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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Rhys Palmer

Fremantle's Rhys Palmer is the 2008 Rising Star. The presentation of the Ron Evans Medal was made this week at a function which also included the naming of the 2008 All-Australian team. Palmer, 19, won with 44 votes. Hawthorn's Cyril Rioli polled 37 votes and Richmond's Trent Cotchin polled 21 votes. The next three were Carlton's Matthew Kreuzer (11 votes), Fremantle's Garrick Ibbotson (seven) and West Coast's Ben McKinley (six). Collingwood's Nathan Brown (three), Melbourne's Cale Morton (three), Port Adelaide's Alipate Carlile (two) and Demon Austin Wonaeamirri (one picked up the remaining votes.

In accepting the award, Palmer acknowledged the talents of his fellow contenders and said retiring Saint Robert Harvey was his idol and that playing against him was a "...dream come true...".Palmer, who is the second Docker after Paul Hasleby in 2000 to take out the award, played 20 games this year and was a standout in the 2007 Under-18 tournament after battling osteitis pubis in 2006. In those 20 games, Palmer averaged 23 possessions per game and displayed a fearless attack on the ball as well as great endurance to run out games. A native West Australian, Palmer earned his nomination in just his second game, played against the Eagles in Round Three. Despite a head gash which required stitches, Palmer picked up 24 possessions and laid four tackles in that match. At the time it was reported he needed 22 stitches. He joked that he only needed 10, but that 22 sounded better.


Kane Cornes

For the second year running, Port Adelaide midfielder Kane Cornes has been awarded the John Cahill Medal as the club's best and fairest. The ceremony was held on the first weekend of the finals. Cornes is the second player, after Warren Tredrea, to win the award twice. Cornes, who failed to poll votes in just two games, finished ahead of fellow midfielder Dom Cassisi and forward Daniel Motlop.

The John Cahill Medal is voted on by the Port Adelaide coaching panel, consisting of Mark Williams, Matthew Primus, Jason Cripps and Adam Kingsley. Each panel member can award 0-4 votes for as many players as they chose after each game.

2008 John Cahill Medal Final Standings

Kane Cornes 135
Dominic Cassisi 115
Daniel Motlop 99
Shaun Burgoyne 88
Alipate Carlisle 77
Dean Brogan 76
Steven Salopek 76
Tom Logan 73
David Rodan 73
Travis Boak 67

Other Awards:
Alipate Carlile - Gavin Wanganeen Medal as best under-21 player
Travis Boak - Most Improved Player
Dominic Cassisi - Best Team Man and the Fos Williams Medal for his leadership, selflessness, courage, professionalism, loyalty and sense of humor
Paul Stewart - Best First Year Player



Geelong's Gary Ablett has become the fourth player to win a second AFLPA MVP award, following Greg Williams (SYD/CARL 1985, 1994), Wayne Carey (NM 1995, 1998) and Michael Voss (BRIS 2002-03). His father Gary Ablett, Sr. won the award in 1993. That year, Gary Snr. kicked 124 goals in just 17 games. The current Gary's achievement is no less amazing as he missed four games this year. In 18 games he played this year, he tallied 503 disposals, 84 marks and an average of just under five tackles a game with a total of 86 tackles.

The award, which is voted upon by the players, recognizes versatility, skill, leadership, the ability to play under pressure and respect for teammates and the opposition. The voting process is:

MVP: CLUB NOMINATIONS: Every player is asked to vote 3-2-1 for their teammates in each of the categories: Most Valuable Player, Most Courageous, Best First Year Player

The votes are tallied resulting in the final nominations:
Three players from each club nominated as Most Valuable Player
One player from each club nominated as Best First Year Player
One player from each club nominated as Most Courageous Player
Best Captain award, including all captains from the 16 AFL clubs

The nominations are then presented by the AFLPA to the Clubs. Each player votes for one player in each category, except for the MVP, where players select three players on a 3–2–1 basis. Players cannot vote for their teammates.

