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AFL 2017 First Qualifying Final - Adelaide v GWS Giants

Eddie Betts

The coaches couldn’t agree on who was best afield in Adelaide’s 36-point Qualifying Final win over Greater Western Sydney.

Tough onballer Brad Crouch and livewire forward Eddie Betts both polled eight votes apiece in the AFL Coaches Association Gary Ayres Award following the first round of finals.

Crouch, 23, bullied his way to the ball against the Giants last Thursday night.

The midfielder had 11 inside 50ms and kicked a spectacular goal in the third term with his 27 disposals. Crouch also gained more metres (546) than any other teammate, laid eight tackles, took four marks and won three clearances.

Betts continued his strong recent record in finals with a match-high three goals from 13 disposals.

The three-time All Australian led the AFL for scoreboard impact in the first week of finals with two direct score assists and eight score involvements – more than any other player on the ground last Thursday night.

By the numbers: Qualifying Final

Matt Crouch scored five votes for his 31-possession performance, which included seven clearances and seven tackles, while hard-working forward Tom Lynch was one vote back after collecting 25 touches, 10 marks and a goal against the Giants.

Reliable duo Luke Brown and Richard Douglas earned one vote each for their part in the win.

Greater Western Sydney co-captain Callan Ward (three votes) was the Giants’ only vote-getter.

The Gary Ayres Award, which was first won by Sydney’s Josh Kennedy last year, recognises the most outstanding player of the AFL Finals Series in honour of the Hawthorn great's incredible record in the major round.

Ayres, who also coached the Crows for four seasons between 2000 and 2004, was the first player to win the Norm Smith Medal twice and played in five Hawthorn premierships in his 269-game career.

Competing coaches vote in the same 5-4-3-2-1 format as the home and away season to determine a winner at the conclusion of the finals series.

Betts and Brad Crouch share fourth place overall with Richmond’s Trent Cotchin, West Coast’s Jeremy McGovern and Sydney onballer Luke Parker after the opening round of finals.

Reigning winner Josh Kennedy and Eagle Luke Shuey are the early leaders after receiving a perfect 10 votes.

AFLCA GARY AYRES AWARD

Adelaide v Greater Western Sydney
8 – Brad Crouch (Adel)
8 – Eddie Betts (Adel)
5 – Matt Crouch (Adel)
4 – Tom Lynch (Adel)
3 – Callan Ward (GWS)
1 – Luke Brown (Adel)
1 – Richard Douglas (Adel)

Overall leaderboard – Top 10
10 – Josh Kennedy (Syd)
10 – Luke Shuey (WC)
9 – Dustin Martin (Rich)
8 – Eddie Betts (Adel)
8 – Trent Cotchin (Rich)
8 – Brad Crouch (Adel)
8 – Jeremy McGovern (WC)
8 – Luke Parker (Syd)
7 – Nick Vlastuin (Rich)
6 – Charlie Dixon (PA)