Round 18 saw five players earn a perfect-10 votes from the coaches, with Richmond’s Dion Prestia, Essendon’s Orazio Fantasia, Geelong’s Tom Hawkins, Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell, and West Coast’s Elliot Yeo standing out above their peers to secure top-billing for the week. Max Gawn has retained his overall lead in the 2018 Shadforth Financial Group AFLCA Champion Player of the Year Award, despite failing to poll a vote against Geelong.
This, as well as quiet games from Carlton’s Patrick Cripps (zero votes versus Hawthorn) and North Melbourne’s Shaun Higgins (two votes versus Collingwood), opened the door for Brownlow medal favourite Mitchell to make his move, and sees him sitting in equal-second, just three votes behind the Melbourne ruck man.
Prestia continued his impressive form since returning from injury, putting in one of his best performances in Richmond colours as the Tigers thumped St Kilda by 54 points in Maddie's Match. The hard-working midfielder was everywhere, collecting 26 disposals, four centre-clearances and kicking a career-high three goals to help keep his side on top of the AFL ladder.
Fantasia was simply scintillating for Essendon, putting in a clearly best on ground display as his side outlasted a plucky Fremantle by 29 points. The Bombers’ live-wire put a frustrating couple of weeks behind him, putting together one of his most complete performances of the season in amassing 19 disposals, taking nine marks and booting five goals to keep Essendon’s hopes of playing in September alive.
Hawkins took his incredible run of form to new heights, with the Geelong big man willing his side over the line against Melbourne in a game for the ages. With his side trailing by 29 points early in the final term, Hawkins put on a forward master class, kicking four or his seven goals from that point onwards, helping the Cats secure a vital two-point victory in the process.
Mitchell brought his own footy against Carlton, and did his Brownlow chances a huge favour, racking up 46 disposals, laying nine tackles and kicking two goals in a best on ground performance in the Hawks’ smashing of the Blues.
his class, as West Coast demolished the Western Bulldogs by 54 points to retain
second spot on the AFL ladder. The gun midfielder had 28 disposals, eight
tackles, seven inside-50s and kicked a goal in a brilliant all round
performance that earned him a perfect score from the coaches.