The first round of votes in the AFL Coaches’ Association Gary Ayres Award has resulted in the coming-of-age for a young Demon forward.
Playing in the club’s first finals campaign in 12 years, Sam Weideman was named as the best player on the ground in Melbourne’s triumphant victory against Geelong on Friday night, collecting nine votes from the coaches for his 24 disposals and three goals.
The coaches were in agreeance after Thursday night’s finals series opener, with Richmond’s Dylan Grimes polling maximum votes for 12 disposals, 12 one-percenters and two contested marks against the Hawks.
And Elliot Yeo took the chocolates in Saturday night’s Qualifying Final encounter, polling maximum votes for his 36-disposal, 24-contested possession effort in the game of the round against Collingwood.
Votes for the Gary Ayres Award are issued for every game of the final series by the competing coaches on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis.
The award was introduced by the AFLCA for the 2016 season, with Josh Kennedy (2016) and Dustin Martin (2017) the only recipients, and is named in honour of one of the game’s great finals players.
Gary Ayres won five premierships with Hawthorn between 1983 and 1991, claiming the 1986 and 1988 Norm Smith medals in the process.
The AFL Coaches’ Association votes for the first week of finals (see every vote from all the rounds in 2018 at AFLCoaches.com.au):
richmond v hawthorn
10 Grimes (Rich), 7 Martin (Rich), 4 Prestia (Rich), 4 Rioli (Rich), 3 Mitchell (Haw), 2 McIntosh (Rich)
melbourne v geelong
9 Weideman (Melb), 8 Harmes (Melb), 4 Gawn (Melb), 4 Oliver (Melb), 3 T. McDonald (Melb), 2 Brayshaw (Melb)
gws giants v sydney
9 Greene (GWS), 8 Davis (GWS), 7 Ward (GWS), 4 Himmelberg (GWS), 1 Coniglio (GWS), 1 Whitfield (GWS)
west coast v collingwood
10 Yeo (WCE), 7 Redden (WCE), 5 Adams (Coll), 5 Sidebottom (Coll), 2 McGovern (WCE), 1 Sier (Coll)
10 — DYLAN GRIMES (RICH)
10 — ELLIOT YEO (WC)
9 — TOBY GREENE (GWS)
9 — SAM WEIDEMAN (MELB)
8 — JAMES HARMES (MELB)
8 — PHIL DAVIS (GWS)
7 — DUSTIN MARTIN (RICH)
7 — JACK REDDEN (WC)
7 — CALLAN WARD (GWS)
5 — TAYLOR ADAMS (COLL)
5 — STEELE SIDEBOTTOM (COLL)