Sydney midfielder Josh Kennedy has taken out the inaugural Gary Ayres Award for the best player in the 2016 finals series.
Kennedy polled seven votes in Saturday’s Grand Final loss to win the award by just one vote ahead of Norm Smith medallist, Jason Johannisen.
The 28-year-old collected 18 votes across Sydney’s four finals games, polling in all except for the preliminary final win over Geelong.
Kennedy was given the full 10 votes against Adelaide a fortnight ago after claiming a single vote in the qualifying final loss to the GWS Giants.
AFL Coaches’ Association CEO Mark Brayshaw says Kennedy’s consistency across the four games means he’s a deserving winner.
“Josh’s performance in the Grand Final was wonderful, but he’s the inaugural winner of our Gary Ayres Award because he polled votes in three of the Swans’ four finals. He’s had a mighty September of football and is a deserved winner,” he said.
Johannisen was given nine votes by the coaches for his Grand Final heroics, to finish just one vote behind Kennedy and two ahead of third-placed Swan, Isaac Heeney.
Tom Boyd was recognised for his breakout game with eight of a possible 10 votes, while Liam Picken’s outstanding finals series continued, adding two more votes in the Grand Final.
Votes for the Gary Ayres Award were issued for every game of the final series by the competing coaches on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis.
The award was introduced by the AFLCA for the 2016 season and is named in honour of one of the game’s great finals players.
Gary Ayres won five premierships with Hawthorn between 1983 and 1991, claiming the 1986 and 1988 Norm Smith medals in the process.
AFL Coaches’ Association’s Gary Ayres Award votes for the Grand Final:
sydney V WESTERN BULLDOGS
9 Jason Johannisen (WB), 8 Tom Boyd (WB), 7 Josh Kennedy (SYD), 2 Liam Picken (WB), 2 Easton Wood (WB), 1 Joel Hamling (WB), 1 Jackson Macrae (WB).