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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

TRIBUNAL

Hawthorn's Sam Mitchell was reported during the Grand Final for forceful front-on contact against Geelong's Gary Ablett. The Match Review Panel (MRP) reviewed the incident and determined that Mitchell's contact on Ablett was caused by Mitchell being pushed into Ablett by Cat Cameron Ling. The MRP further determined that Mitchell did try to minimize the impact by trying to slow down before making contact with Ablett. They also determined that most of the contact was made to Ablett's shoulder and that the minimal contact made by Mitchell to Ablett's head was an attempt by Mitchell to protect himself. The charge was dismissed.

Source: Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release

HAWTHORN

While the club has yet make a formal announcement, Hawthorn is set to make over close to or over $5 million in profits.The premiership win boosted already healthy memorabilia sales and there are also sponsorship rewards and the AFL prize money for the Grand Final win. The club, despite spending close to $2 million on the football department, still made a profit of over $3.5 million last year. The Hawks also have a very lucrative deal for their four "home" games in Tasmania, which could also bring in a bonus of several hundred thousand dollars for the premiership. Club membership also increased to 41,500 in 2008, up from 31,000 in 2007. 

Crawford Breaks Record Drought

AFL history is littered with great names of the game who played for years without ever experiencing the joy of winning a Grand Final. Robert Harvey is one of the latest who retired without premiership glory. Others include Melbourne legend Robbie Flower and Sydney Coach Paul Roos, who played over 300 games without being part of a winning Grand Final team.

Hawk midfielder Shane Crawford ended his premiership drought and holds the record for the longest wait for a player to be part of that last Saturday in September thrill. The Grand Final was Crawford's 305th game. The previous record was held by Paul Williams who played for Collingwood before joining Sydney and playing in the 2005 Grand Final. Behind him are: (268 games for Brisbane before the 2001 premiership), Greg Wells (256 games for Melbourne and Carlton before the 1981 premiership), Alastair Lynch (249 games for Fitzroy and Brisbane before the 2001 premiership) and John Rantall (244 games for South Melbourne and North Melbourne before the 1975 premiership).

Hawthorn's Stewart Dew also joined an elite list of players. He is only the 27th player to play in winning Grand Final sides for two different clubs. Dew was a member of Port Adelaide's 2004 premiership team. Dew retired at the end of 2006, but decided to return to football in 2008 and was drafted by the Hawks.

Trent Croad and Lance Franklin both had to cut short their premiership celebrations to have surgery. Croad needed the surgery to repair his broken foot, suffered during the Grand Final. Franklin required minor surgery on a "loose" shoulder joint. He played out most of the season with the shoulder heavily strapped. According to club officials the surgeries will not delay the players' return to preseason training.

Lance Franklin has won the Peter Crimmins Medal as the club's 2008 best and fairest. Franklin polled 217 votes while midfielder Sam Mitchell finished second with 177 votes and Luke Hodge was third with 175 votes. Franklin, 21, gained votes in all but one game with his best matches coming against Brisbane in Round Five, Round 11 against Essendon, Round 18 against Collingwood and the Qualifying Final against the Bulldogs. Franklin was also presented with a commemorative medal to recognize his winning of the Coleman Medal. As always, the Crimmins Medal was presented by Peter's widow Gwen. Peter Crimmins was club captain in the 1970's and passed away from cancer in 1976.

The Top 10
Voting: The four-man match committee can award up to four votes per player per game. Four votes are awarded for exceptional games, three votes for the best player or players, 2 votes for a good game, 1 vote for a player or players who beat their opponent.


Lance Franklin   216
Sam Mitchell     177
Luke Hodge       175
Jarryd Roughead  172
Michael Osborne  154
Cyril Rioli      151
Chance Bateman   149
Brad Sewell      148
Grant Birchall   148
Campbell Brown   136

Other Awards:
Best Finals Player - Luke Hodge
Best First Year Player - Cyril Rioli
Most Improved - Tom Murphy
Most Consistent - Jarryd Roughead
Best Clubman - Chance Bateman

Source: Clinton Brown, Club Media Release; Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release; Melbourne Age  & Herald Sun

WESTERN BULLDOGS

Daniel Cross won the club's Charlie Sutton Medal as the 2008 best and fairest. Cross finished with 191 votes, well ahead of Brownlow Medalist Adam Cooney (167 votes). Matthew Boyd came in third with 163 votes.

