GARY ABLETT NAMED AFL PLAYERS' ASSOCIATION MVP
By Ben Jensen GEELONG'S GARY ABLETT has won the AFL Players' Association's MVP award for 2007. Ablett was awarded the Leigh Matthews Trophy, after being selected best by 212 peers, ahead of Brisbane's Jonathan Brown with 139 votes and West Coast dynamo Daniel Kerr on 48 votes.
Ablett placed sixth in Monday night's Brownlow medal, behind winner and Geelong midfield teammate Jimmy Bartel. Fremantles Matthew Pavlich and Port Adelaides Chad Cornes followed (equal 32) with Kangaroo Brent Harvey rounding out the top five receiving 24 votes.
Gary's father (Gary Senior) won the award back in 1993, during which he kicked 124 goals in just 17 games. This season Gary junior has played 24 games for a return of 349 kicks, 299 handballs, 29 goals, 78 tackles and 20 Brownlow votes.
The Leigh Matthews Trophy for Most Valuable Player, sponsored by Medibank Private, recognises versatility, ability to play under pressure, skill, courage, leadership, respect for all players & value to a team. To vote, players initially nominate two players from their own club for each award. Players then vote for the player, (not from their own club), they believe should win the Award.
In other awards, Brisbane Lions co-captain Jonathan Brown received the coveted Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award, sponsored by Fosters Group. Brown was selected as the competitions Most Courageous by 151 fellow players, followed by six time award winner Kangaroo Glenn Archer (109) and Geelongs Jimmy Bartel (100).
The accomplished debut season of Geelongs Joel Selwood was recognised after he received the Best First Year Player Award, sponsored by Fox Sports, ahead of a strong field of debutants, including Port Adelaides Justin Westhoff, Essendons Alwyn Davey and Carltons Bryce Gibbs.
Mercurial young Hawk Lance Franklins stunning year was duly recognised as he received the Marn Grook Award for Best Emerging Indigenous Player, sponsored by Qantas, joining past recipients Danyle Pearce, Aaron Davey, Daniel Wells, Graham Johncock, Leon Davis and Dean Rioli.
The judges couldnt split the efforts of Collingwoods Shane Wakelin and Adelaides Brett Burton in the Education and Training Excellence Award, sponsored by Drake Training. Selected from an impressive group of players to have excelled on and off the field, Shane and Brett impressed the judges in equal parts by coupling commitment and achievement in their academic and football careers.
CAMERON MOONEY AND GARY ABLETT CELEBRATE A WIN AT TELSTRA DOME
GARY ABLETT IN FLIGHT IN ROUND 16
ZAIDEE'S RAINBOW FOUNDATION - http://www.zaidee.org