The race to decide the AFL’s Most Valuable Player, as judged by his peers, is nearing completion – with the nominees for the 2014 AFL Players’ MVP Award released this week.
The AFL Players’ MVP remains the only football award decided by those who know the game best: the players. The winner of the Leigh Matthews Trophy will be announced next Tuesday September 9 at Peninsula, Docklands in Melbourne, broadcast live on Fox Footy at 8.30pm.
Players from all 18 clubs have voted internally to elect their three most valuable players in Season 2014.From here, every player in the competition will award a set of three, two and one votes to the three most valuable players from the 17 rival clubs.
In part four of six, our club-by-club look at the shortlist continues with Hawthorn.
Part one, featuring Adelaide, Brisbane and Carlton can be seen here
Part two, featuring Collingwood, Essendon and Fremantle can be found here
Part three, featuring Geelong, Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney can be found here
As the competition’s highest-scoring club in 2014, it’s no surprise that two of Hawthorn’s forward six are seen among the most valuable at the club.
Luke Breust raised his game to another level in 2014, with his incredible accuracy for goal just one extremely valuable feature of his game. He kicked 29 goals without missing through the mid-season period, equalling Tony Lockett’s long-standing record. Combine this accuracy with speed and immense forward pressure and it’s no surprise he’s so highly regarded by his teammates.
— AFL Players (@AFLPlayers) July 14, 2014
Behind Roughead and Breust in Hawthorn’s goalkicking stats for the year, Jack Gunston emerged as a superstar of the future. Still just 22, the young gun had an incredible season and would’ve surpassed the 50-goal mark if it weren’t for a short period out with injury. His big, athletic frame set him apart from many other key forwards in the league and he looks every bit a Coleman medallist of the future.
Hard-at-it midfielder Jordan Lewis hit career-best form this season in the Hawks’ pursuit of consecutive premierships. The vice-captain averaged close to 30 possessions and was among the best tacklers at the club, highlighting his multi-faceted contribution as an on-field leader for Clarkson. 44 disposals in a close-run loss to the Dockers in the west was a career-best game.
Jordan Lewis has averaged a career-high 27 disposals a game and has had 25+ ten times. All-Australian and possible best and fairest year…
— Adam White (@White_Adam) July 28, 2014
Still just 26 years of age, co-captain Nathan Jones has been an immense leader for the Demons through a challenging period. In a promising first season under Paul Roos, Jones maintained consistency throughout and continues to collect disposal numbers and clearances that rival the competition’s best midfielders.
Lynden Dunn emerged as a leader for Melbourne after being shifted down to defence two seasons ago. He gets given a tough opposition assignment week in, week out and still collects reasonable amounts of the ball himself. 29 disposals in a great win for the club in Round 13 was a career highlight.
The deal that brought Dom Tyson from GWS to Melbourne already looks to be a successful one for the Demons. Tyson is going to be a star of the Dees’ midfield and after beginning season 2014 in sensational form, he contributed soundly for the rest of the year. Following a 30-disposal performance against reigning premiers Hawthorn, coach Paul Roos signalled out Tyson’s stellar season and praised his young midfielders’ work rate and ability to learn quickly.
NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS
After struggling to gain a foothold in North’s best 22 in previous seasons, Levi Greenwood emerged into a star of the Arden Street midfield in 2014. He averaged 25 disposals throughout the year, played all but two games and is considered by many as a favourite for the clubs’ best and fairest award. A stellar mid-season run saw Greenwood collect four 30-plus disposal games in five weeks.
Brent Harvey continues to fend off father time; for many weeks throughout 2014 ‘Boomer’ was in career-best form, leading many to create a likeness between himself and Benjamin Button. Some have suggested his hard-running, high-impact style of play could see him become the perfect player for the substitute role once his ability to run a full game is eventually out of his legs. Regardless of how much longer he has left, Harvey is still a joy to watch. 39 disposals in a big win over Brisbane was his best performance of the season.
Ben Cunnington won plaudits internally at the Kangaroos for his ability to step-up from the beginning of the season when Andrew Swallow was still on his way back from an Achilles injury. The young midfielder’s work rate has won him this nomination; his ability to collect around the 20-possession mark and be handed a tough ‘run-with’ assignment each week means Cunnington is valued for both the offensive and defensive side of his game.
The winner of the 2014 Leigh Matthews Trophy will be announced at the AFL Players’ MVP Awards on Tuesday, September 9.