ROUND 13 was all about goalkickers, with a six-goal bag in one and a half quarters leading the way, plus a couple of fives and fours –most of them coming from Generation Next.
While we can’t forget the midfielders who knocked up big numbers once again – headed by Josh Caddy (39), Will Brodie (38), Patrick Lipinski (36), Brayden Ham (36), Josh Newman (35) and Will Hayes (35), it was 20-year-olds Corey Ellison and Noah Cumberland, plus Logan McDonald, 19, and Jack Ginnivan, 18, who really turned heads.
As the finals race heats up with 10 teams (maybe 11) still fighting for top eight positions, here are the stars of round 13:
COREY ELLISON (CASEY DEMONS)
You will often hear people talk about the day a certain player arrived at the level, and Demons fans will talk about Ellison’s fifth VFL game for a long time.
Scoreless in his career going in, Ellison kicked 6.1 from the 15-minute mark of the third quarter as the Demons powered away from Werribee to bounce back from a shock loss the week before and consolidate a top-four berth.
MATT DE BOER & STEPHEN CONIGLIO (GWS GIANTS)
These two are far too good for VFL level – and they proved it by terrorising Gold Coast at ETU Stadium on Saturday, racking up 71 disposals, nine marks, 13 tackles, 23 clearances, 15 inside-50s and 3.3 between them.
AFL captain Coniglio had 36 touches, eight tackles and 13 clearances, with his only blemish being his score of 0.2 as he demanded a recall to his rightful spot, while de Boer should also be impossible to leave out after shading his skipper with 35 disposals, five tackles, 10 clearances and nine inside 50s, while also kicking three goals.
LOGAN McDONALD (SYDNEY)
Rested for a couple of weeks after the AFL loss to Hawthorn and then stuck in NSW quarantine, McDonald took his pent-up energy out on the undefeated ladder leaders.
While the Swans were unable to hold on to what would have been one of the upsets of the season, the boom youngster showed his undoubted talent with 14 marks and four goals, including a nine-minute first-quarter explosion that yielded five marks and 3.2.
NOAH CUMBERLAND (RICHMOND)
Like Ellison in a winning team, young Lions Academy graduate Cumberland enjoyed a breakout performance that showed the Tigers recruiters may have found another one.
Like McDonald in a losing team, he had a purple patch that almost won his team the game – Cumberland’s coming from the nine to 20-minute marks of the third term where he kicked 2.3 without any other player hitting the scoreboard, finishing with 13 kicks, seven handballs, six marks, five tackles and 5.3.
DANIEL HUGHES (NORTHERN BULLANTS)
"Demolition Danny" was the barometer that drove his rejuvenated team to a third win in a row that has everybody talking about the biggest feelgood story in the VFL.
He was so much more important than the stats sheet (20 disposals, six marks, 35 hitouts) indicated – his seven tackles and six clearances, and the fact he was often found at the bottom of the pack, was what won the Bullants the game and himself the newly-minted Harold Martin Medal for best afield.
JACK GINNIVAN (COLLINGWOOD)
The small forward is in irrepressible touch and can’t be ignored much longer on this trajectory, kicking three goals in the first half as the Magpies built a handy lead over Richmond and adding a fourth to launch the successful late comeback that secured the victory.
He now has 16.5 for the season, including 11.3 in the past three games since lockdown, being the key factor between Collingwood falling away or rising to its present position on the edge of the top four.
ANGUS STYLES & MITCH COX (FRANKSTON)
Given the job on Eli Templeton, Styles stuck to his task so well that the Port Melbourne star wouldn’t have been surprised to see him sitting at his breakfast table on Saturday morning.
Styles was the equal second-lowest ballwinner on the ground with six disposals, but a frustrated Templeton was restricted to just 13 and had no impact as the Dolphins ran riot all over the ground.
Meanwhile, Cox was putting together another marvellous chapter in a breakout season, earning 19 kicks, 11 handballs, five marks, six clearances, seven inside-50s and four goals to surely bring himself to the attention of AFL recruiters.
JACK BYTEL & JACK LONIE (SANDRINGHAM)
The two Jacks were the best players on the ground as the Zebras kept their finals hopes alive with a big win over Essendon.
In his first game of the season at this level, Bytel was magnificent with 16 kicks, 21 handballs, six tackles, 10 clearances, nine inside-50s and 1.2, a performance that just shaded Lonie’s similarly impressive five-goal display that came from 17 kicks, five handballs, eight marks and five tackles.
TOP 10 PLAYERS AFTER ROUND 13
- Jacob Dawson (Southport) 63
- Darcy Fort (Geelong) 59
- Tom Wilson (Northern Bullants) 47
- Lewis Taylor (Sydney) 46
- Jai Newcombe (Box Hill Hawks) 42
- Eli Templeton (Port Melbourne) 40
- Oscar Brownless (Geelong) 38
- Corey Wagner (Port Melbourne) 37
- Callum Coleman-Jones (Richmond) 36, Damien Mascitti (Box Hill Hawks) 36, Nick Shipley (GWS) 36
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