Zero Hanger’s Rolling All-Australian side – Round 18
B: Jake Lloyd | Marc Blicavs | Tom Stewart
HB: Shannon Hurn (C) | Harris Andrews | James Sicily
C: Marcus Bontempelli | Patrick Cripps | Tim Kelly
HF: Dayne Zorko (VC) | Jeremy Cameron | Patrick Dangerfield
R: Brodie Grundy | Lachie Neale | Nat Fyfe
I/C: Max Gawn, Travis Boak, Ben Cunnington, Josh Dunkley
IN: Josh Dunkley (WB)
OUT: Stephen Coniglio (GWS)
Only the one change to our side this week, with the injured Stephen Coniglio likely to miss the remainder of the season, opening up a spot on the wing.
The Western Bulldogs’ rise up the ladder has been on the back of some strong midfield performances. Their heroic star Marcus Bontempelli has kicked the least goals out of anyone in last week’s forward line – so he’s been moved to the vacant wing spot.
Pushing him to a wing might be strange considering it’s rare for him to play there, but Bontempelli’s ability to cover all areas of the ground in season 2019 has been a delight to watch, and there hasn’t been many more deserving of a midfield spot.
Brisbane’s Dayne Zorko continues to provide ferocious pressure within the forward half, leading the league in total tackles inside 50 and total pressure acts. His ability to throw himself on-ball while also troubling the scorers of late has allowed us to move him from the interchange to the forward flank. Since round six, the Queenslander has managed at least a goal in all but one match, helping drive his side inside the top four.
A second Bulldog joins the team this week, with Josh Dunkley filling the vacant bench position. Still severely underrated, Dunkley has played with a chip on his shoulder all year long.
Earlier in the season, he was played out of position – and wasn’t able to take over games like we’ve seen so far in his short, but tantalising career. With a few star on-ballers sidelined, Dunkley has taken it upon himself to become an elite midfielder, creating a 5-star engine room alongside ball magnet Jackson Macrae and Bontempelli.
The 22-year-old is ranked fourth in the league for total tackles, eighth for score involvements, 10th in contested possessions and seventh in total ranking points. After posting video-game numbers last week against the Demons, it became obvious who needed to come in.
A couple names who are threatening to shuffle the back six around – Collingwood’s Jack Crisp and Richmond’s Bachar Houli. The duo are in career-best form, perfecting that ball-carrier roll from the defensive half.
Check back next week to see the changes as we enter the final third of season 2019.