The final votes are tallied under the supervision of AFLPA. The winners of each award are then officially announced at the Most Valuable Player Award ceremony.

In accepting the Leigh Matthews Trophy, Ablett said it was a great honor to be recognized by his peers and that he was humbled in winning the award. He also paid tribute to his teammates and coaches, saying he wouldn't achieve what he had done without them.

The voting:
Gary Ablett, Geelong, 1088
Lance Franklin, Hawthorn, 718
Brent Harvey, North Melbourne, 440
Matthew Richardson, Richmond, 148
Chris Judd, Carlton, 140
Joel Selwood, Geelong, 109

Previous MVP winners:
1982 - Leigh Matthews (Hawthorn)
1983 - Terry Daniher (Essendon)
1984 - Russell Greene (Hawthorn)
1985 - Greg Williams (Geelong)
1986 - Paul Roos (Fitzroy)
1987 - Tony Lockett (St Kilda)
1988 - Gerard Healy (Sydney)
1989 - Tim Watson (Essendon)
1990 - Darren Millane (Collingwood)
1991 - Jim Stynes (Melbourne)
1992 - Jason Dunstall (Hawthorn)
1993 - Gary Ablett Snr (Geelong)
1994 - Greg Williams (Carlton)
1995 - Wayne Carey (North Melbourne)
1996 - Corey McKernan (North Melbourne)
1997 - Robert Harvey (St Kilda)
1998 - Wayne Carey (North Melbourne)
1999 - Shane Crawford (Hawthorn)
2000 - Anthony Koutoufides (Carlton)
2001 - Andrew McLeod (Adelaide)
2002 - Luke Darcy (Western Bulldogs)
2002 - Michael Voss (Brisbane)
2003 - Michael Voss (Brisbane)
2004 - Nick Riewoldt (St Kilda)
2005 - Ben Cousins (West Coast)
2006 - Chris Judd (West Coast)
2007 - Gary Ablett Jnr (Geelong)

Other Awards:
Robert Rose Award for Most Courageous Player
Jonathan Brown, Brisbane, 137
Brett Kirk, Sydney, 127
Joel Selwood, Geelong, 87
Luke Hodge, Hawthorn, 56
Matthew Richardson, Richmond, 50

Best First Year Player
Rhys Palmer, Fremantle, 252
Cyril Rioli, Hawthorn, 167
Trent Cotchin, Richmond, 80
Austin Wonaeamirri, Melbourne, 30
Harry Taylor, Geelong, 21

Best Captain
Tom Harley, Geelong, 141
Chris Judd, Carlton, 103
Brett Kirk, Sydney, 80
Jonathan Brown, Brisbane, 57
Adam Simpson, North Melbourne, 40

St. Kilda' Jason Blake was awarded the Education and Training Excellence Award for his efforts to combine education with his football career. He is currently working toward degrees in Civil Engineering (Construction Management) and a Business Finance. He also works part time for a construction management and consulting firm.

Source: and Rebecca O'Riley, AFLPA Media Release

Paul Roos

Australia celebrates Father's Day on the first Sunday in September. In conjunction with the day, there is an award for Father of the Year.  This year, Coach Paul Roos was named Father of the Year by the Australian Father's Day Council. The Council honored Roos for his commitment as a parent and his work in the development of young sportspersons. The 45 year old Roos has two children, Dylan, 14 and Tyler, 12. In accepting the award, Roos was quoted, "I want to see my children grow up to enjoy some fundamental privileges: to communicate, to be understood, and to be able to make friends easily."


Chris Judd

Carlton's Chris Judd has won the 2008 John Nicholls Medal as the club's best and fairest. The awards ceremony was held shortly before the AFL's Semi-Finals matches with over 1100 guests in attendance. Judd won with 472 votes, with Marc Murphy coming in second on 417 votes and Brendan Fevola third with 373 votes. 

