Jack Macrae wins AFL coaches' finals award

Western Bulldogs star Jack Macrae has won the Gary Ayres Award as the best player of the AFL finals.
Western Bulldogs star Jack Macrae has won the Gary Ayres Award as the best player of the AFL finals.

Western Bulldogs star Jack Macrae has won the AFL coaches' award as the player of the finals series despite failing to poll a vote in the grand final.

The prolific ball-winner polled 25 votes in the Gary Ayres Award in three finals outings before the Bulldogs' loss to Melbourne.

He finished two votes clear of second-placed Demons gun Christian Petracca, having played one extra match.

Rival coaches Simon Goodwin and Luke Beveridge agreed with the Norm Smith Medal voting panel, awarding Petracca the maximum 10 votes for his grand final performance.

Melbourne forward Bayley Fritsch received eight votes after a six-goal haul in the season decider, while teammate Clayton Oliver got five votes.

Oliver finished third overall on 19 votes, having also finished third in the Brownlow Medal count.

Demons duo Christian Salem (two) and Angus Brayshaw (one) also polled grand final votes, as did Bulldogs pair Caleb Daniel (three) and Marcus Bontempelli (one).

Macrae's finals nod came at the end of a superb individual season in which he was named in the All Australian team for the third straight year.

The 27-year-old also broke Hawthorn star Tom Mitchell's record for most disposals in a single season, finishing with 880 from 26 games.

"Well done to Jack," Ayres said.

"It's a testament to how well he has played in this finals series but also his consistency all year in a very good midfield group."

It was the sixth year of the Gary Ayres Award, named in honour of the former Hawthorn champion, who won two Norm Smith Medals in Hawks premiership sides.

Richmond superstar Dustin Martin has snared the award three times, with Collingwood wingman Steele Sidebottom and Sydney captain Josh Kennedy the other previous winners.

Australian Associated Press