Preliminary final week is arguably the biggest week of footy for the year, the opportunity to qualify for the big dance.
Over the years we have seen some truly incredible individual performances during the penultimate week of the season.
Anthony Koutoufidies in 1999 against the Bombers, Jarryd Roughhead against the Power in 2014 and who can forget Gary Ablett against the Pies in 2007.
Performances that carried their team to victory, now we look at the 10 best performances from the 2020 preliminary final weekend.
10. Connor Rozee (Port Adelaide)
The second-year star has dimmed his lights a touch this year compared to the lofty standards he set in 2019, however, when the big stage arrived, Rozee stepped up. Two brilliant goals were the trademark of the mercurial forwards game, suspect he will play a big role in some big finals going forward.
9. Brandan Parfitt (Geelong)
It wasn’t Parfitt’s best game by numbers by any means, but his composure with ball in hand when the game was in the balance was brilliant. In last years preliminary final he looked a tad overwhelmed and didn’t handle the pace of the game, but this year he showed his improvement and was a key in the Cats win.
8. Dustin Martin (Richmond)
Not at his best Dusty but he’s a big game player who knows how to pick a moment, he started like a house on fire and booted two first-half goals to keep the Tigers in-touch when Port had the momentum.
7. Mitch Duncan (Geelong)
Arguably the games most underrated player, Duncan has had an unbelievable finals series. He again stepped up in the crunch and in a game where the ball was red-hot, his class and poise with ball-in-hand was key to separating the two teams.
6. Kane Lambert (Richmond)
Lambert has been one of the Tigers most important players in their period of dominance, he didn’t have his best night but he came up big in the clutch, booting two goals that proved to be the game winners. His snap from the boundary after a controversial free-kick will live in the memory of Tigers fans forever should they win next week.
5. Brad Ebert (Port Adelaide)
Ebert’s last act of his AFL career was typical of the courage Ebert has displayed for his whole career, going back with the flight of the ball and spoiling a certain mark for Jack Riewoldt, saving a goal. But his game leading up to that point was superb, he was tough and did everything he could to get his team over the line.
— AFL (@AFL) October 16, 2020
4. Gary Ablett (Geelong)
Class is permanent, as age catches up with our games champions the best have the ability to harness their best. They may not be able to dominate a whole game but when the moment calls for it, they step up and show us a glimpse of their best.
Ablett did so, he wasn’t ready to bow out just yet and his third quarter was huge, his two goals were crucial. The second of which is trademark Gary Ablett, a running goal from outside 50 wound the clock back. His third quarter allowed the Cats to hold off a Brisbane come back.
2️⃣ crucial goals
7️⃣ score involvements
— AFL (@AFL) October 17, 2020
3. Gary Rohan (Geelong)
Rohan’s performance was made all the bigger by his poor finals record. He has struggled to find his best or any form really when it comes to the finals, but on Saturday night he played like a man possessed.
He was not going to let that record get the better of him. That takes a lot of mental strength and his three goals were just reward for hard work.
2. Tom Hawkins (Geelong)
Hawkins has recovered from a poor first final in fine fashion in the last fortnight. While he only booted 2 goals, he kept Brisbane defender Harris Andrews busy which allowed Geelong’s other forwards to get in on the act. The role Hawkins played was crucial in the Cats victory.
Toby Nankervis (Richmond)
The big ‘Nank’ came up strong when his team needed him, dominating the airways late in the game and provided a level of safety the Tigers defence needed as the Power peppered the forward half.
— Ryan Long (@ryanlong1297) October 17, 2020
He clunked some big grabs including a game-winner in the final minute. With no Ivan Soldo, Nankervis has had to step up and boy has he, a huge boost going into next week’s decider.