Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield has been rewarded for his outstanding 2016 season with the prestigious AFL Players’ Association Most Valuable Player award.
Dangerfield was clearly the players’ choice, claiming the Leigh Matthews Trophy with 1369 votes, ahead of former Adelaide Crows teammate Rory Sloane (443 votes) and Richmond’s Dustin Martin (297 votes).
Rounding out the top five was Melbourne’s Max Gawn and Adelaide Crows forward Eddie Betts in equal fourth place (238 votes), followed by Sydney Swan’s midfielder Luke Park (218 votes).
Dangerfield accepted the trophy from Leigh Matthews and dual MVP winner Nat Fyfe in front of more than 450 people at the 35th AFL Players’ MVP Awards at Melbourne’s Peninsula at Docklands.
“I’m very grateful to have been awarded the Leigh Matthews Trophy,” Dangerfield said.
“To be named most valuable player by the guys I play against every week is incredibly humbling and an honour I’ll never forget.
“It’s very humbling to look up at the past champions who have played our game, and to sit alongside them and have my name on the trophy is special.”
AFL Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh said the weight of votes behind Dangerfield highlighted the dominance of his season.
“In making the move from Adelaide to Geelong, Patrick has really taken his game to another level,” he said.
“The AFL Players’ MVP remains the only football award decided by those who know the game best – the players, and to be voted by his peers as the AFL’s most valuable player is a true testament to the skill and class Patrick brings to the game.”
Several other awards were presented throughout the night, including the Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award presented by Ladder, which was won by Sydney’s Luke Parker for the second year running.
Twelve months after Isaac Heeney won the Best First Year Player award, Callum Mills, another North Shore product from the Swans, was bestowed the honour ahead of Darcy Parish and Jacob Weitering.
Adelaide Crow Taylor Walker edged out Nick Riewoldt and Callan Ward to be crowned the competition’s Best Captain, presented by L’Oreal Men Expert.
The AFL Players’ 2016 22Under22 fan-voted team was also revealed, with Bulldog Marcus Bontempelli elected captain and Essendon’s Zach Merrett named vice-captain.
After 6,000 votes were cast by fans from all over Australia, the 50-man squad was narrowed to the best 22 players aged 22 and under. To be eligible for selection, players had to be aged 22 or younger for the entire AFL season, including finals.
The Education and Training Excellence Award, presented by La Trobe University, was awarded to North Melbourne’s Jamie Macmillan for his commitment to a Bachelor of Commerce and a variety of other extracurricular activities.
The Age journalist Emma Quayle took out the Grant Hattam Award for Excellence in Sports Journalism, presented by m+k Lawyers, for her feature on Essendon’s Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti.
Winners and top polling players
1) Patrick Dangerfield – 1369 votes
2) Rory Sloane – 443 votes
3) Dustin Martin – 297 votes
4) Max Gawn and Eddie Betts – 238 votes
5) Luke Parker – 218 votes
1) Luke Parker – 133 votes
2) Callan Ward – 111 votes
3) Alex Rance – 100 votes
4) Joel Selwood – 58 votes
5) Jack Viney – 55 votes
1) Callum Mills – 328 votes
2) Darcy Parish – 137 votes
3) Jacob Weitering – 108 votes
4) Jade Gresham – 40 votes
5) Marcus Adams – 30 votes
1) Taylor Walker – 127 votes
2) Nick Riewoldt – 111 votes
3) Callan Ward – 109 votes
4) Luke Hodge – 76 votes
5) Joel Selwood – 61 votes
MVP Voting Process
MVP voting is a two-stage process, beginning with each player voting for the three teammates he considers to have been the most valuable this season. Each club’s votes are then tallied to form a nomination list comprising 54 players across the 18 teams.
In the second round of voting, all players vote for their MVP on a 3, 2, 1 basis from the nominees of the 17 other clubs. The votes are tallied and the player with the highest score wins the honour of MVP. Players cannot vote for their own teammates in stage two of the process.
A similar process is followed for Best First Year Player and Most Courageous, but every captain is automatically nominated for the Best Captain Award.