Despite not receiving a single vote on Saturday, Steele Sidebottom’s body of work throughout the first three weeks of finals was enough to secure him the AFL Coaches’ Association’s Gary Ayres Award for 2018.
Sidebottom received 23 votes across the first three weeks of the finals, with his perfect 10 against Richmond for his 41 disposals the highlight of his finals campaign.
The prolific midfielder also polled 10 votes in the Pies’ semi final win over GWS, to go along with three in qualifying final against West Coast.
He joins Sydney’s Josh Kennedy and Richmond’s Dustin Martin as the only winners of the award since its inception in 2016.
Norm Smith Medalist, Luke Shuey, was viewed as the most dominant player on the ground by the coaches on Saturday, securing a perfect 10 for his 34 disposals, nine clearances, eight tackles and a goal.
Dom Sheed, whose goal in the last two minutes proved to be the difference, was awarded with eight votes after his stellar showing for the Eagles.
Collingwood’s Taylor Adams received six votes for his 31 disposals and a goal, which propelled him to second place behind Sidebottom with a total of 18 votes.
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.
AFL Coaches’ Association votes for the Grand Final: (see every vote from all the rounds in 2018 at AFLCoaches.com.au):
WEST COAST V Collingwood
10 Shuey (WCE), 8 Sheed (WCE), 6 Adams (Coll), 4 Barrass (WCE), 2 Langdon (Coll)
23 — STEELE SIDEBOTTOM (COLL)
18 — TAYLOR ADAMS (COLL)
17 — JACK REDDEN (WCE)
10 — DYLAN GRIMES (RICH)
10 — LUKE SHUEY (WCE)
10 — JACK VINEY (MELB)
10 — ELLIOT YEO (WCE)
9 — TOBY GREENE (GWS)
9 — TOM MCDONALD (MELB)
9 — SAM WEIDEMAN (MELB)