Judd, who joined the club at the end of 2007 and was appointed captain, played 21 games and had over 500 ball disposals. He also led the league in contested possessions (231), led Carlton's tackle count with 82, won the most ball clearances (103) and kicked 15 goals. Judd also won two best and fairest awards with the West Coast Eagles in 2004 and 2006. Other awards include the 2005 Norm Smith Medalist as best on ground in the Eagles' Grand Final loss to Sydney, the 2004 Brownlow Medal and the AFLPA MVP in 2006. Judd is also a two-time All-Australian. Five time club champion John Nicholls was on hand to present the medal, named in his honor several years ago, to Judd.

In accepting the award, Judd said that while he was honored with individual awards, he craved team success and said just to be able to play AFL football was a huge achievement. He also said he believed Carlton will be a better side, but needed to improve 20-25%. He added that he believed the players and coaching staff were "...on the same page and...making sure we're working as hard as we possibly can to get that...improvement."

Runner up Marc Murphy played all 22 games in 2008 and led the club in possessions with 542. Murphy has been with the club for three years and clearly relished the midfield support provided by Judd and Nich Stevens, who missed a large part of 2007 due to a neck injury. Forward Brendan Fevola played all 22 games for the season and kicked 99 goals, a career best tally. That goal tally is the second best by a Carlton player in the club's history.

The Top 10:
Voting: Five members of the match committee can vote for a maximum of eight players after each game with a maximum of 10 votes per player per game. The most votes a player can receive from any given match is 50.

Chris Judd 472
Marc Murphy 417
Brendan Fevola 373
Andrew Carrazzo 316 (2007 winner under different voting system)
Bryce Gibbs 288
Nick Stevens 287
Jarrad Waite 267
Kade Simpson 202
Heath Scotland 201
Bret Thornton 197

Other Awards:

Best First Year Player: Matthew Kreuzer
Best Clubman: Andrew Carrazzo (voted on by teammates)
Past Players Encouragement Award – Shaun Grigg
Women of Carlton Player Ambassador of the Year Award: Michael Jamison (first awarded in 2004 and recognizes onfield achievements as well as community work and the manner in which a player represents himself on and off the field)

At the ceremony, the club also announced that Jarrad Waite had signed a new three year contract and Jordan Russell and Jon Anderson had both signed two year deals. The club also announced a new six year sponsorship deal with Nike.

Source: Stephen Wilson, Club Media Release and Melbourne Age

Tiger Wins AFL Army Award

Brett Deledio is the 2008 Army Award Winner. Along with the Medal, presented by an officer from the Australian Army, Deledio also received a $10,000 travel voucher. The AFL Army Award was introduced in 2007 and recognizes match day courage, initiative and teamwork especially for the "one-percenter" extra efforts which help the team. Such actions include smothers of the ball, tackles, and shepherds (blocking opponents to help teammates advance the ball). At the end of each round, three players are nominated and fans can then vote at for a weekly winner. The winner is also endorsed by the All-Australian panel of Andrew Demetriou (chairman), Adrian Anderson, Rod Austin, Kevin Bartlett, Mark Bickley, Gerard Healy, Glen Jakovich and Robert Walls.

Deledio, 21, was nominated from the Round Seven match against St. Kilda. During that game, he courageously ran back with the flight of the ball in an attempt to mark (catch the ball). He received 27% of the fan votes to finish ahead of Geelong’s Ryan Gamble (23%) and North Melbourne’s Gavin Urquhart (20%).

Deledio was the 2004 number one draft selection and debuted in 2005. He won the Rising the Rising Star Award that year and has played 84 games for the Tigers. He played all 22 games in 2008 and averaged 11.6 kicks, 7 marks, and 12.9 handballs per game.