Cross, who just missed out on final selection for the Dream Team Tribute Match, was drafted in 2000 but had to bide his time with the likes of Scott West, Mitch Hahn and Paul Dimattina ruling the Bulldog midfield. That draft produced a number of today's stars, including Nick Riewoldt, Justin Koschitzke, Alan Didak, Shaun Burgoyne, Daniel Kerr, Kane Cornes and Jamie Charman.

Club captain Brad Johnson praised Cross for his hard work, dedication and determination which saw Cross rise from a fill-in player to an elite midfielder and a certain starter from week to week. Johnson is sure Cross will be a 200-gamer for the club.

The Top 10
Voting: The four members of the match committee can award 1-5 votes for each player per game.


Daniel Cross        191 
Adam Cooney         167 
Matthew Boyd        163 
Dale Morris         149 
Daniel Giansiracusa 132 
Jason Akermanis     130 
Robert Murphy       129
Ryan Hargrave       119
Ryan Griffen        117
Lindsay Gilbee      111

Other Awards:

Scott West Most Courageous Player - Daniel Cross
Best First Year Player - Callan Ward
Most Promising Player - Jarrod Harbrow
Match Committee Award - Dale Morris
Community Award - Shaun Higgins
Bruce Wilkinson Award (Trainers) - Daniel Cross

The Most Courageous Award was named in honor of the retiring Scott West this year. West, 33, played just a handful of games this year due a stress fracture in his left knee. He finished out the season in the VFL. West played 324 games since his 1993 debut, averaged 30 possessions per game, and won a club record seven best and fairest awards.
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Brad Johnson, who debuted a year later, said West had been a big influence in his own development as a player and that he wouldn't be the player he is today without West's help. He went on to say that West always gave plenty of guidance to the playing group and that the experience, knowledge and support he imparted on his teammates was huge and that it would be sorely missed.

SCOTT WEST
Best & Fairest: 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005
All-Australian: 1998, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006
International Rules Series: 1999, 2000
AFL Rising Star nominee 1993

Source: Stacey Mair, Club Media Release

ESSENDON

Ruckman David Hille is the club's 2008 best and fairest winner. Hille had an outstanding season, perhaps the best of his career. He proved to be a dominant and consistent player before a hand injury ended his season. He polled votes in 14 out of 20 games with his best performances in Rounds 12 and 13 against the Eagles and Carlton. In those two games he picked up 26 out of a possible 30 votes. Hille won with 256 votes, 50 ahead of second-place Matthew Lloyd while Brent Stanton (188) finished third. Hille was drafted in 1999. He made his debut in 2001, has played 144 games and kicked 106 goals.

The Top 10
VOTING: Three members of the match committee can award a maximum of 10 votes to a maximum of eight players per game.


David Hille     256 
Matthew Lloyd   216 
Brent Stanton   188 
Jobe Watson     178 
Mark McVeigh    144 
Angus Monfries  140 
Patrick Ryder   138 
Andrew Welsh    134 
Dustin Fletcher 133 
Henry Slattery  133 
Sam Lonergan    121 

Other Awards:

Bill Hutchison Award - Nathan Lovett-Murray
Rising Star Award - Kyle Reimers
Most Courageous - Henry Slattery
Striving for Excellence - Angus Monfries
Most Improved - Sam Lonergan
Leading Goalkicker - Matthew Lloyd

Source: Cara Pelchen, Club Media Release

ADELAIDE


Nathan Bock's career best season has won him the Malcolm Blight best and fairest award. Bock played all 23 games and polled 162 votes to win out over Simon Goodwin (151) and Scott Thompson (147). It is his first win. Up to four votes per player per game are cast by each member of the match committee.

Bock played 18 games in 2005 but missed much of 2006 with stress fractures in his back. Bock won All-Australian honors this year as well as being named at center half back in the AFL's Dream Team for the Tribute Match.

Forward Ken McGregor, who played just seven games in 2008, has retired. McGregor, 27, was often overlooked by the match committee in favor of younger players. The club has a number of young forwards in Kurt Tippet, Nick Gill, James Sellar and Taylor Walker. Trent Hentschel (knee reconstruction) is also due back in 2009. McGregor played 152 games for the Crows. He won a Rising Star nomination in 1999 and played in the club's 2003 preseason premiership team. McGregor will return his original club Woodville-West Torrens in the SANFL to continue his career.
Source: afc.com.au & afl.com.au

MELBOURNE

Cameron Bruce has won his first Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophy as the club's 2008 best and fairest. He won the award with 75 votes, ahead of fellow midfielder Brock McLean (60) and Brad Green (57). Bruce was the only player to play all 22 games in 2008 and averaged 25 possessions per game, the highest of any Melbourne player. McLean was having an excellent year himself in his 14 games and may well have won the award if an ankle injury hadn't ended his year prematurely.

Retired players Jeff White, Adem Yze, Ben Holland and David Neitz were also honored at the ceremonies. The club also inducted six people into their Hall of Fame. The inductees were Joe Blair (chairman 1929-46), long-time volunteer Dudley Phillips (Unsung Hero), 1964 premiership player Barry Bourke, and Greg Healy, Todd Viney and Sean Wight.

The Top 10
Voting: The five members of the match committee can each award up to four votes each for as many players as they want after any given match. The maximum votes a player can receive after a game is 20.


Cameron Bruce       75
Brock McLean        60
Brad Green          57
Matthew Warnock     47
James McDonald      46
Brad Miller         40
Cale Morton         40
Clint Bartram       39
Paul Wheatley       39
Austin Wonaeamirri  39
Matthew Bate        38

Other Awards:
Norm Smith Memorial Trophy (Coach's Award) - Matthew Warnock
Ian Ridley Club Ambassador Award - Clint Bartram

This was the first year for this award and recognized Bartram's contributions to the community, his appearances representing the club and his general ambassadorship for the Demons.

Ron Barassi Jnr Leadership Award - Brad Green
Harold Ball Memorial Trophy, Best First Year Player - Cale Morton
Troy Broadbridge Memorial Trophy (best & fairest for VFL affiliate Sandringham) - Adem Yze

Source: Ryan Larkin, Club Media Release

GEELONG

Midfielder Joel Corey has won his second ‘Carji’ Greeves medal as Geelong’s best & fairest. Corey polled 591 votes, well ahead of 2007 winner Gary Ablett (538). Jimmy Bartel (522) finished third. Ablett has finished in the top three in the past four seasons while Bartel has three top three finishes. The medal is named for Edward "Carji" Greeves who plyayed for the Cats in the early 20th century. He was the inaugural winner of the 1924 Brownlow Medal.

Corey won the award in 2005 and is the only player to win twice in the past 12 seasons. Corey had an excellent season as he led the league in disposals (730), was third in handballs and fifth for tackles. He also led the club's possessions per game as well as contested possessions, center clearances (moving the ball from stoppages), handballs and tackles. He also had the second most kicks and free kicks at the club.He picked up votes in 22 out of 25 games.

The Top 10
Voting: Four members can each award a maximum of 10 votes each to a maximum of 10 players per game. A player can receive a maximum of 40 votes per game.


