by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
After the first round of the Finals was completed, the AFL Players Association held their annual awards ceremony. Unlike other League awards, the Leigh Matthews Trophy winner is nominated and voted for by his peers. Collingwood midfielder Dane Swan was the runaway winner with 972 votes, well ahead of runner-up Luke Hodge (Hawthorn) and third placed Gary Ablett Jnr (562 votes). Docker Aaron Sandilands (279) and Geelong's Joel Selwood (166) rounded out the top five. Swan is the first Magpie to win the award since Darren Milane in 1990, the last year Collingwood won the premiership under the coaching of Leigh Matthews. Milane was tragically killed in a car accident in 1991.
The AFLPA award recognizes versatility, skill, leadership, respect for teammates and opponents alike and the ability to play under pressure. Swan, in accepting the award, said he was humbled and honored to win this award which is so well-respected by all the players. He described winning it as one of the highest honors in football.
Swan has had an amazing season, playing all 22 games and averaging 32 possessions per game. He had 34 possessions against Hawthorn in Round 22 and is the first player in League history to have 30 or more in 11 consecutive games. One reporter, covering a Collingwood game, once remarked of Swan, "Does he ever stop running?"
Swan was also voted player of the year by the Herald Sun.
Robert Rose Most Courageous Award: Luke Hodge (200 votes), Joel Selwood (173), Lenny Hayes (STK, 125)
Best First Year Player: Fremantle's Michael Barlow (442 votes), Dustin Martin (Richmond, 129), Tom Scully (Melbourne, 49)
Best Captain: Brett Kirk (Sydney, 142 votes), Jonathan Brown (Brisbane, 75), Chris Judd (Carlton, 73), Matthew Pavlich (Fremantle, 58)
Source: Ben Hart: AFLPA Medie Release
Article last changed on Thursday, September 09, 2010 - 11:39 AM EDT