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Player ratings: Which Bulldog was rated most influential in the Grand Final?

Dinny Navaratnam (AFL Media)  October 5, 2016 8:55 AM

Match Highlights: 2016 AFL Grand Final Watch the match highlights from the Bulldogs' historic second premiership win.

THE NORM Smith Medal was awarded to Jason Johannisen on Saturday, Tom Boyd was considered unlucky, while others said Sydney Swans midfielder Josh Kennedy was best on ground. 

Ultimately it was another Bulldog who flew under the radar despite a stellar performance.

Marcus Bontempelli was considered the game's most influential player by the Schick AFL Player Ratings.

The superstar onballer, who also spent time as his side's deepest forward, collected 22 disposals in what was rated his best game for the season.

While five of his teammates picked up more touches, it was the quality of Bontempelli's work that made his performance exceptional.

He distributed his 14 kicks with perfect efficiency, including an exquisite pass to Boyd early in the second term. Bontempelli stepped around ruckman Sam Naismith and kicked the ball 45m off one step to the tiny section of the ground where Boyd had the advantage on his opponent Heath Grundy, while ensuring the ball stayed in play. Boyd snapped the goal with his left foot.

Bontempelli averaged 35.1 metres gained with each kick – No.1 for the game. All but two of those went to someone in the forward half of the ground.

He did plenty of work in the clinches as well. The All Australian won 11 contested possessions, seven tackles and nine hit-outs. His role as third-man up in the ruck helped clear the ball from congestion.

The architect behind the player ratings system, Champion Data's Karl Jackson, said Bontempelli's all-round game meant he usually had a large impact on matches.

"His Grand Final is the perfect representation of how he plays. No weaknesses and does everything well without needing to get 30-plus disposals," Jackson said. 

"He wins his own ball, breaks pressure, is a good ball user, is direct (doesn’t kick backwards) and puts pressure on.

"When he takes possession, his first movement is always into space, which gives him an extra half-second to identify the best option and helps him turn high pressure situations into uncontested situations."