- by Abe Spargo
Round seven sees five perfect tens, an upset in Sydney and a new leader.
There were five perfect tens given out by the coaches in round seven of the 2018 AFL Premiership season. Nat Fyfe was dominant for Fremantle, joining Tom Mitchell at the top of leaderboard. James Sicily proved he can be a vital player if he can steer clear of suspension for Hawthorn. Jack Macrae, Richard Douglas and Dayne Zorko also had dominant games for their respective sides in the middle of the ground and up forward.
Nat Fyfe was the dominant player on the ground despite his side being thrashed by Richmond by 77 points on Sunday afternoon. Fyfe stood up when the ball needed to be won, collecting 33 disposals – 26 of them contested. The skipper also won the ball in the air taking six contested marks on the way to his third ten-vote performance this season. Fremantle looked a chance to run over the top after kicking the only three goals of the third quarter, before Richmond’s eight-goal final quarter stamped their authority on the game. Kane Lambert (25 disposals and two goals) and Alex Rance (20 disposals and eight marks) were awarded seven coaches votes apiece for their vital roles through the midfield and in defence.
Jack Macrae continued to display his ball-winning prowess for the Bulldogs as they beat the Gold Coast by nine points in Ballarat. Macrae had the ball on a string collecting a match-high 40 disposals, twelve clearances and six inside-50s. He also ran hard defensively laying eight tackles in what was a complete ten-vote performance.
Despite creating controversy over the first six rounds, James Sicily proved on the weekend that he is worth the worry, earning the ten coaches’ votes for his flawless display across halfback. Hawthorn’s come-from-behind victory over Essendon was in large part to Sicily’s defensive play, ball use and intercept ability. He kept Joe Daniher to one goal, found the ball 29 times at 83% disposal efficiency and took 14 marks (six intercepts). Sicily even managed to hit the scoreboard when he delivered a long bomb late in the third quarter after a Joe Daniher 50-metre penalty. Tom Mitchell (29 disposals and ten tackles) was also effective for Hawthorn as his five coaches’ votes kept him on top of the leaderboard with Nat Fyfe.
In a low scoring affair at the SCG Shaun Higgins and Mason Wood polled nine coaches votes each as the underdogs, North Melbourne, were able to grind out a season-defining victory over Sydney. Higgins returned to the team (concussion) and took up right where he left off, collecting 31 disposals and kicking a goal. In the absence of Jarrad Waite, Wood made an impressive return to senior football kicking four goals, including the match winner in the dying minutes of the game to give North their fourth win for the season. Josh Kennedy was Sydney’s best player on the day, earning four coaches’ votes for his 31-disposal effort.
Adelaide midfielder Richard Douglas was awarded the maximum ten coaches’ votes in his side’s 55-point dismantling of Carlton. The underrated Douglas starred for the home side, racking up 28 disposals, eight clearances and two goals. Mitch McGovern also provided some spark for Adelaide, taking nine marks (including three contested) for a return of five goals and three behinds. McGovern’s commanding performance caught the eye of the coaches as they gave him eight votes.
Dayne Zorko bounced back after a quiet start to the year by his standards, collecting ten coaches’ votes in a losing side. Brisbane went down narrowly to the Pies after tying the game up in the dying minutes. In what was the obvious match of the round, Zorko collected 34 disposals, laid ten tackles and kicked four goals for the inexperienced Brisbane side. For the Pies Jordan De Goey (six votes) was explosive in attack kicking five crucial goals and delivering a clever handball to set up Jaidyn Stevenson’s match-winning goal in the dying seconds.
At the conclusion of round seven the leaderboard sees Nat Fyfe and Tom Mitchell sharing the lead with 38 votes apiece. Max Gawn – who polled five votes in Melbourne’s victory – holds third place, and Dustin Martin and Steele Sidebottom round out the top five with 31 votes each.
A full summary of the 2018 Shadforth Financial Group AFLCA Champion Player of the Year Award Votes from round seven can be seen below: