CALLUM MOORE (WANGARATTA)
The league's best player. He played two games for Carlton last year and it's easy to see why. Kicked a goal of the year contender against North Albury when he grabbed the ball on the wing, beat an opponent, had six bounces and kicked a banana. Now we all know North is rebuilding, but it's still a special effort at this level. Importantly, he's also produced against the top sides. When Wangaratta Rovers produced one of the best 20-minute periods we've seen in years, kicking five goals to nil in the second quarter, Moore took a sensational pack mark to at least stem the flow, temporarily. At 193cms, he's just as effective crumbing a goal as he is in the ruck or defence. One opponent privately said he's one of the best athletes he's ever seen at this level. Moore is one of a handful of the league's maximum six-point players and he's been the best of those profile recruits.
FLETCHER CARROLL (ALBURY)
Boasts the league's third-best possession average with 34.8 and sits equal third for contested disposals with 15. Like all boom midfielders, Carroll knows where the ball is and, more importantly, knows how to use it. He's also super fit, which allows him to run some opponents ragged. When you're the team's best player after a 7-0 start, it says everything about the type of form you're in. The son of a gun in former O and M star Nick, Carroll is now making his own name.
ABRAHAM ANKERS (WANGARATTA)
Few players have had the impact the Northern Territory dynamo did in the first two games. He destroyed 2019 finalists Wodonga Raiders and Myrtleford, kicking three goals in each outing. Coach Dean Stone said after the Myrtleford demolition, Ankers is "one of the best we've seen here for 10-15 years". And he was doing that still living in Alice Springs and travelling for matches. Imagine what he will do when he moves to Victoria. Sits just outside the top ten for touches and contested disposals, but still averaging 28.5 and 10.5 respectively. Apart from all his traits - blistering speed, evasiveness etc - it's his ability to finish off and kick goals that stands him above most mids of the past 20 years.
MATT JONES (WANG ROVERS)
It's not often a former AFL player lobs on the league and flies under the radar, but the ex-Melbourne midfielder has done it. The Hawks have a stack of top players, but he's the best. Jones doesn't boast the same numbers as other on-ballers (25.3 disposals), but he doesn't waste it. He snapped the last goal in the blockbuster win over Wangaratta. And in another crucial game, Jones was the best on the ground in the first half against Wodonga Raiders before an Achilles problem slowed his progress.
ANTHONY MILES (ALBURY)
Just edged out by team-mate Fletcher Carroll for the Tigers' best. Sits sixth in the league's average touches with 32.5 (in a wonderful effort, North Albury's Jackson Weidemann leads with 43.3, despite a winless run) and is fifth with contested disposals at 14.5. Miles is just like he was at AFL level, he's not flashy, but he's a wonderful in and under midfielder, is tough and, like all players in the top 10, is a smart player.
JARROD HODGKIN (WODONGA RAIDERS)
Is the reigning Morris Medal winner and his form is at least the equal of that. Rates 10th for possessions at 28.7, but is sixth in contested disposals (12.7). Like Miles, Raiders' coach isn't flamboyant, but he's a clever on-baller who uses the ball well. Was outstanding in the first half against Wangaratta Rovers, racking up 20-plus possessions. That's what you want from your best players in big games, the ability to lead.
TYSON HARTWIG (WANG ROVERS)
The league's best defender. He was when he left after the 2015 season to play in Melbourne, but it's fair to say that the recently turned 33-year-old would have had a few asking if he was still going to be as effective. You bet he is. Hartwig plays with a quiet confidence. He's not a 'showy' player at all, but plays with a composure and belief that he can handle any situation. When Wangaratta was all over the Hawks early in round three, Hartwig was the rock and when Myrtleford had the breeze and looked capable of running over the Hawks last round, the Saints couldn't get past the solidly built defender. The only backman in the top 10 speaks volumes for his skill.
ALSO IN SPORT:
TYLER ROOS (WANG ROVERS)
Not as spectacular as an Ankers, but just has to be in the top 10 on the back of the second highest disposals (42) and top ranking in contested disposals (18.3). A running machine, Roos racks up possessions and makes team-mates better players. Some will argue he should be in the top couple with those stats, but has just the one goal against Lavington, so doesn't match the output of an Ankers (two goals per game) or Carroll (six goals after seven matches).
MATT MUNRO (MYRTLEFORD)
The Saints' most consistent performer. Munro has played plenty of VFL and it shows with a tremendous understanding of the game. But it's his repeat efforts which is the standout. His third and fourth efforts are just as effective as the first. Again, you want key players doing well in critical games and when the Saints hosted premiers Lavington in round three, Munro was outstanding with a number of long runs down the wing before setting up attacking chances. As a five-point player, the former Werribee midfielder is automatically under pressure to perform, but he's lived up to the expectations.
MARTY BRENNAN (LAVINGTON)
Haven't looked anything like the premiers, with questions over whether the flag hangover has stretched over two years. The Panthers naturally say it hasn't, but argue they simply don't have enough players in form. Brennan's the exception and is just outside the top 10 for contested disposals (11.3). He's so versatile, playing on-ball or as a forward.
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