Deledio expressed his pride at winning the award, saying it was great to see an award which acknowledges onfield actions which otherwise might go unnoticed. Deledio also acknowledged the support he has received from Richmond and said he hoped to be a part of the team for a long time. Richmond Coach Terry Wallace praised Deledio on his performance in 2008 and congratulated him for an excellent year. He also said Deledio for his growth as a footballer and his winning of the award. Wallace said he remembers the piece of play which earned Deledio the nomination, describing it as one of the most courageous acts he had seen and hoped there would be more from his young star.

Presenter Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie of the Australian Army, said Deledio's onfield actions demonstrated the "...Army's core values of courage, initiative and teamwork..." and said Deledio was " inspirational player, who pushes himself to be his best..." 

Source: Asha Burns, AFL Media Release

All-Australian Team

Once again, Geelong has dominated the All-Australian selections with seven Cats named to the team. The process, introduced in 2007, requires the selectors to nominate the leading players for each area of the ground: forwards, defenders, midfielders, ruckmen/rovers. From those 40 nominations, the final 22-player team is determined. Geelong had 10 players nominated: defenders Matthew Scarlett, Corey Enright and Tom Harley, midfielders Jimmy Bartel, Joel Corey and Gary Ablett and forward Steve Johnson. Eleven clubs have players named in the team. Carlton, Fremantle, Hawthorn, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs each had two players named to the team.

Nine players - Nathan Bock, Adam Cooney, Enright, Sam Fisher, Lance Franklin, Harley, Paul Medhurst, Dale Morris and Aaron Sandilands are first time All-Australians while Ablett, Bartel, Corey, Dean Cox, Brent Harvey, Johnson, Matthew Pavlich and Scarlett retained their places from the 2007 team. Pavlich's selection on the interchange bench was his sixth selection in the last seven seasons, the most by any played named this year. Carlton captain Chris Judd was named as All Australian captain for the first time, with Harley confirmed as his vice-captain.

BACKS: Dale Morris (WB) Matthew Scarlett (GEEL) Tom Harley (GEEL, vc)
HALF BACKS: Luke Hodge (HAW) Nathan Bock (ADE) Sam Fisher (STK)
CEN: Jimmy Bartel (GEEL) Joel Corey (GEEL) Adam Cooney (WB)
HALF FORWARD: Steve Johnson (GEEL) Nick Riewoldt (STK) Brent Harvey (NM)
FORWARD: Brendan Fevola (CARL) Lance Franklin (HAW) Paul Medhurst (COL)
RUCK: Dean Cox (WCE)
ROVERS: Chris Judd (CARL, c) Gary Ablett (GEEL)
I/C: Corey Enright (GEEL), Matthew Pavlich (FRE), Matthew Richardson (RICH), Aaron Sandilands (FRE)

The All Australian selection panel is: Andrew Demetriou (chairman), Adrian Anderson, Rod Austin, Kevin Bartlett, Mark Bickley, Gerard Healy, Glen Jakovich, Robert Walls.


Terms: Clearance refers to a player winning the ball to his team's advantage from defense, ball-ups, and boundary throw-ins. Inside 50 (meters or 55 yards) refers to a player sending the ball into his team's attacking zone. Rebound 50 refers to a player winning the ball in defense and "rebounding" it away from the opposition's forwards and advancing it up the ground for teammates.

Dale Morris: first time selected, 22 games in 2008. 137 kicks, 102 marks, 143 handballs, averaging 6.2 kicks, 4.6 marks, 6.5 handballs. No Goals or behinds, 11 Clearances, 11 Inside 50m, 36 Rebound 50m.

Matthew Scarlett: All Australian 2003, 2004, 2007; 19 games in 2008. 178 kicks, 63 marks, 145 handballs, averaging 9.4 kicks, 3.3 marks, 7.6 handballs. No Goals One Behind. Four Clearances, 22 Inside 50m, 57 Rebound 50m.

Tom Harley: first time selected. 22 games in 2008. 150 kicks, 117 marks, 184 handballs, averaging 6.8 kicks, 5.3 marks, 8.4 handballs. No Goals No Behinds. Four Clearances, 11 Inside 50m, 45 Rebound 50m.

