In Round 22 of the 2023 AFL season, Jezza stormed back into form but couldn't drag the Cats over the line, and a retiring veteran almost had the perfect send off, but a last-minute decision might have cost Luke Beveridge's Dogs a finals berth. Here's whose stocks are up and down.
Our footy experts cast their eye over the week's action to find out whose stocks are up -- whether it's a coaching masterstroke or a player having a blinder -- and whose are down. Every club features, so jump ahead to your team below (desktop only).
Stocks up: The 2023 season might be all but over for the Crows, but what they've dished up over the last month or so has to have you bullish about their 2024 prospects. That's right, stocks in Adelaide's 2024 season are soaring. This team has made great progress over the last two years and will be in the mix for finals a year from now. Mark it down!
Stocks down: They're good. The Crows are a good team. But you don't become better than good unless your away record -- and record against the teams above you on the ladder -- stacks up. The simple reality is Adelaide has failed each and every substantial litmus test it has faced when fronting up against this year's contenders away from home; gallant against the Dees, Lions, and Pies (twice). But honourable losses won't get you into finals. September or fail in 2024.
Stocks up: It's been somewhat of a down year for the uber talented Hugh McCluggage but if he's hitting top form in the final month of the home and away season that has to excite Lions fans. McCluggage had 28 disposals, eight clearances and a game-high 10 score involvements, as well as two goals, in Brisbane's impressive win over the Crows at the Gabba. He could hold the key for September success.
Stocks down: Important forward Jack Gunston was subbed out of the game after twisting his knee when copping a tackle during the second quarter of their win against the Crows. The vision isn't appropriate for those that are squeamish, and the initial fears of Gunston missing the remainder of the season are warranted. Nonetheless, our fingers are crossed he still has a part to play.
Stocks up: Many were quick to label Patrick Cripps' 2023 campaign a disaster when the Blues had lost six straight and looked like finishing a mile outside the top eight. But it's only fair last year's Brownlow medallist is given his flowers, having been the catalyst of a stunning turnaround that's seen his side win eight straight games. Cripps again played a vital role in the latest win, tallying 29 disposals, 10 contested possessions and kicking a goal against the Demons.
Stocks down: Wow! What an epic game at the MCG! The Blues held on but Blake Acres would surely want his time again after launching a ball high into the middle of the ground as the Demons were pressing for what would have been a go-ahead, match-winning goal. Take it wide. Every. Single. Time.
Stocks up: Josh Daicos may have just put together a career game, in what is clearly his career season, against the Cats. The smooth-moving wingman owned his half of the MCG on Friday night and it was somewhat head-scratching Chris Scott didn't clamp down on the Star Pie. Daicos, who is arguably now the league's best in his position, finished with 38 disposals (31 effective), seven marks, eight score involvements, and 564 metres gained. His ball use is elite, and his vision against Geelong was second-to-none.
Stocks down: Collingwood's forward mix isn't bad per se, but it's not ideal that we're approaching Round 23 and it seems Craig McRae still doesn't quite know what his best mix looks like. Jeremy Howe was swung forward late in the Carlton game when the Pies were chasing, and did so effectively kicking three majors, but spent the entire match in the forward half against the Cats as the Pies trial a new mix without usual mainstays Mason Cox and Ash Johnson. He was solid, too. Jack Ginnivan also came into the game as sub and made a positive impact inside forward 50. But with players succumbing to injury, including star defender Darcy Moore, and a couple on their way back into the team, does McRae persist with this new-look offense? It's a question he'd rather not have to answer (or already know the answer to) this late in a season.
Stocks up: Who said the All-Australian wing slots were already sewn up by Josh Daicos and Errol Gulden? Nic Martin reminded selectors of his value in what was the best performance of his blossoming career. Martin joined the illustrious 30 and three club, starring in the win over North Melbourne. He also had nine score involvements and over 500 metres gained.
Stocks down: If the Bombers want to play finals and have success beyond 2023, they need to find a way to have their premier key forward engaged throughout four quarters. Sure, Kyle Langford can be a hard-to-stop support act, Sam Weideman or Harry Jones a genuine second tall, but dominant forwards are hard to come by, so one touch in the first term, and just one in the fourth, isn't a good enough output from Peter Wright, whose two majors came in the third term.
Stocks up: It's an obvious choice but a worthwhile one. Lachie Schultz might be one of the more unheralded small forwards in the game but boy can he play! The Docker was declared best afield in the derby demolition, kicking five goals from his 24 disposals, as well as picking up 10 contested possessions and 11 score involvements.
