There’s a reason Patrick Dangerfield was crowned the best by his peers.
After a sensational debut season with the Cats, Patrick Dangerfield claimed the AFL Players’ Association MVP Award for 2016 by a staggering margin, beating Crows teammate Rory Sloane for the Leigh Matthews Trophy.
Dangerfield capped off one of the more brilliant seasons seen in recent years, becoming the first player to win the peer-voted award in his first year at a new club.
The 26-year-old had a career-best season in 2016, averaging 31 disposals, eight inside 50s, six clearances and kicking 23 goals while playing every game for the Cats.
But it’s all facets of Dangerfield’s games that impresses the players, according to St Kilda midfielder Jack Steven, who grew up with Dangerfield and spent time playing alongside him at the Geelong Falcons.
“He’s just so powerful. He’s a big body but he’s also so quick. He can break away from stoppages and use his legs and he has a penetrating kick. He also has the ability to take a great grab and go forward which is more than handy,” Steven tells Aflplayers.com.au.
“At the moment, it doesn’t seem like he has any weaknesses. To match it with him you just have to try your best to put body work on him at the stoppages but you still want to get the ball yourself, so you need to work off him as well.”
“This year he has been so consistent and so explosive. Averaging 30 possessions and being so damaging when he gets it probably makes him the best player in the competition.”
Dangerfield polled 1,369 votes, 926 votes clear of second place Rory Sloane on 443, with Sydney’s Luke Parker rounding out the top three.
He becomes the fourth Geelong player to be crowned the AFLPA MVP winner following Greg Williams (1985), Gary Ablett Sn. (1993) and Gary Ablett Jn. (2007, 2008, 2009).
Recruited to Adelaide with pick 10 in the 2007 draft, Dangerfield showed signs of his elite talent from an early age.
“I’ve pretty much grown up with him and seen him since the under-14s and he was pretty much the same player back then. Even in school he was killing it,” Steven added.
“He’s obviously got a lot more muscle these days and he was never really that big back in the juniors but he definitely showed signs of the player he is today.”
And while Dangerfield’s peers are impressed by his abilities on the field, he is also is well-liked off it.
“I think we might’ve called him ‘Danger Mouse’ in the juniors because he’s really chirpy and a bit of a character. He likes a laugh and he’s a good fella,” Steven joked.
Leigh Matthew Trophy votes for 2016
1) Patrick Dangerfield – 1369 votes
2) Rory Sloane – 443 votes
3) Dustin Martin – 297 votes
4) Max Gawn and Eddie Betts – 238 votes
5) Luke Parker – 218 votes