Week three of the 2018 AFL Finals series produced two incredible results, with Collingwood’s Steele Sidebottom (eight votes) and West Coast’s Jack Redden (10 votes) leading their sides to victory, and earning themselves top-billing from the coaches.
Sidebottom had another game to remember as Collingwood put the reigning premiers to the sword to secure their first Grand Final berth since 2011. His game-high 41 disposals, 13 marks and five clearances helped propel the Pies to a memorable 39-point win over Richmond, inflicting the Tigers’ first defeat at the MCG for 2018, and ending their premiership defence.
Sidebottom’s eight votes also see him remain atop the 2018 AFLCA Gary Ayres Award Leaderboard with 23 votes. But Redden’s perfect score sees him sitting in second place on 17 votes, having played one less match.
Redden continued his awesome run of form, leading the charge as the Eagles defeated Melbourne by 66 points to progress through to the 2018 AFL Grand Final. The often underrated Eagle filled up the stat sheet, collecting 31 disposals, taking 13 marks, and laying nine tackles and kicking a goal in a dominant performance, setting the scene for a showdown of the top two players on the leaderboard in the season decider.
Votes for the Gary Ayres Award 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. The award was first introduced by the AFLCA for the 2016 season, and is named in honour of one of the game’s great finals players.