also full of merit, while Hawks great Jarryd Roughead produced the perfect farewell with six goals against the hapless Suns. Charlie Cameron (five of his team's 10 goals) again proved almost impossible to handle one-on-one, while Jamie Elliott (also five goals) filled the hearts of Collingwood fans with glee. Michael Walters (36 disposals and 2.2) deserved to be on the winning team for his performance.
The usual array of midfielders fought out the bench spots, with Bontempelli at the head of the queue. Scott Pendlebury (34 touches) was magnificent, while Ben Cunnington and James Worpel were influential at the coalface in their teams' victories.