Finals footy continued over the weekend with a Giant masterclass at the Adelaide Oval, which followed one of the more thrilling semi-finals in recent memory on Friday night.

More than 96,000 spectators packed into the 'G to witness Carlton's best win since the 1999 preliminary final, as they defeated Melbourne by two points after four quarters of intense pressure, costly errors, banged-up bodies, and clutch moments from both sides; culminating in the loudest final siren roar of the season, and perhaps in recent memory.

Port Adelaide joined Melbourne in exiting in straight sets exit after being bullied in all facets of the game by a hungry Giants outfit on Saturday night.

GWS owned the undermanned Power collective, smashing them in midfield, forward, and defensive contests, and exposing their hampered key-position bookends Trent McKenzie and Charlie Dixon.

As was the case with ZeroHanger's home-and-away season MVP Award, the Zero Hanger Finals MVP will be crowned the player deemed the best-performing over the course of the 2023 AFL Finals Series.

In week two, we continued the streak of unanimous best-on-ground votes given in all six matches of the finals series thus far.

After top-notch performances from Max Gawn, Sam Walsh, Tom Green, and Hugh McCluggage last week, it was Stephen Coniglio and Sam Walsh again this week who continued their stellar finals runs with two 30+ disposal, two-goal efforts in their teams' wins.

Reminder: Votes are given out in a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 system for each game, meaning the maximum number of votes any player can record in any game is 20.

Melbourne vs Carlton

A raucous MCG crowd bore witness to one of the great semi-finals as Melbourne looked to rejuvenate their finals form of 2021 against a rampaging Blues outfit carrying the momentum of a heart-stopping elimination final victory the week before.

Votes were evenly shared by both teams with stars in all areas of the ground stepping up for their sides in big moments.

Once again it was Sam Walsh who put together another perfect 20-vote performance, running to outnumber contests all night long, finishing with 34 disposals and two monumental goals.

With essentially no preseason and a five-round wait to begin his 2023 campaign, it's difficult to comprehend just how impressive his first two finals performances have been.

From running goal-post to goal-post, winning contested and outside possession, tackling every ball-winner in sight, and kicking crucial goals, he is a truly complete midfielder at just 23 years old, with plenty in the tank to take on Brisbane this Saturday.

Had the result been flipped to a Melbourne victory, we could safely crown Steven May as best-on-ground following his prolific performance while matched up against two-time Coleman medallist Charlie Curnow.

His 21 disposals and seven marks were brilliant enough without the perpetual spoils and intercepts against the best key forward in the competition.

Keeping Curnow to just nine touches and a set shot goal may have re-established him as the best key defender in the league along with GWS' Sam Taylor.

After Walsh and May, voters settled on athletic ruck-forward hybrid Tom De Koning as the next best following an all-round performance. De Koning got the Blues into the game with their first two goals before taking some big clunks throughout the match and earning his own Robbie Williams chant post-game.

Carlton defenders Jacob Weitering and Nic Newman stepped up on the defensive end with plenty of marks of their own, halting Melbourne's momentum and lacing out some critical targets in crucial stages.

For Melbourne, livewire forward Kysaiah Pickett was deadly when he managed to find the ball, sparking scores with almost every touch of the footy, but was unfortunately let down by multiple ill-discipline plays on the night, leaving him out for round one of 2024.

Mitch Keating Ed Carmine Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Sam Walsh Sam Walsh Sam Walsh Sam Walsh
4 Steven May Steven May Steven May Steven May
3 Jacob Weitering Jacob Weitering Kysaiah Pickett Tom De Koning
2 Tom De Koning Tom De Koning Tom De Koning Jacob Weitering
1 Kysaiah Pickett Nic Newman Jacob Weitering Clayton Oliver


Port Adelaide vs GWS

The votes, and the match itself, were dominated by the team in orange, who bullied the Power at both ends and ran out 23-point victors after a second-quarter onslaught decided the match early.

While Port backman Dan Houston was massive for the home side, the Power were completely overwhelmed by the superstar Giants, who were led superbly by Coniglio, Whitfield, Hogan, Green, Greene, Ward, Buckley, Briggs, and more.

After quarter time, GWS put the foot down and played out a clinic, surging the ball with their patented orange tsunami and feeding Hogan, Greene, and others inside 50.

Veteran midfielder Coniglio led from the front in the midfield brigade with 30 touches and two goals in a clear best-on performance. He was aided admirably by Ward and Green at centre contests, powerfully out-duelling Connor Rozee, Zak Butters, and Jason Horne-Francis all night long.

Jesse Hogan earned clear second-best honours with four majors and nine marks, while skipper Toby Greene followed with three goals and 15 disposals himself.

Rounding out the votes was Giants ruckman Kieren Briggs, who pulverised Port's Scott Lycett in the ruck battle; outmuscling him with 32 hit-outs to 13 and forcing Ken Hinkley to use his sub on the ailing tall.

Finally, running rebounder Lachie Whitfield was pivotal from the outset, quickly inserting himself into the game with nine touches and four score involvements in the first ten minutes with his dashing half-back run. He finished with 33 damaging possessions without many bruises to worry about for the upcoming preliminary final.

Mitch Keating Ed Carmine Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Stephen Coniglio Stephen Coniglio Stephen Coniglio Stephen Coniglio
4 Tom Green Jesse Hogan Jesse Hogan Jesse Hogan
3 Jesse Hogan Tom Green Tom Green Tom Green
2 Callan Ward Callan Ward Toby Greene Toby Greene
1 Kieren Briggs Toby Greene Lachie Whitfield Kieren Briggs


Finals MVP Leaderboard