The race to decide the AFL’s Most Valuable Player, as judged by his peers, is nearing completion – with the nominees for the 2014 AFL Players’ MVP Award released this week.
The AFL Players’ MVP remains the only football award decided by those who know the game best: the players.The winner of the Leigh Matthews Trophy will be announced next Tuesday September 9 at Peninsula, Docklands in Melbourne, broadcast live on Fox Footy at 8.30pm.
Players from all 18 clubs have voted internally to elect their three most valuable players in Season 2014.From here, every player in the competition will award a set of three, two and one votes to the three most valuable players from the 17 rival clubs.
In part three of six, our club-by-club look at the shortlist continues with Geelong:
Part one, featuring Adelaide, Brisbane and Carlton can be seen here
Part two, featuring Collingwood, Essendon and Fremantle can be found here
Tom Hawkins has enjoyed the year many knew he was capable of. He built his body up during the off-season and is perhaps now the biggest power-forward going around in the game. ‘Tomahawk’ was in the Coleman Medal race until late in the season and provided a real focal point for the Cats going forward. As he reaches the peak of his career, he’ll begin to become a great leader for young Cats Josh Walker and Shane Kersten inside the forward 50.
— AFL Players (@AFLPlayers) May 23, 2014
One of the most decorated players in the game, Joel Selwood continues to add to his impressive list of team and individual accolades. He had another stand-out year in the midfield for Geelong; he’s one of the most courageous players in the league, a wonderful leader and proven match-winner.
Harry Taylor’s increasing prominence as a swingman for Chris Scott has raised his contribution to the Geelong team. Formerly, he was one of the best defenders in the competition, but his ability up forward means he is now a feared player for the opposition no matter where he is on the field. His reading of the game is also at a high-level, with his ability to drop into a hole in defence, take an uncontested grab and break up opposition attacking waves a real asset of his game.
GOLD COAST SUNS
What else can you say about Gary Ablett? Firstly, he’s aiming to win his sixth AFL Players’ MVP Award and his third in succession. Secondly, his ability to win mega amounts of ball on a weekly basis despite receiving an intense tag – often from more than just one opposition player – is astounding. His absence late in the season, due to a dislocated shoulder, played a big part in the Suns missing out on finals footy. He is by far and away the competition’s best player from a statistical standpoint, averaging 32.1 disposals (17 contested), 8 clearances, 6 tackles and more than one goal per game.
— AFL Players (@AFLPlayers) September 10, 2013
Dion Prestia excelled throughout 2014, and is one of a few young guns looking ready to take over the mantle when the Suns eventually enter post-Ablett era; Prestia was even awarded the captaincy for the Suns’ first game without Ablett. Like several other emerging Suns, Prestia played a handful of games that made the League take notice and begin to recognise just how good this Gold Coast team is going to become.
David Swallow was another Sun to find greater consistency in 2014, as his side emerged as a genuine finals contender for the first time. He averaged mid-20 possessions throughout the year as he began to make the move from half-back into midfield; his tackling ability was also on show on regular occasions including 11 and 10 tackle efforts in tough losses to Hawthorn and Carlton respectively, highlighting his work rate even in adversity.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY GIANTS
Callan Ward continues to justify the lengths the Giants went to poach him away from the emerging Bulldogs with another stellar season, ending up on another level to his 2013 numbers. He led the club for disposals once again and is the key leader in the young Giants midfield.
When Shane Mumford performs at his best, he’s arguably the best ruckman in the league. His early to mid-season form was incredible and many were wondering why the Swans didn’t do more to keep him at the club. Instead, he made the move across town and has flourished in his new role at the young club.
— GWS GIANTS (@GWS_Giants) June 24, 2014
Adam Treloar is arguably the most promising talent in the young Giants’ gun midfield. His numbers throughout the year were maintained at a high level, even when Leon Cameron’s men toiled through tough matches against more experienced outfits. His recently committed loyalty to the Greater Western Sydney project is great news for fans and coaching staff alike.
The winner of the 2014 Leigh Matthews Trophy will be announced at the AFL Players’ MVP Awards on Tuesday, September 9.