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Coaches Votes: Round Five

By Abe Spargo, Thursday, Apr 26, 2018

Part 1

With two huge matches still to come in round five, Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe has jumped atop the Shadforth Financial Group 2018 AFLCA Champion Player of the Year leaderboard. 

Carlton prodigy Patrick Cripps also starred, earning ten votes and proving again why he is so highly touted by his coaches and teammates. Ben Cunnington, Paul Seedsman, Touk Miller and Seb Ross also polled perfect tens. 

The Western Bulldogs had no answer for Fyfe’s all round domination on Saturday night as they went down by 54 points in their first game at Optus Stadium. Fyfe had a whopping 43 disposals (21 of those contested), along with 13 clearances and a goal. The weekend marked the second time this year that Fyfe has had over 20 contested possessions and 10 clearances in the same game – a feat only he has achieved – and subsequently the second time he has received maximum votes from the coaches. 

In a competitive Carlton side Patrick Cripps excelled, almost willing his team over the line against heavy favourites West Coast on Saturday afternoon. Despite Cripps collecting 34 disposals, eleven tackles and seven inside-50s, West Coast pulled away in the second half to win by ten points. It was the third time that a player has received the maximum ten votes in a losing team this season, Cripps accounting for two of the three.

North Melbourne shocked the league by defeating a highly rated Hawthorn side on Sunday at Etihad Stadium. North’s game plan held up in the first half and they led by 57 points at the main break with tough midfielder Ben Cunnington being crucial to their success. Despite a late comeback attempt by the Hawks, North won by 28 points and Cunnington was judged best afield by the coaches. After being likened to Carlton great Greg ‘Diesel’ Williams during the week by Danny Frawley, Cunnington collected 30 disposals, six clearances and six tackles along with the ten coaches votes.

Adelaide’s Paul Seedsman thrived in the spotlight of Friday night footy in what was a season defining victory for his club. Seedsman tore up the Sydney midfield with his line-breaking pace and foot skills, earning the ten coaches votes. The speedster played arguably his best game as a Crow finishing with 26 disposals, a match-high 640 metres gained, and a crucial third quarter goal.

In the 15th edition of the Q Clash, Touk Miller’s late game heroics proved enough to help Gold Coast hold on by five points over Brisbane. Miller, who battled hard all game with 21 disposals and seven clearances, executed a match-saving smother to stop Jacob Allison’s goal attempt in the final two minutes of the game. Both coaches acknowledged Miller’s efforts, by rewarding him with the maximum ten votes. 

St Kilda’s Seb Ross returned to his 2017 form as he collected 31 disposals against the Giants on Saturday. The two young teams fought a tight battle under a closed roof at Etihad which resulted in the four points being split. Ross’s brilliance was not underappreciated as he received ten votes from the coaches in what was a pleasing performance for his side.

With the Anzac Eve and Anzac Day matches yet to take place, the final leaderboard for round five is yet to be decided. All Australian ruckman Max Gawn and Richmond Captain Trent Cotchin are primed to make runs towards the top of the leaderboard if they have big games on Monday night. Whilst Brownlow Collingwood pair Steele Sidebottom and Brodie Grundy as well as Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin will attempt to further improve their spots in the race for the Shadforth Financial Group 2018 AFLCA Champion Player of the Year Award.

Part 2

The final two games of round five resulted in a new leader in the race for the Shadforth Financial Group 2018 AFLCA Champion Player of the Year Award. Four of the premier Victorian clubs paid their respects to the Australian service men and women through their fierce play in two high-stakes matches. A perfect ten was given from the coaches in the fourth annual Anzac Eve match between Richmond and Melbourne. Whilst a couple of familiar faces cleaned up the votes when Collingwood took on Essendon in front of 91,440 people in the traditional Anzac Day match.

In a high-pressure game on Anzac Eve, Richmond proved too strong for an out of form Melbourne side. Richmond’s Kane Lambert added to the long list of players to receive a maximum ten votes in round five for his 29 disposals and two goals on Tuesday night. Lambert was central to Richmond’s ball movement, winning the ball both in the clinches (15 contested possessions) and in transition (14 uncontested possessions). Dangerous forward Shane Edwards also played a large role for the Tigers earning seven coaches’ votes. Edwards set up his teammates with two goal assists and collected 26 disposals. 

Anzac Medallist, Adam Treloar, took out the maximum ten votes in what was a great day for the Collingwood football club. Treloar collected an equal game-high 34 disposals and two goals in his side’s convincing 49-point victory. Nathan Buckley’s men were superior through the midfield with Steele Sidebottom (seven votes), Scott Pendlebury (five votes) and Jordan De Goey (three votes) also featuring in the best players. Sidebottom’s seven votes were enough to put him three votes clear of Nat Fyfe atop the leaderboard.