Tom Mitchell voted MVP by his peers

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Source: Getty Images

Hawthorn midfielder, Tom Mitchell, has tonight taken top honours at the 37th annual AFL Players Association awards night, held in front of an audience of more than 400 people in Melbourne.

Mitchell convincingly won the 2018 AFL Players’ Most Valuable Player Award, otherwise known as the Leigh Matthews Trophy. Presented the award by Matthews himself, Mitchell won with 773 votes, ahead of Carlton superstar Patrick Cripps (529 votes) and Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn (412 votes).

Mitchell’s consistently high statistics across the whole season clearly impressed his fellow players. On 11 occasions during the home and away season Mitchell had 40-plus possessions. In two matches he recorded more than 50 possessions, making him the first player in VFL/AFL history to do so. Mitchell finished the regular season with 786 disposals, which is one short of the AFL record he established last year.

Patrick Dangerfield, AFL Players’ Association President and previous winner of the Leigh Matthews Trophy said, “Tom has been in rare touch this year, highlighted by his incredible ability to get from contest to contest and win a truckload of footy throughout the season.” High praise from one of the best players in the league.

On the night, Dangerfield also made an emotional tribute to his former Adelaide team mate, Rory Sloane, who, with his wife Belinda, had recently announced they had given birth to a stillborn son.

Other awards presented during the night included the Best First Year Player won comfortably by Tim Kelly from Geelong with 380 votes, with runner-up going to Collingwood’s Jaidyn Stephenson with 173 votes. At 24 years of age, Kelly is the oldest player to ever receive this award.

Greater Western Sydney co-captain, Callan Ward, was anointed the Robert Rose Most Courageous Player, ahead of Western Bulldogs’ veteran Dale Morris.

Richmond’s premiership captain from last season, Trent Cotchin, was voted this year’s Best Captain, recognising Richmond’s top of the table form throughout the 2018 season.

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