Following the loss of Stef Martin to the Bulldogs in the off-season, 2021 was Oscar’s time to shine as the Lions new number one ruckman… and the ‘Big O’ didn’t disappoint!
Missing just one game, McInerney was a key piece to the dangerous midfield puzzle, racking up a massive 672 hitouts for the season.
Statistically, the only ruckmen more impactful than the 204cm giant were Melbourne Premiership Captain, Max Gawn and West Coast’s Nic Naitanui.
The Big O relished the added responsibility, attending more ruck contests than any other player in the AFL in 2021 while averaging 13 touches a game.
McInerney was rewarded for his consistent season by being awarded the Marcus Ashcroft ‘Most Professional’ Award.
The ever-humble ruckman was quick to take the attention away from himself in his acceptance speech.
“This is an amazing club to be a part of and it’s a great place to go to work,” McInerney said.
“I feel a little bit fraudulent, cause it’s a pretty easy job to copy the amazing leaders we have at the club and copy the actions that they lead by.”
Standout performance: Oscar Downs the Suns
The Big O was a force to be reckoned with in Round 19.
Off the back of two shock losses to both St. Kilda and Richmond, the Lions found themselves down by 27-points at halftime against the Suns.
Enter Oscar, who took it upon himself to turn the tide. The ‘Big O’ finished with a whopping 39 hitouts, 18 disposals and a career-high 12 clearances, leading the Lions to a 49-point win.
He was also a silver lining in the Lions Round 20 loss to Hawthorn, finishing with a career-high 46 hit-outs.
McInerney now sits in the ‘elite’ category in clearances, hitouts and hitouts to advantage.
It’s scary to think that this was only his first season at the ruck helm. Lions fans will be excited to see what 2022 holds.
Disposals - 13.1 (above-average)
Total Clearances - 5.5 (elite)
Hitouts - 29.2 (elite)
Hitouts to Advantage - 9.4 (elite)
Marks - 2.3