Joel Corey     591
Gary Ablett    528
Jimmy Bartel   522
Cameron Ling   443 (seventh consecutive season for a top four finish, won in 2004) 
Joel Selwood   439
Cameron Mooney 423
Corey Enright  417
Andrew Mackie  386
Steve Johnson  384 
Tom Harley     334

Other Awards:
Best first year player - Harry Taylor
Leading goal kicker - Steve Johnson
Best clubman - Tom Harley
Coach’s award - Cameron Ling
VFL best & fairest - Jason Davenport
Community champions - Tom Harley, David Wojcinski and James Kelly

Punter Ben Graham has been released by the New York Jets. Graham, who actually had been cut several weeks ago after a poor game, earned a reprieve when his replacement Reggie Hodges strained a thigh muscle. However, Hodges has since recovered and Graham is out again. Graham joined the Jets in 2005 and fell just a few yards short of setting a new punting record for the Jets in his first season. His career average is 43.7 yards per punt.

Source: sportsnetwork.com & Kevin Diggerson, Club Media Release

COLLINGWOOD


Midfielder Dane Swan has won his first Copeland Trophy as the club's 2008 best and fairest. Swan, 24, won the award with 53 votes, ahead of forward Paul Medhurst (47) and Scott Pendlebury (46). After the Round 22 count, Swan was only two votes ahead of Medhurst, but had an excellent finals series to pick up more votes.

The Top 10
Voting: Each player is allocated one vote per game, after which the match committee can award up to 20 votes for the best players. The maximum votes any player can receive per game is six.


Dane Swan        53 
Paul Medhurst    47 
Scott Pendlebury 46 
Leon Davis       44 
Harry O’Brien    43 
Travis Cloke     42
Alan Didak       38
Dale Thomas      38
Shane O’Bree     38
Tarkyn Lockyer   38

Other Awards:
Best Finals Player: Dane Swan
Leading Goalkicker: Paul Medhurst (50 goals)
Best Clubman: Shane O'Bree
Most Desire Indicators: Nick Maxwell
Best First Year Player: Nathan Brown
Club Services: Brad Dick
Best VFL Player: Justin Crow & Brent McCaffer

The club also honored retiring players Scott Burns, Shane Wakelin and Ryan Lonie

Source: Nick Hulett, Club Media Release

NORTH MELBOURNE


Brent Harvey has become only the fourth player in club history to win a fourth Syd Barker Medal as club best and fairest. Harvey won the award in 2003, 2005 and 2007. He joins club greats Noel Teasdale (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966), David Dench (1971, 1976, 1977, 1981) and Wayne Carey (1992, 1993, 1996, 1998) as a four-time winner.

Harvey played every game in 2008 and polled 759 votes to finish ahead of Drew Petrie (731) and Brady Rawlings (671). Rawlings was also awarded Life Membership for his 10 years at the club. Others to be awarded Life Membership were Tim Harrington (17 years as a player and administrator) and Max Stone (26 years as Recruiter and Room Steward). Retiring champions Shannon Grant, Jess Sinclair and Nathan Thompson were also honored.

The Top 10
Voting: The five members of the match committee can award up to 10 votes each for each player per match. The maximum number of votes a player can receive per game is 50.


Brent Harvey     759
Drew Petrie      731
Brady Rawlings   671
David Hale       670
Michael Firrito  647
Daniel Wells     641
Daniel Harris    621 
Adam Simpson     617
Leigh Harding    615
Daniel Pratt     607 

Drew Petrie also won the award for best clubman while Gavin Urquhart was named rookie of the year. Retiring players Shannon Grant and Nathan Thompson were also honored.

Source: John Murphy, Club Media Release

SYDNEY

Midfielder Jarrad McVeigh won the club's Bob Skilton Medal as the 2008 best and fairest. McVeigh finished with 578 votes, just 10 ahead of Brett Kirk. Martin Mattner came in third (532 votes). McVeigh was behind Kirk after the vote tally for the Elimination Final but picked up 25 votes for his performance in the Semi-Final while Kirk polled just 11 votes in that game. It is an indication of McVeigh's massive improvement as he finished 18th last year and 11th in 2006. McVeigh, who picked up the maximum 50 votes in Round 18 against the Bulldogs, garnered votes in 20 out of 24 games played this year. McVeigh was drafted in 2002, debuted in 2004 and has played 105 games and kicked 74 goals. He missed out on selection for the 2005 Grand Final but has since become an important member of the team. Kirk has finished in the top two for six straight seasons. He won the award in 2005 and 2007

The Top 10
Voting: Each member of the match committee can award up to 10 votes per player per game.


