For the second year in a row, Luke Parker has won the Robert Rose Award for the Most Courageous Player, presented by Ladder.
Parker joins Gavin Brown, Paul Kelly, Glenn Archer, Jonathan Brown and Joel Selwood as a multiple winner, and last year became the third Sydney Swans player to collect the award.
The 23-year-old has enjoyed a stellar season, averaging 28 disposals, ranking sixth in contested possessions, and eighth in clearances.
Brett Kirk, who received the accolade in 2006, works closely with Parker as an assistant coach.
“He’s uncompromising in the way he attacks the footy,” Kirk told Aflplayers.com.au.
“He consistently puts his head over the ball and he doesn’t flinch. Sometimes there’s no concern for his own safety, and that’s shown by the fact that he doesn’t hesitate.”
Over the course of the last few years, Parker has steadily grown as a leader.
The courageous traits on the field have always been there, but Kirk has enjoyed watching the maturation off the field as Parker has developed into a courageous vocal leader.
“When it’s time to sit in a meeting and speak up, he has the courage to speak.”
“Luke is a leader of the footy club, and he really drives our style of play. He’s a role model, and anyone who comes to the club realises what it’s about.”
Parker has earned the respect of his peers due to the way he attacks the contest with reckless abandon.
Both in the air and at ground level, Parker’s physicality is on display.
“I enjoy watching those 50/50 contests in games because you know that he’s going to come out with a positive ledger most times,” Kirk added.
“He’s his own player, he’s treading his own path. He’s a hard, tough inside midfielder who wins his own ball. We’re really fortunate to have him.”
Kirk knows the enormity of such an award, having been voted by his peers in 2006.
“To win any award that’s voted on by your peers and guys you play against you hold in really high regard. I’m sure all the players that receive awards this year will be honoured because you respect the guys you run out against.”
“He’s really proud to win it, but he’ll just take it in his stride as a reflection of the way he plays.”
Robert Rose Award 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