Week two of the 2018 AFL Finals series saw both Melbourne and Collingwood advance to preliminary finals, with Collingwood’s Steele Sidebottom and Melbourne’s Jack Viney leading their sides to victory, and earning themselves the maximum votes from the coaches.
Sidebottom was immense for Collingwood in the pressure-filled semi-final contest against Greater Western Sydney, backing up his stellar season with a masterful performance on the big stage. His equal game-high 31 disposals, six inside 50s and five clearances helped propel the Pies to a 10-point win over the Giants, and will see them take on Richmond in the preliminary final this Friday night.
Sidebottom’s 10 votes also see him shoot to the top of the 2018 AFL Coaches Gary Ayres Award Leaderboard with 15 votes. Richmond’s Dylan Grimes, West Coast’s Elliot Yeo, and Melbourne’s Jack Viney – all with 10 total votes - sit in equal-second place heading into the penultimate weekend of the AFL season.
Viney showed, once again, how valuable he has been since returning from injury, with his strength and creativity key to getting Melbourne over the line by 33 points in front of 90,152 at the MCG. The Demons’ co-captain racked up a game-high 27 disposals, as well as eight clearances, and seven inside 50s to help book his side a ticket to a preliminary final meeting with the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium.