As the season's end approaches, Round 18 provided some serious thrillers along with some absolute blowout victories. The top four and top eight race is well and truly on with some clubs slipping whilst others make the climb.

Four unanimously voted performances were given out in Round 18, with star Magpie Nick Daicos continuing to surge in our MVP Leaderboard. The 20-year-old added yet another phenomenal outing to his resume as he pushes for the Brownlow Medal.

Cat Gryan Miers and Demon Max Gawn were huge for their sides leading them both to crucial victories to keep top-four hopes alive. The young Hawks were led to victory by James Worpel in his best performance of 2023 to date.

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.

Sydney vs Western Bulldogs

The Swans defeated the Dogs at the SCG, sending the Bulldogs' top four chances into disarray. Errol Gulden was the standout of the night, absolutely dominating on the wing and in traffic. He continues to make his case for a maiden All-Australian blazer despite his side's struggles in 2023.

Dogs skipper Marcus Bontempelli continued his red-hot form with 31 disposals and two goals, a true captain's performance. Tim English made the most of the ruck contest winning an astounding 60 hitouts along with 22 disposals.

The Swans' smalls were excellent, especially Tom Papley up forward (four goals). Oliver Florent was influential off half-back with 23 touches, even moving up forward and kicking a couple of crucial goals to take the Swans over the line.

Early in the game, the Dogs were electric kicking five goals to two in the first term. Their fast start was on the back of Tom Liberatore who did his usual thing in the stoppages and even hit the scoreboard with the first goal of the game. He finished on 31 disposals, only behind Adam Treloar who finished with 33.

Mitch Keating Ed Carmine Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Errol Gulden Errol Gulden Marcus Bontempelli Errol Gulden
4 Marcus Bontempelli Oliver Florent Errol Gulden Marcus Bontempelli
3 Tim English Marcus Bontempelli Oliver Florent Tom Liberatore
2 Tom Papley Tom Papley Tom Papley Oliver Florent
1 Oliver Florent Tim English Tim English Tom Papley

Melbourne vs Brisbane

In arguably the game of the season, Melbourne came from the clouds with a late fourth-quarter push to overcome the Brisbane Lions. Max Gawn was enormous all night as he returned to his role as the sole ruckman after Brodie Grundy was left out. He racked up 29 disposals along with a goal and was dominant all night.

Christian Petracca proved his naysayers wrong as he booted another four goals along with 26 disposals. The heart and soul of Melbourne in Jack Viney was dominant through the centre of the ground against the Lions' midfield.

The man who kicked the winning goal, Jake Melksham, also accumulated some votes as he was solid throughout the night with forward teammate Alex Neal-Bullen. Lachie Hunter was versatile, playing as both a winger and through the middle to aid the Demons as Clayton Oliver remains out injured.

For the Lions, Joe Daniher was a force up forward, however, was more effective around the ground as he took eight marks to go along with 24 touches. Defensive teammate Harris Andrews was at his usual best taking 10 marks along with 15 possessions.

Mitch Keating Ed Carmine Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Max Gawn Max Gawn Max Gawn Max Gawn
4 Christian Petracca Christian Petracca Christian Petracca Christian Petracca
3 Joe Daniher Jack Viney Jack Viney Jack Viney
2 Jack Viney Joe Daniher Joe Daniher Harris Andrews
1 Alex Neal-Bullen Jake Melksham Jake Melksham Lachie Hunter

Collingwood vs Fremantle

The Pies continue to soar after defeating Fremantle convincingly at the MCG. Nick Daicos was the best on the ground, garnering unanimous votes once again. He finished with 36 disposals and a goal, just about securing himself the Brownlow.

It was all Collingwood throughout the game, especially in the second term where they kicked 10 goals to two. Taylor Adams played his best game of the season finishing with 23 disposals and a couple of goals.

