Hawthorn forward Luke Breust has pipped Demon Clayton Oliver to secure the AFL Players’ Association’s MVP of the Month award for July.
The 27-year-old has been in rare touch through the Hawks’ charge towards a finals berth, kicking 15 goals while averaging 17 disposals and four tackles. He is the first small forward to win an MVP of the Month award since the concept was introduced in 2017.
Breust received 24.7 per cent of the players’ vote, eclipsing ball-magnet Oliver, who has averaged 35 disposals and 20 contested possessions since Round 16, by just 1.1 per cent (23.6 per cent).
Breust joins Steele Sidebottom, Jack Darling and Shaun Higgins as MVP of the Month winners this year is now automatically nominated for the end-of-season Leigh Matthews Trophy.
The Riverina product has kicked bags of six, five and four in July but his ability on the field extends beyond his prowess in front of the big sticks, according to 1982 AFLPA MVP winner Leigh Matthews.
“Luke Breust is arguably enjoying his best season in 2018, kicking 45 goals from 18 matches, with his ferocious tackling also being a highlight,” Matthews said.
“He took his game to new heights in July, kicking 15 goals in four games to help Hawthorn’s push towards September.”
Oliver’s Melbourne teammate Max Gawn rounded out the top three, securing 20.2 per cent of the playing group’s vote for his effort in July after averaging 15 disposals and 46 hit outs in his last four matches.
Andrew Gaff, Dyson Heppell and last year’s Leigh Matthews Trophy winner Dustin Martin were also nominated for the MVP of the Month in July.
A selection of AFLPA MVP winners (Leigh Matthews, Chris Judd, Gerard Healy and Tim Watson) nominate six players they believe to be the best for the month.
Current players will then vote to decide who they believe is the MVP of the Month from the six nominees. The monthly winner is automatically nominated for the end-of-season AFL Players’ MVP Award (Leigh Matthews Trophy).
March/April — Rounds 1-6 — Steele Sidebottom
May — Rounds 7-10 — Jack Darling
June — Rounds 11-15 — Shaun Higgins
July — Rounds 16-19 — Luke Breust
August — Rounds 20-23