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Hawk in Team of the Week

Jennifer Phelan  August 29, 2017 9:37 AM

R23: Roaming Brian Roaming Brian was back after our Round 23 win over the Bulldogs

In a fitting conclusion to a highly unpredictable season, Lance Franklin has stolen the Coleman Medal and won the Round 23 full-forward position in this week's Team of the Week.

Franklin needed a big game to clinch his fourth Coleman, after he entered the final round five goals behind West Coast's Josh Kennedy.

He responded with 10 majors against Carlton, and with Kennedy managing just one in the Eagles' win over Adelaide, Franklin romped home by four.

North Melbourne's Ben Brown made a late charge as well with seven against the Brisbane Lions, and while that wasn't enough to beat Buddy, it was good enough to get him in this week's team.

It was a big round for individual goal-kicking performances with Sam Gray managing six, and Jarryd Roughead and Jacob Townsend among the three who kicked five.

While the forwards had a goal-kicking party, two veterans – Matthew Boyd and Jobe Watson – did all they could to go out in style, although Essendon's win means the latter gets a chance to raise the bar in the finals.

As always, there were unlucky omissions with Tom Bellchambers sneaking in ahead of ruckmen Ben McEvoyZac Smith and Paddy Ryder.

Two Cats – Patrick Dangerfield and Sam Menegola – made it, but it could have easily been their teammates Scott Selwood and Mitch Duncan, while Matt Crouch got in over brother Brad and Rory Sloane.

In the backline, Jeremy McGovern was stiff as was Jacob Weitering, with Kyle Hartigan's influence in shutting out Kennedy and Heath Grundy's marshalling of the Swans' backline too important to ignore.

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NICK VLASTUIN (Richmond): Played predominantly across half-back, where he was hard in the contest but clean with the ball. Had 22 disposals at nearly 82 per cent efficiency, took eight marks and amassed seven rebounds.

KYLE HARTIGAN (Adelaide): Filled in for the injured Daniel Talia and handled West Coast forward Josh Kennedy well, keeping the spearhead to one goal and denying him a third-straight Coleman Medal. 

JEREMY HOWE (Collingwood): It wouldn't be fair to leave yet another mark of the year contender out of the final team of the season. Howe finished the year on a high – literally – when he planted his feet on Christian Petracca's shoulders in the Pies' win. Took 11 marks all up and had 20 disposals.

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BRENDON GODDARD (Essendon): Patrolled the back half with 32 touches – at an efficiency rate of 84.4 per cent – and took 15 marks, the most of any individual this round. 

HEATH GRUNDY (Sydney Swans): Teamed up with Dane Rampe and Nick Smith to take control of the Blues' forward line, and kept the effectiveness of Levi Casboult and Charlie Curnow well down. Also took eight marks and had 22 touches, as well as 14 intercept possessions. 

MATTHEW BOYD (Western Bulldogs): Saved one of his best for last, sharing top billing possession-wise with Jack Macrae in his first AFL appearance since round 16. Retires after a 33-disposal game where he took a whopping 12 marks, and leaves the League a 292-game premiership player.

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ZACH MERRETT (Essendon): Starred in the Bombers' win that secured them a finals berth with a career-high haul of four goals from 31 touches. Also took six marks and won four clearances in a commanding performance.

MATT CROUCH (Adelaide): It wasn't the Crows' best showing this year, but the Crouch brothers and Rory Sloane weren't disgraced. The younger brother racked up 45 touches – the first time in his career he's surpassed 40 – and narrowly got in ahead of Brad.

DUSTIN MARTIN (Richmond): Best on ground as the Tigers roared into the top four, on the eve of his New Zealand trip where he'll talk over his future with his dad. Had 36 disposals (14 contested) and kicked a thrilling checkside goal to open the final term.

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JAMIE ELLIOTT (Collingwood): Was highly influential in the Pies' upset win over Melbourne, particularly throughout the first half. Finished with 20 disposals, 10 marks and three goals. 

JARRYD ROUGHEAD (Hawthorn): Dominated the Hawks' forward line with five goals, but also collected 19 disposals, 10 marks and six tackles in the win.

BEN BROWN (North Melbourne): Finished his standout season in style with a career-high haul of seven goals. Also gathered 14 disposals and nine marks, proving to be highly influential in the Roos' win.

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SAM GRAY (Port Adelaide): Continued his breakout year as a small forward with a career-best six goals. Also contributed to Port's thumping of Gold Coast with 24 disposals and eight marks.  

LANCE FRANKLIN (Sydney Swans): Claimed his fourth Coleman Medal after a huge haul of 10 goals saw him surge up the leaderboard and overtake Josh Kennedy. If his bag of majors wasn't enough, the powerful forward also collected 25 disposals and took 10 marks in a best-on-ground performance. 

JACOB TOWNSEND (Richmond): Complemented last week's impressive haul of six goals by slotting another five in the Tigers' win over St Kilda. Townsend's successive standout games will definitely bolster his chances of a spot in Richmond's finals side.

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TOM BELLCHAMBERS (Essendon): Was influential at crucial moments with his 38 hit-outs helping the Bombers win the clearance count over Fremantle. Also gathered 16 disposals and took 10 marks.

SAM MENEGOLA (Geelong): Was prolific for the Cats in their dominant midfield and notched a career-high 34 disposals, 15 contested possessions and three goals.

TAYLOR ADAMS (Collingwood): Overall his stats weren't immense, but provided plenty of drive for the Pies with 28 disposals and one goal crucial in their upset win over Melbourne.   

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PATRICK DANGERFIELD (Geelong): Surpassed Swan Josh Kennedy's 2012 contested possessions record of 368 with the 24 he won against the Giants taking him to 386 for the season. Had 33 touches all up and also won 10 clearances in the Cats' win.

ANDREW GAFF (West Coast): Stood up with Sam Mitchell to get the ball moving for the Eagles. Won 32 disposals (11 contested), kicked a goal and took seven marks, while also contributing four clearances.

NAT FYFE (Fremantle): Kicked two and had 24 disposals as the Dockers tried to ruin the Bombers' party at Etihad Stadium. Used the ball well, won six clearances and laid six tackles.

The fans' pick

JOBE WATSON (Essendon): After a slow start, Watson powered home to pinch the Twitter fan vote with 51 per cent over West Coast's Sam Mitchell. Won eight clearances and had 26 disposals against the Dockers in what could have been his last game.