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Votes record decides AFLCA player of the year

Nathan Schmook, AFL.com.au  September 5, 2017 9:27 AM

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Brisbane Lions’ dynamic midfielder Dayne Zorko added to his accolade of awards for the season after finishing 8th in the AFL Coaches’ Association player of the year.

Zorko polled 68 votes, sharing 8th place with St Kilda’s Seb Ross and Adelaide’s Matt Crouch.

The 28-year-old was named in the All Australian team last Wednesday night alongside a number of the top 8 players from the AFLCA player of the year voting tally including Dustin Martin, Patrick Dangerfield, Zach Merrrett, Tom Mitchell, Josh Kelly and Matt Crouch.

Richmond Superstar Dustin Martin received a record number of votes and took home the prestigious crowning of player of the year.

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.   

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).  

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

2017 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
    Seb Ross (St Kilda) 68
    Dayne Zorko (Brisbane Lions) 68

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