Throughout the 2017 AFL season, the AFLCA will shine a spotlight on the most outstanding players of each week.
Round 8 saw influential performances from St Kilda’s Jack Billings, Greater Western Sydney’s Josh Kelly, Melbourne’s Jack Viney, Fremantle’s Michael Walters and Sydney’s Josh Kennedy drag their clubs over the line, and earn them maximum votes from the coaches. West Coast’s Elliot Yeo is the new leader in the 2017 Shadforth Financial Group AFLCA Champion Player of the Year Award after Round 8, with his five votes against the Western Bulldogs on Friday night enough to overtake Adelaide’s Rory Sloane by one vote.
Billings was the standout performer in his 50th AFL game, having arguably his best performance in a St Kilda jumper. He amassed 30 disposals, 12 marks and five goals as the Saints held off a spirited Carlton side by 19-points, with the win lifting the Saints to sixth on the ladder.
Viney was big at the coalface for the Demons, tallying 30 disposals (15 contested), 12 tackles and a goal as Melbourne upset ladder-leading Adelaide by 41-points. Viney’s tackling pressure helped bring the Demons back from a 22-point deficit in the second quarter, and his side would kick nine unanswered goals to defeat the Crows at Adelaide Oval.
Kelly was the dominant midfielder on the ground as the Giants snatched a last-gasp three-point victory against Collingwood. He notched up 36 disposals, 11 tackles and a goal in a scintillating performance. The win gave Greater Western Sydney their sixth victory of the season, lifting them to second on the ladder.
Walters relished his increased time in the midfield as an after-the-siren goal by David Mundy lifted Fremantle to a two-point win over Richmond. Walters had 38 disposals, seven marks and four tackles as the Dockers survived a late charge from the Tigers to claim their fifth win of the season.
Kennedy was key to the Swans’ 42-point smashing of North Melbourne. The Sydney captain was dominant in racking up 37 disposals (26 of which were in the first half), six tackles and a goal as the Swans chalked up their second win of the season.
A summary of the 2017 Shadforth Financial Group AFLCA Champion Player of the Year Award votes from Round 7 can be seen below: