THE challengers have closed the gap after Southport co-captain Jacob Dawson failed to poll a vote for the first time this season in the Smithy’s VFL Coaches Player of the Year award.

Dawson was held to a season low of 18 disposals by Corey Wagner and Cody Stackelberg during the Sharks’ 63-point win over Port Melbourne at ETU Stadium on Saturday, and the next three players on the leaderboard all drew closer with outstanding performances in their games.

Carlton’s Paddy Dow earned eight votes in the Blues’ thrilling loss to Sandringham to retain second spot on 45 votes, 12 behind Dawson, while Brisbane Lions “barometer” Rhys Mathieson and Dawson’s Southport teammate Boyd Woodcock both picked up a perfect 10 to move into third and fourth.

Blue Will Hayes didn’t play against the Zebras and dropped to fifth, while Will Fordham is sixth after Frankston had the bye, with Footscray captain Lachie Sullivan, Sydney’s Ryan Clarke and Northern Bullants skipper Tom Wilson each climbing into the top 10 with vote-pulling games.

Boyd Woodcock stepped up to earn the 10 votes in Southport's win over Port Melbourne at ETU Stadium on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan DiMaggio/AFL Photos

Werribee gun Matt Hanson joined Mathieson and Woodcock in earning 10 votes as he led the Tigers to a big win over GWS, while Swan Joel Amartey and Zebra Ryan Byrnes each grabbed nine votes.

As with the AFL Coaches Association Player of the Year, the VFL award is voted on by the coaches of each club after every game.

The coaches are awarding 5-4-3-2-1 to their best players in the game from either team, with those votes collated and revealed each week on

A total of 22 new players attracted the coaches’ attention in Round 9, making it 310 to have polled so far this season.

01:18 Mins
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VFL Showreel, R9: Matthew Hanson highlights

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Port Melbourne 7.14 (56) lost to Southport 18.11 (119)
Boyd Woodcock (Sou)
4 Tom Fields (Sou)
4 Billy Gowers (Sou)
4 Max Spencer (Sou)
3 Rhys Clark (Sou)
2 Harvey Hooper (PM)
2 Mike Manteit (Sou)
1 Fraser Thurlow (Sou)

01:21 Mins
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VFL Showreel, R9: Tom Fields highlights

Enjoy Tom Field's standout VFL performance for the Sharks

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Footscray 11.6 (72) lost to Gold Coast 14.13 (97)
Elijah Hollands (GC)
6 Lachie Sullivan (Foo)
5 Charlie Constable (GC)
5 Sam Day (GC)
3 Jack Bowes (GC)
3 James Tsitas (GC)
1 Caleb Graham (GC)
1 Ned Moyle (GC)

Coburg 13.7 (85) lost to Sydney 17.13 (115)
Joel Amartey (Syd)
5 Lewis Taylor (Syd)
4 Robbie Fox (Syd)
3 Ryan Clarke (Syd)
3 Flynn Gentile (Cob)
2 Peter McEvoy (Cob)
2 Matthew Roberts (Syd)
1 Sam Reid (Syd)
1 Dylan Stephens (Syd)

Brisbane Lions 6.8 (44) def Williamstown 5.12 (42)
Rhys Mathieson (BL)
4 Mitch Cox (BL)
4 James Madden (BL)
4 Finbar O’Dwyer (Wil)
3 Tom Berry (BL)
2 Darby Henderson (Wil)
2 Teia Miles (Wil)
1 Kallan Dawson (Wil)

01:16 Mins
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VFL Showreel, R9: Sydney Stack highlights

Enjoy Sydney Stack's standout VFL performance for the Tigers

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Richmond 10.19 (79) def Essendon 6.10 (46)
Hugo Ralphsmith (Ric)
5 Massimo D’Ambrosio (Ric)
5 Ben Miller (Ric)
4 Andrew Phillips (Ess)
3 Sydney Stack (Ric)
2 Will Martyn (Ric)
2 Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (Ess)
1 Matt Parker (Ric)

Richmond's Hugo Ralphsmith hits full stride on his way to eight VFL coaches votes against Essendon at the MCG on Saturday. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

GWS 8.6 (54) lost to Werribee 16.11 (107)
Matt Hanson (Wer)
8 Kye Declase (Wer)
3 Nick Coughlan (Wer)
3 Tom Gribble (Wer)
2 Ryan Angwin (GWS)
2 Jay Dahlhaus (Wer)
1 Jack Henderson (GWS)
1 Shaun Mannagh (GWS)

Carlton 9.11 (65) lost to Sandringham 9.15 (69)
Ryan Byrnes (San)
8 Paddy Dow (Car)
4 Tom Highmore (San)
3 Jordan Boyd (Car)
3 Mitch Owens (San)
2 Jarrod Lienert (San)
1 Jarryn Geary (San)

Northern Bullants 13.7 (85) lost to Geelong 15.8 (98)
Tom Wilson (NB)
6 Shannon Neale (Gee)
5 Oliver Dempsey (Gee)
4 Doug Lawrence (NB)
3 Luke Dahlhaus (Gee)
3 Oliver Tate (Gee)
2 Jean-Luc Velissaris (NB)

Box Hill Hawks, Casey Demons, Collingwood, Frankston, North Melbourne bye

01:40 Mins
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VFL Showreel, R9: Shannon Neale highlights

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57 Jacob Dawson (Sou) 0
45 Paddy Dow (Car) 8
Rhys Mathieson (BL) 10
35 Boyd Woodcock (Sou) 10
30 Will Hayes (Car) dnp
29 Will Fordham (Fra) bye
28 Lachie Sullivan (Foo) 6
28 Mitch White (Cas) bye
Jarrod Brander (GWS) dnp
25 Ryan Clarke (Syd) 3
25 Luke Dunstan (Cas) bye
25 Tom Wilson (NB) 7

Twitter: @BRhodesVFL

01:32 Mins
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VFL Showreel, R9: Joel Amartey highlights

Enjoy Joel Amartey's standout VFL performance for the Swans

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All Smithy’s VFL matches in 2022 are live streamed free. The match of the round is screened on Channel 7 and 7Plus, while all other matches are live and available on demand via and the AFL Live Official App. Radio station 3WBC 94.1 also broadcasts Box Hill Hawks matches.
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