A short and sharp one this week as we approach the home stretch. This week’s list includes a developing side’s new recruit who hasn’t been able to get a regular game plus a Kangaroo veteran back after 3 months on the sidelines.

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BACKS:

Jackson Hately – Adelaide
% oned – 49%
2021 average – 64.
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After joining last year’s wooden spooners in the off season, we had expected to see a lot more of Hately to this point of the season. After leaving GWS for more senior opportunities, Hately has only featured in two AFL games for Adelaide this season as he continues to ply his trade in the SANFL. He laid an impressive 11 tackles across those two games but it wasn’t enough for him to keep his spot in the developing side.

He is averaging 23 disposals and 7 tackles from his 8 matches in the SANFL this season which included an impressive 31 disposal, 8 tackle performance against Sturt a couple of weeks ago. Although he was quiet on the weekend, the injury to Rory Sloane opens the door for Hately’s return to the AFL side and I expect him to make the most of his chance this time.

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MIDFIELD:

Jared Polec – North Melbourne
% owned – 51%
2021 average – 58.3

Polec has been a somewhat polarising figure since his high profile move from Port Adelaide at the end of the 2018 season. He played every game in his first season at North Melbourne (averaging a neat 88.2) but found himself omitted on multiple occasion last year despite regularly being amongst the team’s highest ball-winners. He still managed to average 71.2 (89 adjusted) from 13 matches.

A new coach for season 2021 suggested Polec would be given every chance to recapture his best form this year but he was struck down by a serious hamstring injury in round 3 which also skewed his average (he was averaging 74.5 from his first two games). After 3 months on the sidelines, Polec returned in the VFL on the weekend with 28 disposals and should return to the senior line up this week.

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FORWARD:

Sam Flanders – Gold Coast
% owned – 36%
2021 average – 62.3

In just his second season, Flanders has more than held his own at AFL level well, quietly putting together a solid season playing as a small forward with spurts in the midfield. He isn’t accumulating big disposal numbers just yet with the 20 against North Melbourne the highest he has tallied in a game but in every game he has avoided being a sub, he has laid 2 or more tackles (including 5 tackles three times). One for the future, but with his DPP status, is certainly worth keeping an eye on for the run home.