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Team of the Finals

AFL Media  October 4, 2017 11:54 AM

AFL 2017 First Preliminary Final - Adelaide v Geelong

Steven Motlop had a great finals series

IT WAS a tough task trying to decide who made the Team of the Finals, brought to you by Accor Hotels.

Figuring out how to weight performances when clubs have played a different amount of games was the most difficult issue.

Richmond was rewarded for its dominant finals campaign by having seven Tigers selected, while David Astbury, Kane Lambert and Dion Prestia could consider themselves unlucky.

Charlie Dixon played just one match, but it was outstanding. Combined with a lack of key forwards to select from, the Port Adelaide tall made the side.

Superstar pair Patrick Dangerfield and Dustin Martin were also picked in attack, because they had such a great impact up forward, while an impressive finals campaign for Sam Jacobs saw him reinforce his reputation as one of the competition's premier ruckmen.

Trying to assess how to rate those from Adelaide, with the Crows having a couple of superb performances before a poor one on the big day, proved a quandary. Brad Crouch was stiff to miss out after stringing three very good games together.

With Essendon being thumped in its elimination final against Sydney, no Bombers made the team.

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DYLAN GRIMES (Richmond): Had the tough job on Eddie Betts in the Grand Final and kept him to a goal. Was also superb in keeping Toby Greene quiet in the preliminary final against Greater Western Sydney. 

ALEX RANCE (Richmond): On another level. Elevated his reputation after a brilliant finals series in which he barely lost a contest. Had Andy Otten sent to him in the decider, but was a class above as he was one of the best players on the ground.

HEATH GRUNDY (Sydney): One of few Swans who delivered in the semi-final loss to Geelong, keeping Tom Hawkins to three marks and a late goal.

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RORY LAIRD (Adelaide): Started the Grand Final on fire, winning the ball at will. Was similarly prolific against Geelong in the preliminary final.

HARRY TAYLOR (Geelong): Dominated Sydney superstar Lance Franklin in the semi-final, keeping him goalless. Also did his job on Josh Jenkins in the preliminary final. Jenkins booted four goals but three came when the result was no longer in question.

BACHAR HOULI (Richmond): Finished second in Norm Smith Medal voting after an excellent display. Broke lines and his precise field kicking was valuable.

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JOSH KELLY (Greater Western Sydney): Couldn't blame the silky star for his side losing a couple of finals. Averaged 31 disposals and was the only Giant to take it up to the Crouch brothers on the inside in the qualifying final. 

TRENT COTCHIN (Richmond): Threw himself at the contest with a ferocity that no-one else could match. Quieter in the Grand Final but was outstanding against Geelong and Greater Western Sydney.

LUKE SHUEY (West Coast): Memorably slotted the match-winner after the siren in the elimination final against Port Adelaide to cap off a terrific match, and did his best the following week against Greater Western Sydney with 29 disposals.

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DUSTIN MARTIN (Richmond): Simply unstoppable. Split his time between midfield and forward and wreaked havoc in both parts of the ground. Won the Norm Smith Medal to cap off one of the best individual seasons in history.

WATCH: Dusty's dominant day on the big stage

JACK RIEWOLDT (Richmond): There wasn't an abundance of key forwards to pick from. Riewoldt's marking was on display in the Grand Final and his role as the sole tall in attack for the Tigers meant he was needed to bring the ball to ground, despite admitting to a quiet preliminary final.

STEVEN MOTLOP (Geelong): After an up and down season, the Cats speedster produced the best football of his year in the finals. Motlop was particularly influential against Sydney and Adelaide, where his line breaking ability came to the fore.

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DANIEL RIOLI (Richmond): The game breaker in Richmond's preliminary final win over Greater Western Sydney, where he booted four goals from 14 disposals. His forward line pressure was a key component of the Tigers' successful finals campaign.

PATRICK DANGERFIELD (Geelong): The superstar midfielder is named at full forward in AFL.com.au's Team of the Finals after he booted a match-winning four goals against Sydney in Geelong's semi-final victory. Dangerfield averaged 27 disposals across his three finals games and booted a total of seven majors.

WATCH: Danger's incredible first half against Sydney

CHARLIE DIXON (Port Adelaide): The power forward booted three goals in a commanding performance in Port's heartbreaking overtime elimination final loss to West Coast. Had he been more accurate (six behinds) the Power may have won the game, but he could not be faulted for his efforts throughout the match.

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SAM JACOBS (Adelaide): The hulking Adelaide ruckman was a constant presence for his side across the three finals games. Jacobs averaged 38 hit-outs and his ability to provide silver service to the club's midfielders was an important fillip for the side.

MATT CROUCH (Adelaide): Capped an outstanding season with a superb finals campaign for the Crows. The young midfielder had 31 disposals against both Greater Western Sydney and Geelong in the qualifying and preliminary final respectively. Was clearly the Crows' best player in the Grand Final, racking up 37 touches. Unlucky not to poll a Norm Smith Medal vote.

CALLAN WARD (Greater Western Sydney): The hard-at-it midfielder polled the third-most votes in the AFLCA Gary Ayres Award behind Richmond stars Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin. Ward averaged 28.3 disposals from three games, showing his fellow midfielders the way with his attack on the footy and on the man.

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MITCH DUNCAN (Geelong): The hard-running midfielder was arguably Geelong's best player in the finals, winning plenty of the footy (average of 30 disposals) and demonstrated his class in the way he finished in front of goal at critical points in games. 

MATT PRIDDIS (West Coast): The retiring West Coast champion bowed out on a high, despite the Eagles' semi-final loss to Greater Western Sydney. Priddis had 30 disposals and 12 clearances in a determined display that embodied the effort he put in during his career.

EDDIE BETTS (Adelaide): Betts was brilliant against GWS in the qualifying final, setting up goals for teammates and kicking three of his own. He added two against Geelong, and although he was well held in the Grand Final, his ability to create something from nothing was impressive.

CHARLIE CAMERON (Adelaide): The lightning quick forward broke the preliminary final against Geelong open with a five-goal haul to complement his 19 disposals. Cameron's ability to motor away from opponents and gather the ball at pace on the deck are key traits that makes him one of the most exciting young players in the game.