Gold Coast Suns’ champion Gary Ablett Jnr has broken his own record by winning his fifth Leigh Matthews Trophy after being voted by his peers as the 2013 AFL Players’ Association Most Valuable Player.
Ablett personally accepted the award in front of over 600 guests at the 2013 Be the Influence AFL Players’ MVP Awards held at Peninsula, Docklands this evening. Ablett finished ahead of Joel Selwood, Jarryd Roughead, Scott Pendlebury and Kieren Jack.
— Andrew Mackie (@AndrewMackie_4) September 10, 2013
The MVP Awards remain the only peer-voted accolades in the industry, recognising versatility, the ability to play under pressure, skill, leadership, courage, respect for all players and – most importantly – overall value to a team.
Ablett’s trophy cabinet gains a new piece of silverware adding to his already impressive array of awards, including two premierships (2007, 2009), a Brownlow Medal, five All Australian guernseys, three AFLCA Champion Player of the Year Awards (2007, 2008, 2009), five club Best and Fairests and three leading goal kicker awards.
Top night tonight at the @AFLPlayers MVP awards! Gary Ablett is truly in a league of his own and hats off to Boydy for the education award!
— Easton Wood (@easton_wood) September 10, 2013
AFL Players’ CEO Matt Finnis praised Ablett’s ability to consistently produce outstanding performances over a career with two very different teams.
“When he won his first three Leigh Matthews’ Trophies, we all agreed Gary was a champion in a star-studded team and marvelled at his on-field brilliance,” said Finnis.
“However what he has achieved since moving to the Suns, adding two Leigh Matthews Trophies to take his tally to five, is nothing short of extraordinary. With this unprecedented achievement he would have to be considered one of the greatest players of all time.”
AFL Players’ President Luke Ball echoed these sentiments saying the respect Ablett had gathered amongst his peers had grown not only because of his football skill but also his leadership as the Captain of the Gold Coast Suns.
“When Gary moved to the Suns I don’t think anyone knew how big the challenge was and what effect it would have on his football, but the consistency of his performances and his ability to take his game to another level has left the football world in awe of his talent,” said Ball.
“He has a team of young stars around him and they couldn’t have picked a better leader to show them what it takes to be a champion on and off the field” – Luke Ball
“He has a team of young stars around him and they couldn’t have picked a better leader to show them what it takes to be a champion on and off the field.”
In other awards presented tonight Joel Selwood lived up to the title of Captain Courageous, taking out both the Best Captain and Most Courageous Awards.
Selwood was named the Best Captain, presented by L’Oreal Men Expert, ahead of Gary Ablett Jnr and Jobe Watson, whilst he also won the Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award, presented by Fire Ready Victoria, ahead of Swans’ midfielder Daniel Hannebery and Adelaide’s Rory Sloane.
The prized Best First Year Player, presented by Be the Influence, went to Jaeger O’ Meara who was a clear winner over Oliver Wines and Brad Crouch, continuing his incredible debut season for the Suns.
Matthew Boyd was awarded the Education and Training Excellence Award, presented by La Trobe Sport, while Channel 7 – Saturday Night Footy won the Grant Hattam Trophy for Excellence in Sports Journalism, presented by Kelly Hazell Quill Lawyers, for their #DISCOVERED story which focused on Jeremy Cameron’s life away from football.
— Shane Crawford (@SCrawf9) September 10, 2013