Stocks down: The idea that teams need two ruckmen was again made foolish after Luke Jackson's exceptional performance against the cross-town rivals. Jackson had 19 possessions, 26 hitouts, five tackles and a goal, and continues to thrive in the number one role without the currently-injured Sean Darcy taking his minutes away.
Stocks up: That's more like it! We've been the first ones to criticise Jeremy Cameron after a mediocre (by his standards, at least) middle section of the season followed his barnstorming entry into 2023, where talks of a 100-goal season were genuinely warranted. His starring seven-goal performance against the Magpies was his equal-biggest haul in four years, and it's fair to say Jezza is back. The premiership Cat finished with 7.4 from a whopping 11 scoring shots.
Stocks down: One of those seven majors, though, has had all the gloss it deserves taken off it given the controversial circumstances that led to the finish. Brad Close was stood out of bounds in the forward pocket before handballing off to his left-footed spearhead, who was also stood out of bounds. Cameron snapped a ripping sixth goal, enraging Collingwood fans across the country, with the AFL on Saturday confirming the umpiring error and that a throw-in should have ensued. Still, can we take a second to marvel at Cameron's finish? Pwoah.
This was NOT called out of bounds ... and Jeremy Cameron made the most of his chance, booting his fifth goal 🥾— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) August 11, 2023
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Stocks up: Well, it's another year without finals, another year with a coaching change, and another year filled with, teasing, overachieving, and underwhelming all in one. But at least the Suns still have a future with Noah Anderson (22 touches, five tackles, one goal) and Matt Rowell (25, 11 score involvements, nine clearances) to look forward to, the duo finishing with 21.2 and 19 rating points respectively against the Swans - more than any other player on the ground.
Stocks down: Defensively, the Suns are really struggling. For the fourth time in seven games Gold Coast allowed 100 points to be scored against them. That's far too many points, particularly when you win the inside 50 count 54-52. Really need to tighten up in this area if there is to be a significant jump in 2024.
Stocks up: It was a contrasting evening for two Giants key forwards, but Jake Riccardi certainly was one of the Giants' best on the night. Accurate with his shots at goal, he kicked 4.1 from areas of varying difficulty, while he also took two contested marks. Remember, he's just 23 years of age - and had a bright future.
Stocks down: Key forwards really only have one important job - kick goals, with the key work being kick. But Jesse Hogan managed just one kick on Sunday evening against the Power. One kick, one goal, eight handpasses. It wasn't his worst outing by any means, but, use the footy, Jesse!
Stocks up: Take a bow, Jai Newcombe! The young Hawk pit on an absolute clinic in his 50th AFL game, finishing his afternoon in Tasmania with a career-high 40 disposals, 12 marks, 10 contested possessions, 10 score involvements and 500 metres gained. Just a phenomenal effort from the 22-year-old.
Stocks down: We hate to speculate but could this be career-ending for Chad Wingard? The Hawthorn forward suffered a suspected Achilles injury in the early stages of Sunday afternoon's game against the Bulldogs and, if confirmed, he's likely miss all of 2024. The 30-year-old's best footy is clearly behind him and he's never felt like someone who would go around year after year. Stay tuned on this one.
Stocks up: We did like the game of returning star midfielder Clayton Oliver, who's only going to be better for the run after facing the Blues off a 12-round absence. Oliver was thrown straight back into the thick of things, with 14 own his 27 possessions contested, and 13 tackles and 10 clearances also filling up his stats sheet.
Stocks down: Yes, he was named Melbourne's best player in the AFL's official match report, but when you're picking up 31 disposals and using it ineffectively nearly 20 times, we're gonna let you know about it. Jack Viney finished up with 12 clangers at the MCG, and a disposal efficiency of 38%. Yikes! Also, what's with giving Brodie Grundy just 60% game time? You either want him or you don't, Dees.
Stocks up: It was almost a fitting, fairytale farewell for Kangaroos veteran Ben Cunnington. Almost! Still, he retired as one of the more respected, no-nonsense players of the modern era after kicking two goals and winning 16 contested possessions in a narrow loss to the Bombers on Saturday afternoon. What's more? He visibly enjoyed himself in the cut and thrust on Saturday. Enjoy retirement, Ben.
