Player ratings: Sydney Swans vs Hawthorn Hawks, Round 8, 2018

At the ground all I could think was ‘what a bizarre game of footy’. It was tight, tough and at times torrid. Both teams gave their all and, in the end, it took something special from two of the younger players to see the Swans across the line.

Ronke was ridiculously good. That was one of the best individual performances I’ve ever seen, booting 7 goals and laying 10 tackles. You would be hard pressed to find a better small forward performance in the history of AFL/VFL. In any case, he set a record that’s going to stand for a very long time, the first player to kick 7 goals and lay 10 tackles.

His fifth he was legged, almost hit the deck, but steadied and booted it through from 40. His Sixth goal was probably the best, beating three attempted tackles and four Hawthorn players, before turning around and waltzing into an almost open goal. It was clear at the ground that the kid could play, but I did not know how strong he was. He kept his feet, stayed standing while everyone collapsed around him and snagged the goals.

B: Nick Smith, Heath Grundy, Jake Lloyd
HB: Callum Mills, Dane Rampe, Zak Jones
C: Harry Cunningham, Josh P. Kennedy, Isaac Heeney
HF: George Hewett, Tom McCartin, Oliver Florent
F: Will Hayward, Gary Rohan, Tom Papley
FOL: Callum Sinclair, Luke Parker, Kieren Jack
I/C: Jarrad McVeigh, Dean Towers, Ben Ronke, Daniel Robinson

3: Jarrad McVeigh
Another very solid display, finished with 26 disposals and 7 rebound 50s. Showed plenty of poise throughout the game and lead the backline brilliantly.
5: Isaac Heeney
Another superb game, 28 disposals and was influential throughout. Finished with 4 clearances and 7 tackles.
7: Harry Cunningham
Won a heap of his own ball and easily beat Isaac Smith, with 27 disposals, 3 inside 50s and 5 rebound 50s.
9: Will Hayward
3 great goals, kicked the Swans 6th to become their second goal kicker and applied plenty of forward half pressure and provided a good target inside 50.
10: Zak Jones
Great attack on the ball off the half-back flank, provided plenty of thrust and finished with 360 metres gained.
11: Tom Papley
Found himself at all areas of the ground, spending much more time in the midfield than usual. Still finished with 5 score involvements, a goal assist and 190 metres gained.
12: Josh Kennedy
No where near his best and most likely well held by his direct opponent. Most of his disposals was collected, time spent inside the centre square. Still finished with 5 clearances, 5 tackles and 26 pressure acts.
13: Oliver Florent
Definitely his best game to date. Really good inside/outside game, showed plenty of ability winning his own ball and spreading it from the contests. A few turn overs aside, his pressure was right up with 23 acts, 5 clearances and 382 metres gained.
14: Callum Mills
He was OK, finished with 18 disposals, 8 of them intercepts and was typically clean. Pressure was a bit down from where it normally is.
15: Kieren Jack
He needs to clean up his disposal efficiency. He does so much great work, wins his own ball and moves the ball forward quickly and directly, but still turns the ball over way too much and misses too many targets. Still finished with 7 inside 50s, 4 score involvements and a goal assist.
16: Gary Rohan
A game where his stats don't really reflect what he offered his side. His last quarter was crucial, but he did go missing for large parts of the game. Always presented a target though.
18: Callum Sinclair
At times certainly had the numbers on Ben McEvoy, but at the end of the night, McEvoy probably nudges him. 14 disposals and 41 hit outs, had a really good last quarter as well.
22: Dean Towers
Didn't really play a lot of the match and didn't really have much impact when he came on. Played as a CHF and hit a few contests, but really struggled with just 38% disposal efficiency and 3 turnovers from 8 disposals. Still had a goal assist.
24: Dane Rampe
Defensively, not real good, found himself out marked by Gunston (5.3) too many times. When he had the ball he did well, picked up 7 intercept disposals, had 8 one percenters and recorded 381 metres gained.
25: Ben Ronke (R)
One of the best games a small forward has ever played in AFL/VFL history. 7 goals from 11 disposals, 10 tackles, 5 contested possessions, 8 score involvements (including his 7 goals), the game winning contested mark and goal, 26 pressure acts and 176 metres gained. He even set an AFL record for goals kicked and tackles laid in a match.
26: Luke Parker
A really good game, 28 disposals, 4 tackles, 7 clearances and 2 goals, really can't ask for more. He was reported for a hit on Impey but was cleared the following day.
27: Dan Robinson
Played really well and switched around with Hewett on Mitchell and won plenty of his own ball, laying 5 tackles. A massive improvement on the Geelong game.
29: George Hewett
Shut down Mitchell comprehensively and even beat him. 23 disposals, 2 clearances and 7 tackles.
30: Tom McCartin
Really good first game, didn't hit the scoreboard but provided a great target up forward. Plays a bit more like a tall flanker (Gunston 2010) than a full forward. Shame his kicking was wonky at best.
39: Heath Grundy
24 disposals, 8 marks, 2 of them contested and 7 rebound 50s. His disposal efficiency this season has been absurd, going at 92% and picked up ANOTHER 400+ metres gained with 437.
40: Nick Smith
Not bad, not great, defensively at least, but played a good rebounding game. Bruest kicked three goals, but he wasn't on him the whole game. 3 tackles and 5 rebound 50s was a good return.
44: Jake Lloyd
What a game played for his 100th. Kept the ball moving in the midfield and was super clean, going at 72% from 36 disposals, most of those in the defensive half of the ground. 8 intercept disposals, 9 contested possessions, 6 score involvements and 1 goal assist, 12 pressure acts and a whopping 629 metres gained. He would have easily been BOG if it wasn't for the ridiculous game played by Ronke, but should easily get the 8 coaches votes and 2 brownlow votes.

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia

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