Finals are typically known as the time where the cream rises to the top. The pretenders are separated from the contenders and champions rise on the biggest of occasions.
Last year, it was Mason Cox’s out-of-the-blue prelim performance against the Tigers which shocked the AFL world, while Dom Sheed became the toast of Western Australia after his Grand Final heroics.
So who will it be this year? Which player is ready to take their game to the next level this 2019 finals series?
We’ve gone through each finalist and named the player ready to emerge this September.
1. Geelong – Quinton Narkle
Narkle is still a fringe player at the Cats, only playing his first game of the season in Round 21 against North Melbourne.
However, his form over the last three rounds of the season is likely to have secured him a spot in the Cats lineup for their first final against the Magpies on Friday night.
Most recently Narkle shone against Carlton in Round 23, racking up 27 touches and a goal in a dominating performance.
The 21-year-old is a real live wire in a Cats team that at times has lacked the scoreboard impact to back up its rock solid defence.
With speed to burn, Narkle could provide the x-factor needed to break lines during critical phases of the match.
His forward pressure will also suite the intensity of a finals match and his six tackles against the Blues seem to show that he is getting into form at the right time.
Perhaps most surprising about Narkle’s return to in 2019, has been his clearance ability.
The young forward is averaging 5.3 clearances per game since his return this season, placing him in the top 35% of players for this category.
While Narkle may not be one of the A-grade midfielders in Geelong’s side, he may ultimately prove to be the extra edge the Cats require if they are to go all the way in September.