Fremantle superstar Nat Fyfe has joined football royalty by winning his second straight Leigh Matthews Trophy, voted by his peers as the 2015 AFL Players’ Association Most Valuable Player.
1. Nat Fyfe – Fremantle (1455 votes)
2. Todd Goldstein – North Melbourne (578)
3. Patrick Dangerfield – Adelaide (364)
4. Matt Priddis – West Coast (269)
5. Josh Kennedy – West Coast (191)
6. Dan Hannebery – Sydney (162)
7. Sam Mitchell – Hawthorn (116)
8. Alex Rance – Richmond (100)
9. Robbie Gray – Port Adelaide (90)
10. Eddie Betts – Adelaide (86)
Fyfe now sits alongside Greg Williams (1985, 1994), Wayne Carey (1995, 1998), Michael Voss (2002, 2003), Chis Judd (2006, 2011) and Gary Ablet (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013) as a multiple winner of the coveted trophy.
The Dockers midfielder polled 1455 votes to finish clear of Todd Goldstein (578), Patrick Dangerfield (364 votes) and West Coast pair Matt Priddis (269) and Josh Kennedy (191).
Dan Hannebery (162), Sam Mitchell (116), Alex Rance (100), Robbie Gray (90) and Eddie Betts (86) rounded out the top 10.
Fyfe accepted the award surrounded by Dockers teammates and West Coast players at a function in Perth.
Fyfe said the Leigh Matthews Trophy carried great significance in the game and he was humbled to receive it for the second year in a row.
“The 800 or so players who vote on it, they don’t get it wrong, it’s such a weight of numbers thing. It’s a fantastic award.
“It’s really nice to be able to throw it back to the players for them to have a say and a vote.”
Fyfe, in an exclusive video with aflplayers.com.au, said he felt a more mature player than when he won the award 12 months ago.
“I have been able to see another season out, get another 20-odd games in the system, play another pre-season. I am still developing into my body and learning what what I am and aren’t capable of.
“I am also learning an AFL season is a marathon and takes a whole range of physical and emotional challenges.”
Fyfe will be out to become the eighth player to win the MVP and Brownlow Medal in the same year. Tony Lockett (1987), Jim Stynes (1991), Williams (1994), Robert Harvey (1997), Shane Crawford (1999), Ben Cousins (2005) and Ablett (2009, 2013) have all achieved that double.
Fyfe missed four games due to injury in the home-and-away season but his impact in the 18 matches he played was enough to convince the football brotherhood that he was the MVP for 2015.
He averaged 28.9 disposals and kicked 17 goals as the Dockers stormed to their first minor premiership in the club’s history.
His 40 disposals in a classic head-to-head battle with Crows star Dangerfield in Fremantle’s narrow win at Adelaide Oval was a highlight of his campaign.
Interestingly, Fyfe used Dangerfield as the prototype of the player he wanted to become during a gruelling pre-season campaign with fitness coach Jason Weber.
“Jason asked me what I wanted to become and I said I wanted to become more like Patrick Dangerfield. As in I want to be able to fend people off, and I want to be explosive when I take off with the ball. I’m not quick, but I want to be quick over a couple of metres. And I really want to stand up in tackles like Chris Judd did for so long.
“From there we got to work on a lot of specific speed and power work with legs.
“My end of the bargain was to trust him 100 per cent. And I did. And on the track, and in my figure, I was able to see and feel shifts in my speed and power … It was really empowering.
“When we started match simulation it came to life. I was able to accelerate away from people, I was able to shrug people off. People couldn’t pull me to ground.”
ABOUT THE LEIGH MATTHEWS TROPHY
The MVP is awarded to the player acknowledged by his peers to have displayed leadership, versatility, ability to play under pressure, skill and courage, respect for all players and overall value to a team.
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.
Then, in the second round of voting, all AFL players vote for their MVP on a 3-2-1 basis from the three nominees of the 17 other clubs.
Leigh Matthews (1982)
Terry Daniher (1983)
Russell Greene (1984)
Greg Williams (1985, 1994)
Paul Roos (1986)
Tony Lockett (1987)
Gerard Healy (1988)
Tim Watson (1989)
Darren Millane (1990)
Jim Stynes (1991)
Jason Dunstall (1992)
Gary Ablett, Sr. (1993)
Wayne Carey (1995, 1998)
Corey McKernan (1996)
Robert Harvey (1997)
Shane Crawford (1999)
Anthony Koutoufides (2000)
Andrew McLeod (2001)
Luke Darcy (2002)
Michael Voss (2002, 2003)
Nick Riewoldt (2004)
Ben Cousins (2005)
Chris Judd (2006, 2011)
Dane Swan (2010)
Gary Ablett, Jr. (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013)
Nathan Fyfe (2014)