Mid West talent in the AFL had a big weekend of footy, with local players finding themselves in the thick of the action in a round to remember. It is only round two, but Carlton skipper and Northampton-bred superstar Patrick Cripps would be virtually guaranteed to be leading the Brownlow Medal, with his second best-on-ground in a row. Thursday night’s gritty win is the first time in a decade that Carlton have won the first two games of a season. Leading from the front, Cripps kicked two goals and amassed 35 disposals and 11 clearances in the Blues’ impressive 12-point win against last year’s grand finalists, the Western Bulldogs. Hindered by injury in previous seasons, Cripps keeps proving why he can lay claim to being the AFL’s best player when fit and healthy. Carlton’s fill-in coach Ash Hansen — who stepped in to replace Michael Voss in the box due to COVID health and safety protocols — was full of praise post-match for the on-field leader who is back to his dynamic best. “He’s (Cripps) playing his role for the team pretty well and he’s just been a sensational leader through action and the work he’s been doing behind the scenes that many don’t see,” he said. “The selfless nature of his game has never been greater. As much as he had centre bounce clearances, there were some fantastic blocks in there, which allowed others to really dominate and get field positions, so he’s certainly got a lot of support around him at the moment and he’s really buying into sharing the workload.” In the Sydney versus Geelong game on Friday night, Mid West product Logan McDonald didn’t kick a goal and had only six disposals, but he was on hand to witness a historic moment — his mentor Lance “Buddy” Franklin becoming only the sixth player in history to kick 1000 goals, sparking wild scenes in a mass crowd invasion. McDonald has previously spoken of wanting to be as close to the action as possible when Franklin kicked his milestone goal and how much he looks up to the Sydney superstar. “It’ll be something I never forget — even though it’s not my moment,” he said. McDonald last week signed a two-year contract extension, which will keep him at the Swans until at least the end of the 2024 season. The 19-year-old, touted as the future of the Swans’ forward line in a post-Buddy era, comes from three generations of players at Coorow Latham and also played juniors in Carnarvon. The Claremont recruit was picked at No.4 in the 2020 draft. Geraldton’s high-flying export Liam Ryan was a lively threat during West Coast’s gallant 15-point loss to North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Sunday. It was an honourable loss considering how undermanned the Eagles were, with 14 changes due to COVID protocols and injury — making the team that took the field virtually unrecognisable. Ryan, who played his first game for 2022 after missing the season opener last week due to COVID protocols, was among West Coast’s best, collecting 17 disposals. But he was errant in front of goal, kicking three behinds. His fellow forward livewire Willie Rioli had his radar firing, kicking four goals. It was the first game the pair had played together in two years, after Rioli’s return from suspension for tampering with a drug test, and they linked up well.