The race for the 2018 Shadforth Financial Group AFLCA Champion Player of the Year award has heated up, with a change at the top for the second consecutive week and only four votes separating the top four.
Melbourne’s Max Gawn is the award’s new leader, with the Demon ruckman polling six votes from the respective coaches for his 20 disposals and 42 hit outs on Saturday night. Patrick Cripps and Tom Mitchell, who sit in the top four, failed to poll a vote in Round 16, while Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe, currently in third place, was out injured.
North Melbourne’s Shaun Higgins, who was crowned the June MVP of the Month by the players’ last week, continued his hot form, collecting seven votes for his 26 disposals against the Suns on Sunday to move to fifth place on the leaderboard.
West Coast’s Andrew Gaff kept his chances alive, polling nine votes for his 41 touches and two goals against the Giants, while Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy and Brisbane’s Dayne Beams joined the leaderboard once more after their Round 16 efforts. Grundy collected eight votes for his 24 disposals and eight clearances and Beams polled maximum votes after a 40-disposal, eight-clearance effort against the Blues.
Seven players received maximum votes from the coaches for their performances in Round 16, including Beams, Mitch Duncan (32 disposals, six inside 50s), Steven Motlop (28 touches), Luke Breust (six goals, 24 disposals), Clayton Oliver (35 touches, two goals), Scott Thompson (31 disposals) and Scott Pendlebury (34 touches, 11 clearances).
The AFL Coaches’ Association votes for Round 16 (see every vote from all the rounds so far at AFLCoaches.com.au):
SYDNEY v geelong
10 Duncan (Geel), 8 Kelly (Geel), 5 J. Selwood (Geel), 4 Aliir (Syd), 3 Stewart (Geel)
richmond v adelaide
9 Edwards (Rich), 9 Lambert (Rich), 5 Martin (Rich), 5 Prestia (Rich), 1 Doedee (Adel), 1 Riewoldt (Rich)
brisbane v carlton
10 D. Beams (BL), 8 Hipwood (BL), 4 Cutler (BL), 3 Berry (BL), 2 Gardiner (BL), 2 Hodge (BL), 1 Zorko (BL)
port adelaide v st kilda
10 Motlop (PA), 8 Wingard (PA), 4 Armitage (StK), 3 Steele (StK), 2 Dixon (PA), 2 Westhoff (PA), 1 Rockliff (PA)
western bulldogs v hawthorn
10 Breust (Haw), 4 Smith (Haw), 4 Stratton (Haw), 3 Shiels (Haw), 3 Johannisen (WB), 2 Gunston (Haw), 2 O’Meara (Haw), 1 McEvoy (Haw), 1 Sicily (Haw)
melbourne v fremantle
10 Oliver (Melb), 8 Brayshaw (Melb), 6 Gawn (Melb), 2 Salem (Melb), 2 Viney (Melb), 1 Fritsch (Melb), 1 Hogan (Melb)
north melbourne v gold coast
10 Thompson (NM), 7 Higgins (NM), 5 Cunnington (NM), 3 Brown (NM), 2 Jacobs (NM), 2 Weller (GCS), 1 Tarrant (NM)
essendon v collingwood
10 Pendlebury (Coll), 8 Grundy (Coll), 4 De Goey (Coll), 4 Heppell (Ess), 3 Smith (Ess), 1 Hurley (Ess)
west coast v gws giants
9 Gaff (WCE), 8 Hurn (WCE), 6 Tomlinson (GWS), 3 Redden (WCE), 2 Coniglio (GWS), 1 Naitanui (WCE), 1 Shuey (WCE)
61 — MAX GAWN (MELB)
60 — PATRICK CRIPPS (CARL)
59 — NAT FYFE (FREM)
58 — TOM MITCHELL (HAW)
56 — SHAUN HIGGINS (NM)
53 — STEELE SIDEBOTTOM (COLL)
52 — ANDREW GAFF (WC)
46 — BRODIE GRUNDY (COLL)
45 — TRENT COTCHIN (RICH)
44 — DAYNE BEAMS (BL)