Tipped by no-one as premiers at the start of the year, a rampaging start put the AFL on notice that the men from Sydney were a force to be reckoned with. The Swans embarked on an incredible run through to the finals, with upset after upset culminating in a thrilling Grand Final victory. Get it for just $A29.95 on DVD. Prices do not include shipping. All video sales benefit AFANA if you use the link below. Purchase your videos here:
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by Lisa reporting for AFANA from Chicago
As well as the Brownlow Medal, there have been a number of other pre- and post- Grand Final Awards presented. Several clubs have also announced their best and fairest awards. One of the biggest, of course, is the Norm Smith Medal which is presented to the best on ground in the Grand Final. This year it was won by Eagle Andrew Embley. Below is a breakdown of the votes:
NORM SMITH MEDAL VOTES
Michael Sheahan (Herald Sun)
3: Andrew Embley (WC), 2: Tadhg Kennelly (Syd), 1: Beau Waters (WC)
Jenny McAsey (The Australian)
3: Embley, 2: Brett Kirk (Sydney), 1: Dean Cox (WC)
Rohan Connolly (The Age)
3: Embley, 2: Kirk, 1: Cox
Ray Wilson (West Australian)
3: Cox, 2: Kirk, 1: Embley
Mark Maclure (ABC Radio)
3: Daniel Kerr (WC), 2: Kirk, 1: Cox
10 – Embley
8 – Kirk
6 – Cox
3 – Kerr
2 – Kennelly
1 - Waters
Chris Judd MVP
Eagle Chris Judd added one more prize to his already bulging trophy cabinet. On the eve of the Grand Final, the AFLPA announced the results of its award voting, which is done by the players themselves.
Last week, Adam Goodes said after his Brownlow win that he held being voted the best among his peers in more esteem than the Brownlow Medal. But he was well behind Judd in the voting with 73 votes while Judd polled 181 votes to be a runaway winner. Adelaide midfielder Simon Goodwin finished third in the count with 49 votes, while Eagle midfielder Daniel Kerr was fourth with 47 votes. Cousins won the award last year.
Judd's victory was further reaffirmation that players see the game differently than umpires, as he became the 18th MVP in the award's 25-year history not to have won the Brownlow Medal in the same year.
In the other most prestigious award, Kangaroo Glenn Archer and Sydney co-captain Brett Kirk shared the Most Courageous Player award. It was a record sixth win in the category for Archer, but a first win for Kirk.
Carlton young gun Marc Murphy was judged Best First Year Player, Adelaide skipper Mark Ricciuto won the Best Captain Award for a second successive season, while Port Adelaide's Danyle Pearce won the Marn Grook Award for the best emerging indigenous player.
2006 Mark & Goal Winners
Carlton's Eddie Betts has won Goal of the Year and Geelong Cat Brad Ottens won Mark of the Year.
Betts' goal came in the Round 21 match against Collingwood at the MCG. Betts intercepted a Tarkyn Lockyer handball and, despite close attention from Lockyer and Simon Prestigiacomo, threaded a miracle banana kick from the boundary line.
Ottens' mark came in the Round Five match against Sydney at Telstra Stadium. Sydney's Nick Malceski drove the ball long on the wing in the final quarter with Ottens caught behind Sydney's Darren Jolly and Barry Hall. Ottens flew high, with his knee on Jolly's shoulder, to take a magnificent high mark as he hovered in the air.
Both players will receive a trophy, the Phil Manassa Medal (goal) and Alex Jesaulenko Medal (mark), presented by Toyota, the use of a Toyota Aurion for 12 months, and $10,000 for their grassroots club, also presented by Toyota.
Source: Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release
James McDonald, known as "Junior", capped off his stellar season with the Keith "Bluey" Truscott Medal, the club's best and fairest award. McDonald, 30, played every game this season to take his career tally to 177 since he debuted in 1997.
McDonald, who finished runner-up in 2003 but failed to make the top 10 last year, had his finest season at AFL level in 2006 when he won 555 disposals and 143 tackles for the year, the most of any player in the competition. He also was the only Demon to be named All-Australian this year.