Jarrad McVeigh  578
Brett Kirk      568 
Martin Mattner  532
Jude Bolton     514
Ryan O’Keefe    447
Paul Bevan      419 
Tadhg Kennelly  419
Darren Jolly    411
Craig Bolton    384
Jarred Moore    382

Other Awards:
Paul Kelly Players’ Player Award - Brett Kirk
Sydney Swans Rising Star Award - Kieren Jack & Craig Bird (tie)
Dennis Carroll Trophy for Most Improved - Jarred Moore
Barry Round Trophy for Best Clubman - Tadhg Kennelly
Paul Roos Award for Best player in the Finals - Barry Hall
Life Members - Tadhg Kennelly, Barry Hall, Ryan O’Keefe, Phil Mullen, Stephen Brassel

A few days after the awards presentation, Coach Paul Roos signed a new three year contract to remain at the helm through 2011.

Source: Tara White, Club Media Release

FREMANTLE

Club captain Matthew Pavlich has won his fifth Doig Medal as club best and fairest. The medal is named in honor of George Doig and his family, many of whom played for East Fremantle and South Fremantle in the WAFL. That connection dates back to the early 20th century. Pavlich won with 30 votes, three ahead of ruckman Aaron Sandilands with Luke McPharlin placing third on 26 votes. Pavlich, who was also named All-Australian for the sixth time, was in the club's top five for kicks, marks (ball catches), inside 50's (getting the ball into the forward line) and hard ball gets (beating an opponent). Not only did he play as a key forward but also played midfield roles when required.

Sandilands also had an outstanding season to earn his first All-Australian selection. He established himself as one of the most dominant ruckmen in the competition. He led the league in hitouts (taps of the ball from bounces) with 646, well ahead of Eagle Dean Cox. Extremely mobile for his size, Sandilands was almost like an extra midfielder at times and finished in the club's top five for handballs, hard ball gets and clearances. He was one of just three players to appear in all 22 matches for the Dockers.

McPharlin has proved himself capable as a forward and defender. He kicked 21 goals for the season, including five against the Eagles in Round 18. He placed in the club's top five for goalkicking and marks (ball catches). He was also named center half back in the West Australian State of Origin team, his fourth state selection.

Rising Star winner Rhys Palmer had a standout debut season to finish fourth. Palmer, 19, played 20 games and finished first at the club for (ball) possessions with 452, averaging 23 possessions per game. He played more like a seasoned veteran with his ability, hard running, work ethic, and superb reading of the play.

The Top 10
Voting: After each game, the match committee awards votes to the best players on a 4-3-2-1 basis with 4 votes for outstanding, 3 votes for excellent, 2 votes for very good and 1 vote for good. Pavlich received ‘excellent’ ratings in four games, two of which came against the Eagles. Sandilands received four votes in Round Six against Geelong when he had 24 possessions, six marks, one goal and 42 hitouts. McPharlin received four votes on three occasions: against Collingwood in Round One, against Hawthorn in Round Two and against Brisbane in Round 11.


Matthew Pavlich  30 
Aaron Sandilands 27
Luke McPharlin   26
Rhys Palmer      23
Michael Johnson  21
Ryan Crowley     21
David Mundy      16
Byron Schammer   14
Roger Hayden     12
Garrick Ibbotson 11

Other Awards:
Beacon Award for Best First Year Player - Rhys Palmer
Best Clubman Award - Luke Webster*
Harbor Masters Award (most popular player) - Luke McPharlin**
Past Players and Officials Award - Andrew Browne***
WAFL Recognition Award - Brock O'Brien****
Leading Goal Kicker Award - Matthew Pavlich

*Webster, restricted to just four games due to a knee injury, remained active with the club assisting with off-field projects.

