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Players name Nat Fyfe the league’s MVP

Fremantle midfielder Nat Fyfe has taken out the Leigh Matthews Trophy after being voted by his peers as the 2014 AFL Players’ Association Most Valuable Player.

In what was one of the closest counts in recent Players’ Association history, Fyfe edged out reigning MVP Gary Ablett Jnr to claim his first Leigh Matthews Trophy.

The AFL Players’ MVP remains the only football award decided by those who know the game best – the players. Nat accepted the award from Players’ Association Vice President Matthew Pavlich via a live cross in Perth to over 600 guests at the 2014 AFL Players’ MVP Awards, held at Peninsula, Docklands this evening. Nathan finished the count with 945 votes, ahead of Gary Ablett (787 votes), with Lance Franklin (428), Dyson Heppell (274) and Josh Kennedy (234) rounding out the top five.

AFL Players’ President Luke Ball praised Nat’s outstanding performances this season as the Dockers continue their finals campaign.

“I think it comes as no surprise that Nat has won his first MVP, with the season he has had,” Luke said.

“At just 22 years of age, he’s had a standout year and this was rewarded with being named in the All-Australian squad of 40. To be recognised by the 800 players who voted showcases just how much value is placed on this award and Nat’s performance this year is a reflection of that.”

In other awards presented tonight Joel Selwood lived up to his reputation as one the fiercest competitors in the game, taking out the Most Courageous Award for the second consecutive year, presented by Cancer Council Victoria.

Luke Hodge was named the Best Captain, presented by L’Oreal Men Expert, ahead of Joel Selwood and Gary Ablett.

The prized Best First Year Player, presented by La Trobe University, went to Marcus Bontempelli, who was a runaway winner, continuing his incredible debut season for the Bulldogs. Marcus took out the award ahead of St Kilda’s Luke Dunstan and Brisbane’s Lewis Taylor.

Jonathon Griffin was awarded the Education and Training Excellence Award, presented by La Trobe University, while Michael Gleeson from The Age won the Grant Hattam Trophy for Excellence in Sports Journalism, presented by Kelly Hazell Quill Lawyers, for his article titled “On a wing and a prayer with footy’s faithful”, which explores religion in the AFL, with a focus on the players who let their faith define who they are, not their football. Thousands of votes from all corners of Australia were also cast to select the AFL Players’ 2014 22Under22 team.

The final team was announced at the MVP awards, with Dyson Heppell from the Essendon Football Club named the 22Under22 captain for the second consecutive year, with Jack Gunston from Hawthorn selected vice-captain in the fan voting category.

Footy fans were asked to help select a team showcasing the competition’s best young players by voting via social media. To be eligible for selection, players had to be aged 22 or younger for the entire AFL season, including finals.

The Voting Process

The 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.

Then, in the second round of voting, all AFL 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.


Leigh Matthews Trophy

Nat Fyfe (Fremantle)
Gary Ablett (Gold Coast)
Lance Franklin (Sydney)
Dyson Heppell (Essendon)
Josh Kennedy (Sydney)
Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood)
Tom Rockliff (Brisbane)
Joel Selwood (Geelong)
Robert Gray (Port Adelaide)
Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide)

The Robert Rose Most Courageous Award, presented by Cancer Council Victoria

Joel Selwood (Geelong)
Callan Ward (GWS)
Luke Hodge (Hawthorn)
Rory Sloane (Adelaide)
Ben McGlynn (Sydney)

Best First Year Player, presented by La Trobe University

Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs)
Luke Dunstan (St Kilda)
Lewis Taylor (Brisbane)
Zach Merrett (Essendon)
Luke McDonald (North Melbourne)

Best Captain, presented by L’Oreal Men Expert

Luke Hodge (Hawthorn)
Joel Selwood (Geelong)
Gary Ablett (Gold Coast Suns)
Travis Boak (Port Adelaide)
Nick Riewoldt (St Kilda)

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