Five-time AFL Players’ MVP Gary Ablett Jnr is now a dual Brownlow medalist after edging out close friend and former teammate Joel Selwood for the award.
Ablett Jnr, forever the humble champion, admits he was hoping for two votes in the final round, which would have meant a tie between the two premiership teammates.
But it wasn’t meant to be with Ablett’s 33-disposal game against GWS in Round 23 earning him the maximum votes taking his tally to 28 and one clear of Selwood.
“I did want the two, I was actually shattered when I got the three, Joel deserves this as much as I do,” Ablett said.
Despite winning 25 possessions in Geelong’s narrow Round 23 win over Brisbane, Selwood failed to poll the vote he needed to ensure at least a tie.
Congratulations the best player I've ever played against in winning the brownlow @GaryAblettJnr
— Tex Walker (@texwalker13) September 23, 2013
In his acceptance response Ablett was intent on shifting the praise.
First it was Selwood and then in response to the perpetual question of whether Ablett Jnr or Ablett Snr is better, Jnr ruled the arguments redundant.
‘‘There shouldn’t be any comparison. In my opinion my old man’s the best player to ever play the game – should have won a Brownlow,” he said.
— Trent Cotchin (@tcotchin9) September 23, 2013
Ablett is the first ever Brownlow medalist from the Gold Coast Suns and hinted that his ability to win the Brownlow in a developing side means this latest individual honour might be the most satisfying.
”No doubt it’s an honour. I’ve said it before but it has been a really challenging three years up there, and I knew when I made the decision to move to the Gold Coast it was going to take time.”
— Joel Selwood (@joelselwood14) September 23, 2013
He thanked his teammates and in particular Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna.
“He told me to have patience and it will happen eventually,” Ablett said.
“I love all my teammates and I couldn’t be up here without you guys and I’m really hoping we can win a premiership before my time is up.”
Speaking after the victory McKenna praised not only Ablett’s outstanding on-field performance, but also his importance and growth as a leader.
“To be a champion you’ve got to mimic one and I think they’ve got one amongst them,” he said.
“These boys sit back and watch him train and now they’re starting to try and mimic Gary.”
As he did when accepting the 2013 Leigh Matthews trophy, Ablett paid tribute another God – “I want to thank God, because without him I couldn’t be up here tonight”.
Gary Ablett Jnr is now the 14th player in the history of the game to win multiple Brownlow medals.
— Mark Ricciuto (@markricciuto) September 23, 2013