THERE are cars, cash, hats and, most importantly, Fantasy Finals to be won as default leagues entered the first round of their finals series, only to have teams playing stupid tricks at the selection table … tricks with huge ramifications.

The Saints and Giants have a lot to answer for with St Kilda turning a lot of coaches off my No.1 trade target last week, Rowan Marshall, due to them naming fellow ruckman Tom Campbell in their team, only to withdraw him prior to the bounce.

Meanwhile, it took until game day for the Giants to realise Stephen Coniglio was sore, leaving coaches like myself requiring the bench cover of Jai Culley given trades were already locked. So basically, I traded Christian Petracca's 110 and held Coniglio for a score of - ridiculous.

Fantasy Pig of the week

At half-time it looked like it was going to be a quiet outing from Zach Merrett, who had a nice match up and had been in terrific form. His score of 37 had his coaches sweating, especially those who had put the C on him. Well … what happened from that point will go down in history as one of the all-time great finals performances in what was a display of pure piggery. He bounced back after half-time with the biggest score of any player this year in the third term with 75, before literally playing his little tail off until the final siren for a whopping score of 172 for the future Fantasy Hall Of Famer. Merrett finished with 38 disposals, 10 tackles, six marks and a goal. OINK.

Honourable mentions

By half-time of the final match of the round, Rowan Marshall had rightfully popped the champagne and was celebrating his first ever Pig of the Week award with his friends and family. The Saints big man once again embraced the role as solo ruck with 30 touches, nine marks, seven tackles and 35 hitouts for 163. Unfortunately his celebrations were cut short by the hungry Bomber, but he remains a priority trade target this week. Young Swan Errol Gulden knew it was finals time and put on an absolute display to score a season-high 155, while Brodie Smith turned back the clock for 141. The Blues also turned back the clock, showing far too much reliance on skipper Patrick Cripps who had his second dominant performance in two weeks with 139.

Rowan Marshall marks for St Kilda against Hawthorn in R20, 2022. Picture: Getty Images


  1. Zach Merrett MID 172
  2. Rowan Marshall FWD/RUC 163
  3. Errol Gulden FWD/MID 155
  4. Brodie Smith DEF 141
  5. Patrick Cripps MID 139
  6. Mason Redman DEF 139
  7. Andrew Brayshaw MID 137
  8. Rory Laird MID 130
  9. James Rowbottom MID 129
  10. Sam Walsh MID 128

Cash cows of the round

The best player with a starting price under $300k will be awarded the Michael Barlow Medal as the best cash cow of the year.

The votes for round:

5 – Josh Ward Hawthorn, MID– 107
The young Hawk pumped out his second hundred in three weeks with 26 touches, six marks and five tackles.

4 – Connor MacDonald Hawthorn, FWD/MID -  84
The Hawk chose a nice week to record his second best score of the season after collecting 19 possessions and taking an impressive seven marks.

3 – Jase Burgoyne Port Adelaide, DEF/MID - 81
A new career-high in the son of a gun’s fourth game after amassing 17 possessions, seven marks and kicking a goal.

Port Adelaide teammates get around Jase Burgoyne against Collingwood in R20, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

2 – Jason Horne-Francis North Melbourne, MID/FWD -  79
The prized Roo had his best game since returning from injury with 21 possessions and nine marks.

1 – Tyson Stengle Geelong, FWD - 76
The Cats recruit remains unbelievably consistent, once again recording a vote. He had 16 possessions, five marks and two goals. 

LEADERBOARD: Nick Daicos 52, Nic Martin 40, Tyson Stengle 26, Tristan Xerri 22, Willie Rioli 14, Jason Horne Francis 14.

Rage trades

Harry Himmelberg GWS, DEF/FWD
After displaying career-best form the past few weeks, the Giants coaching staff decided it would be a good idea to take him back out of that position and his contribution to the game reflected it. He had 16 possessions, five marks and a goal with a fraction of an impact on the game compared to recent weeks, eventually scoring a few points late to get to 69.

Jack Crisp COLL, DEF/MID.
After being one of the standouts during the first half of the season, the hard-running Pie hasn’t been required to do as much lately with a number of teammates stepping up around him. His disappointing score of just 62 on the weekend marked his sixth game in a row where he failed to reach triple figures after collecting 16 possessions and taking three marks.

Reilly O’Brien ADEL, RUC
With the amount of under-priced rucks available at the moment, there is no longer an excuse to need the big Crow. If you needed incentive to move him on, he certainly provided it on the weekend where he collected just nine possessions and didn’t manage to take a mark against the Blues. Thankfully he had 30 hitouts to get him to 62.

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