**This was the first year for support group Harbor Masters.

***This award recognizes a player's contribution to the club off the field as well as his efforts to prepare for life after football.

****Awarded to the player who best represents the club at both AFL and WAFL levels and has the best professional attitude.
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Source: Andrew Bousfield, Club Media Release

ST KILDA

Defender Sam Fisher is the 2008 winner of the Trevor Barker Award as the club's best and fairest. It is the first time he has won the award after finishing third in 2006 and second last year. Fisher finished third on the AFL list for rebound 50's (getting the ball out of the Saints' defensive zone to set up attacks). He also finished third in the AFL for marks (ball catches) with 192. Fisher claimed the award with 680 votes.Nick Riewoldt was second with 643 votes while Lenny Hayes came in third (627).

Fisher has played 96 games for the Saints, including all 25 this year. He kicked five goals when not running out of defense and was a member of the Saints' preseason premiership team. He recently signed a new two year contract.

The Top 10
Voting: The five members of the match committee can award up to 10 votes per player per game.


Sam Fisher      680 
Nick Riewoldt   643  
Lenny Hayes     627 
Max Hudghton    507 
Robert Harvey   492
Leigh Montagna  473 
Brendan Goddard 469 
Jason Gram      467 
Luke Ball       418 
Jason Blake     402 

Raphael Clarke was named Most Promising Player and Robert Harvey was honored with an inaugural award named for him, he Robert Harvey Best Clubman Award. The award will be presented by the coaching and conditioning staff to the player who best demonstrates his commitment and attitude toward training, health and nutrition, injuries and treatment, community work and work around the club. This year's winner was Lenny Hayes. Both Harvey and Fraser Gehrig were also honored for their services to the club.

The club also honored long-time coterie member Lyn Gandolfo with the Loyalty Award. Lyn, a member of the Halo Coterie and their president for three years, has been with the group since 1997. She helps organize club events and match day functions.

Source: Matt Schmidt, Club Media Release

BRISBANE

For the second year running, forward Jonathan Brown has won the Merrett-Murray Medal as the club best and fairest. He won with 53.5 votes, just ahead of Simon Black (51) and Luke Power (46.5). Brown played 21 out of 22 games this year, kicked 70 goals and led the club in marks (167). Brown also won the AFLPA's Most Courageous Player Award and was named to the AFL's celebratory Tribute Match Team. Power has finished in the top five for six consecutive years.

The Top Five
Voting: Each member of the match committee can award each player 0-5 votes per game. The medal is named in honor of Kevin Murray, who played for the Fitzroy Lions and Roger Merrett, who played for the Brisbane Bears before they merged with Fitzroy to become the Brisbane Lions.


Jonathan Brown   53.5
Simon Black      51
Luke Power       46.5
Daniel Bradshaw  43.5 (career-best finish)
Jared Brennan    42

Other Awards:
Best Forward - Jonathan Brown
Best Midfielder - Simon Black
Best Defender - Joel Patfull
Most Improved Player - Joel Patfull
Most Effective Tackler - Michael Rischitelli
Most Professional Player - Daniel Bradshaw
Most Courageous Player - Michael Rischitelli
Rookie of the Year - Bradd Dalziell
The Courier Mail Player of the Year - Simon Black
Members' Player of the Year - Luke Power

Rookie Scott Clouston, who played two senior games in 2008, has been elevated to the senior list for 2009.

Source: Sam Lord, Club Media Release

RICHMOND

Brett Deledio has won this year's club best and fairest. He won with 250 votes. Shane Tuck finished second with 223 votes and Matthew Richardson was third (203. Each player can receive up to five votes from each member of the match committee.

Source: Melbourne Age

WEST COAST

Dean Cox is the 2008 club best and fairest. He won with 450 votes. Forward Quinten Lynch was second (360) and Adam Selwood was third (315). Each member of the match committee can award up to five votes per player per game.

Source: Melbourne Age

Article last changed on Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - 2:59 PM EDT


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