Not many people envisioned a preliminary finals weekend like that. Two matches, two thrashings.
Unsurprisingly, only Dogs and Dees players made the top-10 this week, although Ollie Wines can count himself unlucky.
See the full list below.
10. Mitch Hannan (WB)
Mitch Hannan’s a great story. Overlooked in his draft year, he worked his way through the VAFA and VFL before eventually being drafted by Melbourne. He’s now set to come up against his old side in a grand final. And he’s worth his weight following a prelim display that included 14 disposals, three goals, seven score involvements and one goal assist.
9. Clayton Oliver (MELB)
Much like his Demons, Oliver continues to impress, and he finished with 27 disposals, 15 contested possessions, seven tackles, seven clearances, six score involvements, five intercept possessions and a goal assist in their thrashing of Geelong.
8. Marcus Bontempelli (WB)
A bona fide star, Bont loves to put his name up in lights, and he allayed any concerns regarding his knee with 20 disposals at an efficiency of 80%, two goals, 10 inside 50s, eight score involvements, seven clearances, one goal assist and 446 metres gained.
7. Christian Salem (MELB)
A premier rebounder, Salem was pivotal for Melbourne with 29 disposals, 720 metres gained, seven inside 50s and seven intercept possessions.
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6. Adam Treloar (WB)
Following a quiet outing against Brisbane, Treloar was fixed firmly in the crosshairs of pundits throughout the week, with not only his performance but his body language under fire. He responded resoundingly; amassing 13 score involvements (almost a finals record for the Dogs), 23 disposals, 11 contested possessions, five clearances, one goal, two goal assists and 440 metres gained.
5. Jack Viney (MELB)
With an engine room as renowned as Melbourne’s, it’s easy for Viney to fly under the radar. But you couldn’t miss him on Friday night, with the inside bull racking up 34 disposals, 16 contested possessions, nine clearances, nine score involvements, five tackles and 578 metres gained.
4. Christian Petracca (MELB)
Petracca’s a genuine Norm Smith Medal contender. He plays a role that’s as influential as any, and was certainly that against Geelong with 32 disposals, 14 contested possessions, 10 score involvements, eight clearances, one goal, four goal assists and 51 metres gained.
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3. Jack Macrae (WB)
Macrae looks to have the Gary Ayres Award (best finals player as the voted by the coaches) in his grasp, needing to poll just two votes in the grand final to keep it out of the hands of teammate Bailey Smith. He was superb as the Dogs dismantled the Power; accumulating 36 disposals, 14 contested possessions, nine score involvements, seven inside 50s, six tackles, 580 metres gained and even eight intercept possessions.
2. Bailey Smith (WB)
He was already one of the more well known players in the game, but ‘Bazlenka’ has skyrocketed to stardom in the past two weeks, backing up his three majors against the Lions with four goals from 23 disposals against Port. Also had 11 contested possessions, nine score involvements, six inside 50s, five intercept possessions and 496 metres gained. Is oozing confidence, and another favourite for the Norm Smith.
1. Max Gawn (MELB)
One of the best leaders in the game right now, and one of the greatest ruckmen of all time. Gawn was phenomenal against the Cats, and his performance was representative of everything he’s done this season. Not only was he damaging on the scoreboard, kicking a career-best five goals – including four in the third quarter – but he played a crucial hand in defence, even beating Tom Hawkins in a one-on-one contest. He was just everywhere. And of course, had plenty to say in the ruck, with 33 hit-outs accompanying 19 disposals, 12 contested possessions, seven score involvements, six tackles and five clearances.