Jordan De Goey was at his damaging best, backing up last week's performance against the Bulldogs. The second Daicos in Josh was classy on the wing all afternoon (31 disposals and a goal) whilst Jack Crisp racked up plenty of the ball with 25.

Defensively, Darcy Moore was an absolute wall for the Pies. His leadership down back has him knocking on the door for the All-Australian captaincy role, along with a second blazer. Jamie Elliott continued his form after kicking four goals straight in a fully firing Magpies forward line.

Mitch Keating Ed Carmine Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Nick Daicos Nick Daicos Nick Daicos Nick Daicos
4 Taylor Adams Taylor Adams Taylor Adams Josh Daicos
3 Josh Daicos Josh Daicos Jordan De Goey Taylor Adams
2 Jordan De Goey Jordan De Goey Josh Daicos Darcy Moore
1 Darcy Moore Darcy Moore Jack Crisp Jamie Elliott

Gold Coast vs St Kilda

The Saints continue to slide down the ladder after losing to the Suns quite convincingly. Rory Atkins and Sam Flanders dominated all day with 32 and 33 disposals respectively. Atkins added two goals to his performance along with eight marks and three clearances.

In Touk Miller's eighth game of the season, he racked up 25 touches and was a huge presence through midfield. Noah Anderson and Wil Powell added plenty of speed and class in midfield also as they overran the Saints.

Callum Wilkie was solid taking 10 marks to go along with 22 disposals. Marcus Windhager was solid for the Saints also with 27 touches despite the overall disappointing performance for the red, black and white.

Mitch Keating Ed Carmine Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Rory Atkins Rory Atkins Sam Flanders Noah Anderson
4 Sam Flanders Sam Flanders Wil Powell Rory Atkins
3 Wil Powell Wil Powell Rory Atkins Sam Flanders
2 Touk Miller Touk Miller Noah Anderson Callum Wilkie
1 Marcus Windhager Noah Anderson Touk Miller Touk Miller

Carlton vs Port Adelaide

The Blues are well and truly back after shutting down the Power at Marvel Stadium. It was all Carlton from the opening bounce on the backs of Charlie Curnow and Jack Silvagni. After losing Harry McKay in the opening quarter, those two stood up and were huge up forward kicking three and four goals respectively.

The Power side was misfiring on all cylinders, however, Dan Houston played one of the great individual games of any player this season. He finished with a game-high 41 possessions, nine marks, six tackles and four clearances.

Patrick Cripps put in a captain's performance despite his inaccuracy in front of goal (one goal, three behinds). Nic Newman was clean defensively, keeping the Power smalls quiet for most of the afternoon.

Small forward Jesse Motlop played one of the best games of his career finishing with a game-high four goals. He was one of the key reasons behind Carlton's hot start, kicking all his goals in the first half alone.

Mitch Keating Ed Carmine Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Jack Silvagni Charlie Curnow Charlie Curnow Charlie Curnow
4 Dan Houston Dan Houston Dan Houston Dan Houston
3 Charlie Curnow Jack Silvagni Jack Silvagni Jack Silvagni
2 Patrick Cripps Patrick Cripps Patrick Cripps Jesse Motlop
1 Jesse Motlop Nic Newman Nic Newman Patrick Cripps

Geelong vs Essendon

With just about their full squad, the Cats dominated the Bombers all night at GMHBA Stadium in a complete team performance. Gryan Miers was best afield despite the chaotic and messy media circus surrounding him throughout the week. He finished with 26 touches and a goal.

Mark Blicavs was everywhere around the ground, even moving up forward and kicking two, showcasing his versatility. Tom Hawkins was a nightmare for the Bombers' defence, kicking five. His goal tally for the season reached 45, his 12th consecutive season of hitting that number, a remarkable achievement.

Tom Atkins and Max Holmes controlled the midfield with 28 and 33 touches respectively. Atkins showed off his strength, racking up 12 tackles and nine clearances in a truly dominant individual performance.