Luke Hodge:All Australian 2005. 17 games in 2008. 241 kicks, 90 marks, 155 handballs, averaging 14.2 kicks, 5.3 marks, 9.1 handballs. 19 Goals Eight Behinds. 58 Clearances, 73 Inside 50m, 38 Rebound 50m.

Nathan Bock: first time selected. 22 games in 2008. 324 kicks, 159 marks, 158 handballs, averaging 14.7 kicks, 7.2 marks, 7.2 handballs. Two Goals Five Behinds. 11 Clearances, 42 Inside 50m, 79 Rebound 50m.
Sam Fisher: first time selected. 22 games in 2008. 303 kicks, 192 marks, 193 handballs, averaging 13.8 kicks, 8.7 marks, 8.8 handballs. Three Goals Two Behinds. 18 Clearances, 43 Inside 50m, 73 Rebound 50m.

Jimmy Bartel: All Australian 2007. 22 games in 2008. 339 kicks, 127 marks, 278 handballs, averaging 15.4 kicks, 5.8 marks, 12.6 handballs. 19 Goals 15 Behinds. 78 Clearances, 89 Inside 50m, 44 Rebound 50m.

Joel Corey: All Australian 2007. 22 games in 2008. 304 kicks, 104 marks, 336 handballs, averaging 13.8 kicks, 4.7 marks, 15.3 handballs. Six Goals Five Behinds. 100 Clearances, 104 Inside 50m, 34 Rebound 50m.

Adam Cooney:first time selected. 22 games in 2008. 283 kicks, 84 marks, 297 handballs, averaging 12.9 kicks, 3.8 marks, 13.5 handballs. 21 Goals Six Behinds. 99 Clearances, 68 Inside 50m, 53 Rebound 50m.

Steve Johnson:All Australian 2007. 22 games in 2008. 285 kicks, 128 marks, 150 handballs, averaging 13.0 kicks, 5.8 marks, 6.8 handballs. 49 Goals 28 Behinds. 34 Clearances, 93 Inside 50m, 18 Rebound 50m.

Nick Riewoldt:All Australian 2004, 2006. 21 games in 2008. 256 kicks, 211 marks, 113 handballs, averaging 12.2 kicks, 10.0 marks, 5.4 handballs. 56 Goals 39 Behinds. Six Clearances, 52 Inside 50m, Seven Rebound 50m.

Brent Harvey:All Australian 2000, 2005, 2007. 22 games in 2008. 322 kicks, 107 marks, 227 handballs, averaging 14.6 kicks, 4.9 marks, 10.3 handballs. 23 Goals 19 Behinds. 46 Clearances, 102 Inside 50m, 30 Rebound 50m.

Brendan Fevola: All Australian 2006. 22 games in 2008. 214 kicks, 128 marks, 44 handballs, averaging 9.7 kicks, 5.8 marks, 2.0 handballs. 99 Goals 51 Behinds. Three Clearances, 30 Inside 50m, Two Rebound 50m.

Lance Franklin:first time selected. 22 games in 2008. 281 kicks, 145 marks, 67 handballs, averaging 12.8 kicks, 6.6 marks, 3.0 handballs. 102 Goals 84 Behinds. 13 Clearances, 48 Inside 50m, Seven Rebound 50m.

Paul Medhurst: first time selected. 22 games in 2008. 284 kicks, 165 marks, 62 handballs, averaging 12.9 kicks, 7.5 marks, 2.8 handballs. 48 Goals 22 Behinds. 12 Clearances, 90 Inside 50m, 17 Rebound 50m.

Dean Cox: All Australian 2005, 2006, 2007. 22 games in 2008. 233 kicks, 125 marks, 253 handballs, averaging 10.6 kicks, 5.7 marks, 11.5 handballs. 571 hit outs averaging 26.0 hit outs. Nine Goals 10 Behinds. 86 Clearances, 61 Inside 50m, 51 Rebound 50m.

