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Oliver finishes top 10 in AFLCA votes

Nathan Schmook  September 5, 2017 2:25 PM

RICHMOND superstar Dustin Martin has polled a record number of votes to be crowned the AFL Coaches' Association player of the year, continuing what is expected to be a decorated awards season for the brilliant midfielder.     

Martin polled 122 votes to win by a margin of four from Geelong superstar and last year's winner Patrick Dangerfield, with the result sealed in the final round of the season. 

The raging Brownlow Medal favourite polled 10 votes in round 23 to pass Dangerfield's record total of 121 votes set last year.

Martin was named in the All Australian team last Wednesday night for the second year running and is also expected to take out the Tigers' best and fairest award.   

He held a five-vote lead over Dangerfield leading into the final two rounds when votes went in camera, polling eight votes against Fremantle in round 22 and a perfect 10 against St Kilda in round 23. 

Martin played every game in 2017, averaging 30.3 possessions (No.3 in the AFL) and booting 32 goals. He ranked No.1 in the AFL for both centre clearances (3.6) and inside 50s (6.2).

Dangerfield, who is ineligible for the Brownlow Medal, held a nine-vote lead over Martin at the conclusion of round 17, but the powerful Tiger romped home with 49 votes in his last seven games.   

The 26-year-old finished the season with eight best-on-ground performances, polling votes in 15 of his 22 games. 

Dangerfield, who led the AFL for contested possessions (18.3) and clearances (7.7) for the second straight year, finished the season with 10 votes against Collingwood and nine votes against Greater Western Sydney.

Adelaide midfielder Rory Sloane, who was runner-up in 2016, finished third with 78 votes, while Essendon midfielder Zach Merrett came in fourth (77).   

Fifth-placed Tom Mitchell (76) was rewarded for a brilliant first season with Hawthorn that saw the former Swan break the record for disposals in a season (787), recording 30 or more possessions in 20 games.

Greater Western Sydney star Josh Kelly polled 75 votes to finish sixth in a top 10 dominated by young midfielders, with Melbourne onballer Clayton Oliver trailing on 71.  

Adelaide's Matt Crouch, St Kilda's Seb Ross and Brisbane Lions star Dayne Zorko were tied on 68 votes to round out the top 10.

Slipping out of the top 10 in the final two rounds were Western Bulldogs gun Marcus Bontempelli, Gold Coast superstar Gary Ablett and Geelong captain Joel Selwood.  

Oliver's magnificent season saw him rewarded with the AFLCA's best young player award, ahead of Sam Menagola (Geelong) and Christian Petracca (Melbourne). 

Clayton Oliver won the best young player award. Picture: AFL Photos
 

The young player of the year award recognises the winner's impact across his first two seasons after making his debut.  

The AFLCA's player of the year awards are supported by Shadforth Financial Group.   

2017 Shadforth Financial Group AFLCA Champion Player 
1. Dustin Martin (Richmond) 122
2. Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong) 118
3. Rory Sloane (Adelaide) 78
4. Zach Merrett (Essendon) 77
5. Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn) 76
6. Josh Kelly (Greater Western Sydney) 75
7. Clayton Oliver (Melbourne) 71
8. Matt Crouch (Adelaide) 68
8. Seb Ross (St Kilda) 68
8. Dayne Zorko (Brisbane Lions) 68