Stocks down: Speaking of North veterans who are on the brink of retirement... Jack Ziebell. Not for the first time this year Ziebell made a pair of mistakes in the dying stages of a game the Roos were in up to their eyeballs. He's supposed to be offering a cool head and calming presence in the backline but what he delivered was anything but.
Stocks up: Now that right there is brilliant, the throwback 'tri bolt' guernsey the Power elected to wear for its Round 22 clash with the Giants. Port Adelaide donned the nostalgic kit for the first time since 2003 as part of their retro round, and as much as their adoring fans have an obsession (highly warranted, by the way) with the old prison bar strip, there's just something about the tri-coloured thunderbolt that really stands out. Ripping design, maybe their best ever, and the more teal the better, we say.
Stocks down: He started brightly - very brightly, with a goal in the opening minutes of the game, but Ollie Lord managed just three touches and three hitouts from 83% game time, leaving a little to be desired.
Stocks up: Providing drive out of defence all day, Jayden Short was one of Richmond's best, gathering 26 disposals (21 kicks) at 84%, a game-high727 metres gained, and nine rebound 50s. Shoutout to Jacob Bauer, too, who provided a spark throughout the afternoon, kicking two majors in his third game.
Stocks down: Richmond at Marvel, it turns out it wasn't just a Damien Hardwick thing. In their past two games at Docklands, the Tigers have now lost by a total of 91 points, while their defeat at the hands of the Suns earlier this year at the same venue means it's three losses from three attempts for the season. The Tigers have in fact now not won in eight straight matches at the venue - a shock reality for a Victorian-based club.
Stocks up: There's been no shortage of ruckmen put their name forward as the number one big man in the game this season, and although he hasn't gone under the radar as such, Rowan Marshall is quietly having one of the more dominant rucking seasons, even compared to All-Australian fancy Tim English. Marshall was on fire early to help set the Saints on their way against the Tigers, and finished his Sunday afternoon with 23 disposals, 20 hitouts, nine marks and a goal. Max King should also give Ross Lyon plenty of confidence his side can cause a stir in September (if they make it from here, that is), the key forward slotting six goals from just eight touches - crazy efficiency!
Stocks down: It wasn't the most effective game from electric small forward Dan Butler, who had just nine touches and seven clangers, and the lowest disposal efficiency on the ground (44%). With 29 possessions and six goals from his previous two matches, it is just an outlier, but it was still the least effective game by any Saint on the field ratings points wise - including the sub!
Stocks up: You know whose name hasn't once been discussed in coach of the year debates? John Longmire. The long-time Sydney coach was under all sorts of pressure after the most underwhelming of starts to the season but to climb back into finals contention and manage one of the longest injury lists in the league is some sort of effort. Could the Swannies, like last year, be hitting their straps when it matters?
Stocks down: Was the Buddy retirement announcement too soon? The Swans are well and truly off the canvas and could be in contention for another finals series. And if that was the case, is there anyone else you'd rather run out with than the big 'Bud'?
Stocks up: Stocks up? After that? Really? Nah, the Eagles just suffered their biggest ever derby defeat. Embarrassing.
Stocks down: Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for West Coast's season, they have a player nearly breaking anti-doping laws. Brady Hough was withdrawn from the match just moments before the first bounce after he had taken too many puffs of Ventolin due to being struck with the flu during the week. "I don't know if six is the limit of puffs you can have ... he had more than six today," coach Adam Simpson said.
Stocks up: Is Tom Liberatore the key to the Bulldogs? The Dogs were crusing when he was subbed out with a concussion, and after that point the Dogs managed 5.6 to Hawthorn's 7.6 as the Hawks produced a strong comeback against a contender. Of course, it's not that simple, but Liberatore is having an All-Australian-calibre season, and losing that impact and influence around the contest can't be understated. Ultimately, the Dogs lost the clearances -6, contested ball -13, and the game by three points. Read into that what you will.
Stocks down: The game-on-the-line play for the Bulldogs on Sunday cannot be one ever used again by Luke Beveridge. You'd also hope it wasn't part of the plan. With the Dogs needing a goal to win, Tim English took the kick-in from full back, loped away, had a couple of unsure bounces before kicking to a one-on-one contest, at which it was turned over - effectively ending the game. It was difficult to watch and maybe, just maybe, it could cost them a place in finals. Best summed up in the humourous edit (sorry, Dogs fans) below.
Someone had to pic.twitter.com/vP6HLFBa9Q— Michael (@MWL152) August 13, 2023