Round 16 saw seven players stand above the rest, with Geelong’s Mitch Duncan, Brisbane’s Dane Beams, Port Adelaide’s Steven Motlop, Hawthorn’s Luke Breust, Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver, North Melbourne’s Scott Thompson and Collingwood’s Scott Pendlebury earning the maximum votes from the coaches. But it was Max Gawn’s six votes against Fremantle that had the most impact, with the Melbourne big man taking the lead in the 2018 Shadforth Financial Group AFLCA Champion Player of the Year Award. Gawn now leads by one vote from Carlton’s Patrick Cripps, with Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe and Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell also within three votes of the lead.
Duncan was unstoppable in the midfield, as he collected 32 disposals, six inside-50s and five clearances in Geelong’s 12-point win over Sydney. The win kept the Cats in the thick of the finals conversation, joining three other teams with nine wins, and taking seventh spot on the ladder.
Beams was immense for the Lions on his way to collecting 40 disposals (20 contested), eight inside-50s, eight clearances and kicking a goal in Brisbane’s 65-point demolition of Carlton. The former skipper’s strength in the contest and classy ball use was key to his side’s victory, and sees them jump above cross-town rivals Gold Coast on the AFL ladder.
Motlop had arguably his best game in Port Adelaide colours as he secured 28 disposals, seven inside-50s and six tackles. The former-Cat used his pace and skill to drive the ball forward on several occasions, with the performance earning him a perfect score from the coaches in the Power’s 36-point win over St Kilda.
Breust starred for the Hawks, booting six goals as well as having 24 disposals, seven tackles and taking eight marks to lead Hawthorn’s second half scoring spree in their 63-point win over the Western Bulldogs. The star premiership Hawk had four goals in the first quarter in a vintage performance that showcased not just his ability to get on the scoreboard, but also his pressure and strength in the air.
Oliver had another impressive performance for the Demons, this week racking up 35 disposals (19 contested), seven inside-50s, and seven tackles, as well as kicking two goals in Melbourne’s 54-point victory over Fremantle. The industrious ball-winner was crucial in the Demons’ engine room, with his work in tight securing him a perfect score from the coaches.
Thompson dominated in the back half, collecting 31 disposals, taking nine marks and applying seven one-percenters in North Melbourne’s 37-point win over the Gold Coast. The veteran defender was a crucial cog for the Kangaroos, helping repel a spirited challenge from the Suns, and securing himself a perfect 10 votes from the coaches along the way.
class and determination when the game was there to be one as he amassed 34
disposals (19 contested), 11 clearances and laid nine tackles to will his
Collingwood side over the line by 16 points over Essendon. The five-time
All-Australian, and 2013 AFLCA Champion Player of the Year, seized control of
the midfield in the last quarter to help the Pies move back into second spot on
the AFL ladder.