The Top 10 (NOTE: the four members of the match committee select the best five players in each game, then rate them on a 1-10 scale):
James McDonald 464
Cameron Bruce 317
Brock McLean 303
David Neitz 290
Brad Green 259
Nathan Carroll 257
Matthew Whelan 250
Jared Rivers 224
Jeff White 204
Travis Johnstone 197
Norm Smith Memorial Trophy (Best team player): James McDonald
Ron Barassi jnr Trophy (Most improved): Nathan Carroll
Harold Ball Memorial Trophy (Best first year player): Clint Bartram
Ian Ridley Trophy (Most consistent player): James McDonald
Jim Hannan/Redlegs Memorial Trophy (Best clubman): Aaron Davey
Troy Broadbridge Memorial Trophy (Highest vote-getter in Sandringham B&F): Phillip Read
The club also announced this year's inductees into its own Hall Of Fame inductees. They were
Fred McGinis (1897-1901)
Robert 'Tassie' Johnson (1959-1969)
Gary Hardeman (1967-1977, 1981)
Jim Stynes (1987-1998)
Brett Lovett (1986-1997)
Garry Lyon (1986-1999)
Hall-of-Fame member Ian Ridley (1954-1961) was elevated to Legend Status, joining Norm Smith (1935-1948, Fitzroy (1949-1950, Melbourne Coach 1952-1967), and Ron Barassi (1953-1964, Carlton 1965-1969)
Source: Melbourne Age, afl.com, Encyclopedia of League Footballers)
Nick Riewoldt won his third Trevor Barker Award as the club's best and fairest. He previously won it in 2002 and 2004. Only Bill Cubbins (1915, 1919-1926, 1928-1930) and Robert Harvey are ahead of Riewoldt with four each. He is also equal third with club greats Darrel Baldock, former skipper Nathan Burke, and past champions Wells Eicke, Jack Davis, and Jim Ross.
Riewoldt ended the season with the second most marks in the AFL with 214 and the most contested marks. He also kicked 60 goals.
Early in the count, midfielder Lenny Hayes was leading well, but his season ending knee injury took him out of the running. Others who polled well were Jason Gram, Sam Fisher, and Robert Harvey. They, along with Riewoldt, played all 23 games this season.
The Top 10 (all 5 coaches award votes on a scale of 0-10 to each player from each game):
Nick Riewoldt 145
Jason Gram 134
Sam Fisher 131
Robert Harvey 121
Nick Dal Santo 115
Brendon Goddard 115
Fraser Gehrig 108
Max Hudghton 108
Leigh Montagna 107
Brett Voss 104
Captain Kane Johnson won the club's best & fairest award, the Jack Dyer Medal. Johnson's win followed two runner-up finishes in 2003 and 2004 and denied Joel Bowden a hat-trick of wins. Bowden finished fourth behind Troy Simmonds who enjoyed a career best season (16 disposals a match, 2nd in the AFL for center-bounce hit outs, 25 goals). Kayne Pettifer, who two years ago was struggling to find a spot in the side, was fifth, his best result.
Johnson's win came in a season which saw him play as a run-with player, taking on the opposition's best midfielder. While shutting down the likes of Chris Judd, Brett Kirk, Nick Dal Santo, Travis Johnstone, and Simon Black, he also managed to average more than 17 disposals a game.
Raines, who came second in this year's AFL Rising Star award, played every game as a rebounding defender, collecting 397 disposals for the year at an average of 18 a game.
The celebrations, however, were tinged with a bit of sadness as many of the attendees wore black armbands to mark the death of former premiership ruck rover and defender Terry Smith following a short battle with cancer. Affectionately known as "Brutus" to his teammates, Smith was a low-key and humble man off the field but a tough, no-nonsense player who was a member of Richmond's 1980 premiership win over Collingwood. Smith played 56 games for the Tigers in two stints split by 44 games with St Kilda, and was a member of the Victorian side in 1981.
2006 Jack Dyer Medal Top 10 (Votes are decided after each match with the 5 members of the match committee casting votes for each of the 22 players. Each player received 0-5 votes from each coach with 25 votes the maximum for any player in a match. Five votes were awarded for an outstanding performance, four for an excellent game, down to zero if the player was beaten on the day):
Kane Johnson 226
Andrew Raines 223
Troy Simmonds 215
Joel Bowden 204
Kayne Pettifer 186
Greg Tivendale 172
Matthew Richardson 164
Patrick Bowden 160
Dean Polo 152
Shane Tuck 151
Leading goalkicker: Matthew Richardson (45)
Francis Bourke Award: Andrew Raines
Rising star: Dean Polo
Most improved: Nathan Foley
Best player at Coburg: Matthew White
Most valuable person: Kane Johnson
Fans' choice: Andrew Raines
Source: Melbourne Age & afl.com
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