Round 17 saw four players earn a perfect-10 votes from the coaches, with Melbourne’s Max Gawn, Essendon’s Dyson Heppell, Greater Western Sydney’s Callan Ward and West Coast’s Jeremy McGovern standing out among their peers.
Gawn’s perfect score against the Western Bulldogs ensured that he retains his overall lead in the 2018 Shadforth Financial Group AFLCA Champion Player of the Year Award. But big games from Carlton’s Patrick Cripps (eight votes versus St Kilda), and North Melbourne’s Shaun Higgins (six votes versus Sydney) see them round out the top-three hot on the heels of the Melbourne big man.
Gawn continued his stellar season with another team lifting performance against the Western Bulldogs. The Brownlow fancy dominated the ruck — amassing 41 hitouts — but also was influential around the ground as he collected 17 disposals and took seven marks to help Melbourne defeats the Bulldogs by 50 points.
Heppell produced the perfect captain’s game to help his Essendon side fight off a spirited Gold Coast effort in the first half. The Bombers captain had 36 disposals (including a game-high 15 contested possessions), took five marks, and laid five tackles as the Bombers defeated the Suns by 44 points.
Ward was another captain hell-bent on putting his team on his back, as the Greater Western Sydney gun helped his side to a memorable two-point win over ladder leading Richmond. A huge stat line, including 32 disposals (19 contested), 11 clearances and six inside-50s propelled the Giants to what could be a season defining win, and leaves them in seventh spot on the AFL ladder.
was an unbreakable wall in the back line for West Coast, as they defeated
Collingwood at the MCG for the first time since 1995. The two-time
All-Australian defender was at the top of his game in collecting 22 disposals
and taking 12 marks (four contested) as the 35-point victory sent the Eagles to
outright second on the AFL ladder.