A day after leading his side as Collingwood skipper for a record-breaking 162nd match, Scott Pendlebury has underlined his status as a great leader by claiming the AFL Players’ Best Captain Award, presented by The Diamond Guys, for the first time.
Pendlebury, who finished third in last year’s Best Captain Award, polled 116 votes from the playing group to beat first-year Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli (98 votes) and Port Adelaide skipper Tom Jonas (90 votes) for the title.
Collingwood vice-captain, Taylor Adams, said the award was great recognition from players across the competition and provided an insight into why Pendlebury has been a successful leader of the Magpies for a long period of time.
“Pendles treats everyone equally – from our president to the newest draftee – everyone is part of the club,” he said.
“One of the biggest things that stands out about his leadership qualities is that he’s egoless. He works hard to support and nurture those at our club and he’s an approachable and caring leader.”
As part of a digital rollout of the AFLPA MVP Awards, inspirational Sydney skipper Dane Rampe (113 votes) took out the Robert Rose Most Courageous Player award, presented by Our Watch, ahead of hard-at-it St Kilda midfielder Jack Steele (95 votes) and fearless Demon Jack Viney (89 votes).
Fremantle midfielder Caleb Serong (340 votes) capped off his meteoric rise to the elite level, with the 19-year-old a runaway winner of the Best First-Year Player award, presented by MSC Signs, followed by Gold Coast’s Noah Anderson (158 votes) in second place.
The week got a little better for St Kilda which, along with securing their first finals appearance since 2011, proved it has one of the league’s most exciting young lists, with an equal-competition high three players selected in the final 2020 22Under22 fan-voted team, alongside Fremantle and Gold Coast.
Essendon young star, Andrew McGrath secured his fourth-consecutive selection and was named as the side’s captain, with Carlton defender Jacob Weitering, his deputy.
“It’s a huge honour to make this side alongside so many great young players in our competition,” McGrath said.
“To see the impact these players have had throughout the season is inspiring and a real look into the future of our game. Being recognised as captain is also a proud moment with so many outstanding young leaders among this group and I can’t wait to see how they develop as people and players in the coming years.”
Weitering also made the final team for the third time in his short career and had the honour of being the most selected of any player in the side, featuring in 92.14% of all entries.
The 40-man squad was narrowed to the best 22 players aged 22 and under as voted by footy fans. To be eligible for selection, players had to be aged 22 or younger for the entire AFL season, including finals.
Melbourne’s Libby Birch, Geelong’s Harry Taylor and North Melbourne’s Todd Goldstein were all presented an Education and Training Excellence Award, presented by Torrens University, for their commitment to their studies away from the football field.
For his in-depth feature on the brave journey of former St Kilda player Robert Muir, the ABC’s Russell Jackson took out the Grant Hattam Award for Excellence in Sports Journalism, presented by Thomson Geer Lawyers.
WINNERS AND VOTES
Robert Rose Most Courageous Player, presented by Our Watch
Dane Rampe – 113
Jack Steele – 95
Jack Viney – 89
Tom Jonas – 61
Liam Duggan – 47
Best First Year Player, presented by MSC Signs
Caleb Serong – 340
Noah Anderson – 158
Will Day – 47
Lachlan Ash – 30
Mitchell Georgiades – 22
Best Captain, presented by The Diamond Guys
Scott Pendlebury – 116
Marcus Bontempelli – 98
Tom Jonas – 90
Joel Selwood – 54
Trent Cotchin – 51
The second part of the AFLPA MVP Awards will reveal the winner of the Leigh Matthews Trophy during a consolidated end-of-season awards program on Thursday via a virtual event broadcast on Fox Footy, Kayo and AFL Live Pass.
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 Player, but every captain is automatically nominated for the Best Captain Award.