The race to decide the AFL’s Most Valuable Player, as judged by his peers, is nearing completion – with the AFL Players’ MVP Awards to take place tomorrow night.
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.
Part one, featuring Adelaide, Brisbane and Carlton can be seen here
Part two, featuring Collingwood, Essendon and Fremantle can be found here
Part three, featuring Geelong, Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney can be found here
Part four, featuring Hawthorn, Melbourne and North Melbourne can be found here
Part five, featuring Port Adelaide, Richmond and St Kilda can be found here
The final instalment of the six-part reveal of the shortlist begins with Sydney:
Josh Kennedy has been the first name on Longmire’s teamsheet throughout the year and emerged from the star-studded Swans midfield setup as a leader for Jack & Hannebery. His ability to win the contested ball is ranked third in the competition and he averages nearly five inside 50’s each week too, highlighting his worth outside a contest. His defection from Hawthorn to Sydney at the end of 2009 is considered one of footy’s huge errors on Hawthorn’s behalf as Kennedy pursues his second premiership in the harbour city.
Another to enjoy the fruits of a move up the east coast is 2014 Coleman Medal winner Buddy Franklin. His much-publicised move to Sydney shifted the Swans further towards premiership favouritism and after settling in, he’s proven to be a match-winner who just can’t be stopped when he gets going. Franklin kicked 67 majors during the home and away season, featuring five goals or more on six occasions and a huge bag of 9 against St. Kilda.
Luke Parker had a marvellous season. He’s still not even 22, and he collected just nine less possessions in 2014 than his teammate and Brownlow favourite Josh Kennedy. His ball use ranks among the competition’s elite and he doesn’t shy from a contest. His eye for goal is also a feature of his game, too. He bagged four early in the season in Adelaide and kicked more than one on six more occasions. Parker has everything to be a star of the game for years to come.
WEST COAST EAGLES
No player collected more possessions in 2014 than Matt Priddis, more than half of his average disposals were contested and he was also third in the competition for tackles laid – including an herculean 18-tackle game in the wet against Richmond. Having someone like Priddis contributing on a massive scale week-in-week-out would’ve made Adam Simpson’s initiation year into AFL coaching that little bit easier. Now approaching 30, Priddis will be desperate for the Eagles to find greater consistency in 2015 and give September another crack.
The retirement of Eagles champion Darren Glass looked like leaving a gaping whole in Adam Simpson’s back six, but the emergence of Eric Mackenzie as one of the games best key defenders suggests there is still cause for optimism from the West Coast faithful. Mackenzie the scalp of many of the league’s best key forwards in 2014 and his performances have rightfully been recognised by his teammates.
Much like the aforementioned Franklin in the sense that, when Josh Kennedy gets going, you know he’s going to be in for a huge day. He kicked bags of 5, 7, 8 and even a humongous 11 in a Round 8 routing of the Giants. He was the fifth key forward to surpass the 60-goal for the season mark and along with the fast-developing Jack Darling; it’s difficult to place a finger on a better forward setup in the League behind Hawthorn.
As the leading clearance player in the competition, Tom Liberatore is leading the young pack of the Dogs’ midfielders as they continue to turn the heads of the competition. He may have a different frame to his nuggetty-like father Tony but that doesn’t change his hardness at the contest. In the wet at Geelong Liberatore collected 20 contested possessions, won 12 clearances and laid 7 tackles in a gallant defeat for his side.
Not many players in the competition can run with Luke Dahlhaus if he’s let off the leash. His hard-running style of play was complemented with an increased ability to the find ball in 2014 to become one of the Dogs’ most dangerous players. 32 disposals and 2 goals against Essendon and 29 touches with 3 score assists in a great win for his club over Collingwood were his season highlights, already a key player for McCartney at 22 years of age.
Now in the twilight years of his career, Robert Murphy’s ball usage remains a key facet of the Bulldogs’ playing style. With a young, hard-running core in the midfield, Murphy’s composed use of the ball outside a contest between the 50-metre arcs keeps the Dogs’ ticking along. With an efficiency rate above 80% and a weekly average of above 20 disposals, his new one-year deal to go around again in 2015 is great news for Dogs fans.
The winner of the 2014 Leigh Matthews Trophy will be announced at the AFL Players’ MVP Awards on Tuesday, September 9.