With little movement at the top of the Shadforth Financial 2018 AFLCA Champion Player of the Year leaderboard, it was an impressive Melbourne outfit that stole the show in round ten. The Demons and Angus Brayshaw ran riot in Alice Springs, putting the rest of the competition on notice that they have arrived. Josh Caddy was telling for the Tigers as they bounced back after a poor loss in Perth last week. Dayne Beams courageously overcame adversity for his Lions, and Andrew Gaff and the Eagles continued to turn heads with another victory.
Josh Caddy continued his career-best season, starring for Richmond in their 28-point defeat of St Kilda at the MCG on Saturday. In the absence of Jack Riewoldt, Caddy stood up, booting a massive six goals and collecting 24 disposals. Both coaches recognised Caddy’s performance giving him best on ground honours with ten votes. Richmond were also bolstered by the leadership of skipper, Trent Cotchin (32 disposals, eight coaches votes) whose individual efforts fuelled the Tigers to a massive second-half effort.
Dayne Beams responded flawlessly to the tough week he endured with an inspiring 38 disposals for Brisbane, albeit still not enough to get the win. The wet conditions had no effect on Beams’ ability to win the ball – he was clean when others fumbled – as he earned maximum ten coaches votes. The young Lions’ woes in front of goal saw them fall short by 18 points against a seasoned Sydney outfit.
Andrew Gaff cut up Hawthorn with his class and run on Sunday under the roof at Etihad. Gaff and the Eagles proved once again that they can win away from Perth, defeating the Hawks by 15 points. The Hawks had no answer for Gaff – he found the ball 35 times and delivered it to a teammate at an 80 percent clip. Gaff surprisingly also had a game-high twelve marks on his way to ten coaches votes.
In-form Melbourne midfielder Angus Brayshaw continued his stellar season as the Demons derailed a disappointing Adelaide side in Alice Springs by 91 points. The Demons were better all over the ground, particularly in the midfield where Brayshaw had a career-best 37 disposals at an impressive 81 percent disposal efficiency. Brayshaw (ten votes) was also able to sneak forward for three goals, elevating himself to the best player on the ground in the eyes of the coaches. Other solid contributors for Melbourne included Michael Hibberd (23 disposals), Jess Hogan (five goals) and skipper Jack Viney (35 disposals, 20 contested) in just his second game after returning from a foot injury – all earning four coaches votes apiece.
At the conclusion of round ten it is still Nat Fyfe who sits comfortably at the top of the leaderboard with 51 votes after polling three votes in Fremantle’s loss to North Melbourne. Carlton prodigy Patrick Cripps (46 votes) improved his position to second place after polling eight votes in his side’s loss to Geelong. Whilst Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn and Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin hold down equal third place on 45 votes apiece.