Mitch Keating Ed Carmine Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Gryan Miers Gryan Miers Gryan Miers Gryan Miers
4 Mark Blicavs Mark Blicavs Tom Hawkins Tom Hawkins
3 Tom Hawkins Tom Hawkins Tom Atkins Tom Atkins
2 Tom Atkins Tom Atkins Max Holmes Mark Blicavs
1 Max Holmes Max Holmes Mark Blicavs Max Holmes

Adelaide vs GWS

The Crows were stunned at home as the Giants stormed home in the last quarter to overcome a 17-point three-quarter time deficit. Sam Taylor controlled the backline and shut down Taylor Walker completely. After half-time, the Crows forward did not touch the ball once thanks to the GWS defender.

Josh Kelly has truly found form in midfield with another solid performance (28 touches and a goal) whilst skipper Toby Greene was electric with 20 touches and three goals.

The Crows midfield was solid up until the final quarter with usual suspects Rory Laird and Jordan Dawson leading the way. The Crows skipper had 27 touches whilst Laird was a tackle machine, laying 10.

Despite the theatre around Rory Sloane's 250th Crows appearance, it was a disappointing outing for a team that has shown they can compete with the best.

Mitch Keating Ed Carmine Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Sam Taylor Josh Kelly Josh Kelly Sam Taylor
4 Toby Greene Sam Taylor Toby Greene Josh Kelly
3 Rory Laird Toby Greene Rory Laird Toby Greene
2 Josh Kelly Rory Laird Sam Taylor Rory Laird
1 Jordan Dawson Jordan Dawson Brodie Smith Jordan Dawson

North Melbourne vs Hawthorn

The Kangaroos fall again in what has become a recurring theme in 2023. The Hawks were significantly cleaner with the ball in hand all afternoon and it was their young midfield that stood up. James Worpel was huge in midfield with 32 disposals and seven clearances, leading all-comers in the latter statistic.

Karl Amon and Will Day were classy, the former Power player racking up 33 possessions whilst his half-back teammate in Day had 28 himself. Jarman Impey performed well with 24 touches and a goal in a complete team performance for the young Hawk's side.

For the Roos, Luke Davies-Uniacke was solid with 26 touches, nine tackles and a goal despite his team's poor performance. Bailey Scott was great leading the game with 34 disposals.

Mitch Keating Ed Carmine Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 James Worpel James Worpel James Worpel James Worpel
4 Karl Amon Karl Amon Karl Amon Will Day
3 Bailey Scott Luke Davies-Uniacke Luke Davies-Uniacke Karl Amon
2 Luke Davies-Uniacke Will Day Bailey Scott Luke Davies-Uniacke
1 Jarman Impey Jarman Impey Will Day Jarman Impey

West Coast vs Richmond

In an unsurprising result, the Tigers defeated the Eagles at Optus Stadium. Shai Bolton and Daniel Rioli were classy. The small mid-forward in Bolton was at his damaging best with two goals and 23 touches. Half-back Rioli led the game in disposals with 31.

Tim Taranto was back to his best, collecting 27 disposals and kicking a goal. Dustin Martin wound back the clock with two goals and 23 touches against the poor Eagles outfit. Noah Balta defensively was solid despite Oscar Allen booting three. Balta took six marks and had 17 disposals, moving the ball quickly and efficiently from the backline.

For the Eagles, Tom Cole was solid taking eight marks whilst racking up 20 disposals in his best performance of the season.

Mitch Keating Ed Carmine Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Daniel Rioli Shai Bolton Shai Bolton Daniel Rioli
4 Tim Taranto Daniel Rioli Daniel Rioli Shai Bolton
3 Shai Bolton Tim Taranto Tim Taranto Tim Taranto
2 Noah Balta Noah Balta Noah Balta Ivan Soldo
1 Dustin Martin Dustin Martin Dustin Martin Tom Cole



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