Gary Ayres Award (Best Finals Player)

The AFL Coaches Association Gary Ayres Award is presented in recognition of the player who has been adjudged as the best player throughout the AFL Finals series, as voted by the coaches on a weekly basis throughout the duration of the AFL Finals Series. 

Votes are issued after every game of the AFL Finals series by the competing coaches, with each coach providing their 5-4-3-2-1 for the match. 

From 2022 any AFL Grand Final votes issued will receive 1.5 times loading.


Gary Ayres was a member of 5 Hawthorn premiership teams – 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, and 1991 and is a two time Norm Smith Medallist, adjudged best on ground in 1986 and 1988.

Ayres coached 223 AFL games between 1995 and 2004: 116 with Geelong and 107 with Adelaide.


2023 Sam Walsh (Carlton)  
2022 Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong Cats)  
2021 Jack Macrae (WESTERN BULLDOGS)  
2020 Dustin Martin (Richmond)  
2019 Dustin Martin (RICHMOND)  
2018 Steele Sidebottom (COLLINGWOOD)  
2017 Dustin Martin (Richmond)  
2016 Josh Kennedy (Sydney Swans)