Chris Judd: All Australian 2004, 2006. 21 games in 2008. 250 kicks, 41 marks, 258 handballs, averaging 11.9 kicks, 2.0 marks, 12.3 handballs. 15 Goals Nine Behinds. 103 Clearances, 83 Inside 50m, 29 Rebound 50m.

Gary Ablett: All Australian 2007. 18 games in 2008. 246 kicks, 84 marks, 262 handballs, averaging 13.7 kicks, 4.7 marks, 14.6 handballs. 23 Goals 22 Behinds. 87 Clearances, 101 Inside 50m, 22 Rebound 50m.

Corey Enright: first time selected. 22 games in 2008. 267 kicks, 118 marks, 250 handballs, averaging 12.1 kicks, 5.4 marks, 11.4 handballs. Six Goals Two Behinds. 39 Clearances, 41 Inside 50m, 64 Rebound 50m.

Matthew Pavlich: All Australian 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007. 19 games in 2008. 263 kicks, 138 marks, 83 handballs, averaging 13.8 kicks, 7.3 marks, 4.4 handballs. 67 Goals 35 Behinds. 38 Clearances, 101 Inside 50m, Five Rebound 50m.

Matthew Richardson: All Australian 1996, 1999. 20 games in 2008. 263 kicks, 222 marks, 102 handballs, averaging 13.2 kicks, 11.1 marks, 5.1 handballs. 48 Goals 30 Behinds. Five Clearances, 46 Inside 50m, 19 Rebound 50m.

Aaron Sandilands: first time selected. 22 games in 2008. 122 kicks, 77 marks, 208 handballs, averaging 5.5 kicks, 3.5 marks, 9.5 handballs. 646 hit outs averaging 29.4 hit outs. Eight Goals 11 Behinds. 88 Clearances, 45 Inside 50m, 18 Rebound 50m.

Source: Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release

AFL Honors Sheahan

Mike Sheahan has been an icon of footy media for years and the AFL, in conjunction with the Australian Football Media Association, to name the new AFL Media Center in Sheahan's honor. The AFL consulted the AFMA to ask for whom the center should be named and the decision was almost unanimous in favor of Sheahan, who writes for for the Melbourne Herald Sun and also is a co-host of the weekly chat show On The Couch, for which he won an award at this year's ceremonies.

Sheahan, who was described by Andrew Demetriou as one who had been wth the game for decades, started his career in 1969 and has been the chief football writer for the past 13 years. He also worked at the AFL and the Melbourne Age as a media director.

Over the years, Sheahan has won 16 awards for his reporting. He has won in a variety of catagories - newsbreaking, features and columns. He also won the prestigious Alf Brown Award foir his reporting as well as the 2008 AFLPA's Grant Hattam award for his story on Simon Goodwin's battle with gambling addiction.

In acknowledging Sheanan's contributions, Andrew Demetriow said Sheahan had a "... curiosity and committment to the game...and never indulged in cynicism.."or attemped to..."put himself above the game, its players, and..its supporters..." and still had a "boyish love of the game and the champions..."

Other award winners were Caroline Wilson, who won the Alf Brown Trophy as well as the award for most outstanding news reporter and outstanding columnist. Wilson is the chief football writer for the Melbourne Age.

On The Couch won for Most Outstanding TV Program, former Collingwood player Nathan Buckley won as Most Outstanding Special Comments Person on TV (Melbourne's Channel Seven) while Network Ten's Robert Walls received a commendation. Walls did win as the most outstanding special commentator on radio (3AW).

Channel Seven's Dennis Cometti was named the most outstanding televsion caller, but lost out to Brian Taylor as best radio caller. He did receive a commendation for his radio work on 3AW while Channel Ten's Stephen Quartermain received a commendation for his television calling on Network Ten

Source: Herald Sun

Article last changed on Monday, September 22, 2008 - 12:00 AM EDT

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