Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett has taken out the AFL Players’ Association’s Most Valuable Player award for a record fourth time.
Ablett capped an outstanding season to poll 788 votes, a fair margin ahead of Essendon captain Jobe Watson (602 votes) in second and Tiger Trent Cotchin (495 votes) in third.
The night was marked with a minute’s silence to open the ceremony in honour of Port Adelaide’s John McCarthy, who tragically passed away earlier this week. Several changes were made to the running of the night to respect McCarthy’s memory, with a sombre mood sweeping over one of the AFL’s most prestigious awards.
The award is based on every player in the AFL giving a 3, 2 and 1 ranking to the player they believe to be the most valuable in the competition.
Ablett’s victory sees him become the only player to collect four MVP awards, with Chris Judd, Greg Willams, Wayne Carey and Michael Voss the only other multiple winners with two awards each.
The Gold Coast skipper was clearly delighted with his triumph.
“It’s an honour to win, it doesn’t feel any different,” Ablett said in his acceptance speech, “Being the captain up there [on the Gold Coast], I’ve had to change a few things about how I’ve gone about my football on and off the field.
“There’s no doubt that although I’m 28 now I’m going to keep trying to improve my game and hopefully help the team win a premiership.”
The AFL Players’ Association president Matt Finnis hailed Ablett’s achievements.
“To win one MVP is a significant achievement, but to be voted by your peers as the league’s most valuable player on four separate occasions is nothing short of remarkable.”
These sentiments were echoed by Leigh Matthews, who the award is named after.
“He was an amazing champion in a champion team where it was easier to play well. Now he’s a champion player in a struggling team and he’s also become a great leader.”
Meanwhile in other awards, Essendon’s Jobe Watson was voted the League’s Best Captain, while Greater Western Sydney’s Jeremy Cameron was named the Best First Year Player. Geelong’s Joel Selwood and West Coast’s Beau Waters tied for the Most Courageous Player award.
Riley Beveridge. Follow Riley on Twitter: @RileyBev
AFLPA MVP TOP 10
1 – Gary Ablett (788)
2 – Jobe Watson (602)
3 – Trent Cotchin (495)
4 – Dayne Beams (377)
5 = Patrick Dangerfield (256)
5 = Josh P. Kennedy (256)
7 – Matthew Pavlich (222)
8 – Tom Hawkins (134)
9 – Scott Thompson (118)
10 – Drew Petrie (107)
AFLPA BEST CAPTAIN
1 – Jobe Watson
2 – Joel Selwood
3 – Matthew Pavlich
AFLPA MOST COURAGEOUS
1 = Joel Selwood & Beau Waters
3 – Lenny Hayes
AFLPA BEST FIRST YEAR PLAYER
1 – Jeremy Cameron
2 – Dayne Zorko
3 – Ahmed Saad