Week one of the 2018 AFL Finals series saw the cream rise to the top, with immense performances from Richmond’s Dylan Grimes and West Coast’s Elliot Yeo seeing their teams advance, and earning themselves the maximum votes from the coaches.
Grimes was key to the Tigers defensive setup, and was simply unbeatable in one-on-one contests as the Tigers defeated Hawthorn by 31 points. The unsung hero in a star-studded Tigers backline, Grimes did all the dirty work, amassing a game-high 12 one-percenters to go with 12 disposals, helping his side march on to a home preliminary final.
Yeo showed his ability to perform on the big stage in the Eagles’ 16-point victory over Collingwood. In what was a pressure-filled contest from the outset, Yeo showed his class and strength, collecting 36 disposals (24 contested), nine tackles, and nine inside-50s to help West Coast secure another week off before facing either Hawthorn or Melbourne in a preliminary final.
Votes for the Gary Ayres Award are issued after every game of the AFL Finals series by the competing coaches, with each coach providing their 5-4-3-2-1 for the match. The award was first introduced by the AFLCA for the 2016 season, and is named in honour of one of the game’s great finals players.