MADE for finals. 

On the back of a perfect 10 votes by the coaches, Sam Walsh has taken the lead in the AFL Coaches' Association's Gary Ayres Award.

With the 22-year-old putting together a comprehensive finals performance for the second week in a row, Walsh was best on ground against Melbourne in the nail-biting two-point win.

Picking up 34 disposals, eight tackles and contributing 43 pressure acts (the third highest of any player this year), Walsh also produced two goals to lift his side over the line in his pursuit of victory.

Sam Walsh has polled a perfect 10 votes this week for the AFL Coaches Association Gary Ayres Award, with the 22-year-old putting together a comprehensive finals performance for the second week in a row. 


It was a night where Carlton's leaders did exactly that, with captain Patrick Cripps and Walsh's fellow co-vice captain Jacob Weitering both receiving four votes for their roles in the game.

The skipper managed 27 disposals, 16 contested possessions, nine clearances and seven score involvements on a night where he was the first to put his head over the ball and dish it out to teammates. 

Carlton won the centre clearances 13-8 with Cripps leading the way, while Weitering was his usual self behind the ball.


Taking some crucial marks in defence, Weitering had 10 intercept possessions as well as six rebound 50s, keeping calm under pressure – particularly in the third quarter when the Carlton defence was under siege. 

Nic Newman also continued his outstanding 2023 with a four-quarter performance, receiving two votes for his rampant pressure.

On a night of high pressure, Newman held his nerve and found the ball in all areas of the ground, recording 30 disposals, 11 marks, nine intercept possessions and six rebound 50s: the experienced backman helped his team turn the tide of momentum against them.

10 - Sam Walsh (CARL)
8 - Steven May (MELB)
4-  Jacob Weitering (CARL)
4 - Patrick Cripps (CARL)
2 - Nicholas Newman (CARL)
2 - Jake Lever (MELB)