16 of the 18 clubs have held and awarded their variously named Best and Fairest awards for season 2013, with both WA clubs due to in late November.
I have always found club B&F results to be a fascinating insight into the attitude and game plans of the respective clubs, giving us look into what is valued and rewarded, acknowledged and highlighted within a club, that may not be seen by umpires (when compared to Brownlow results), media or even fans.
Clubs B&F also tend to be better at including all positions, not just midfielders, hence a few key position backmen winning awards this year, and also benefit from not being awarded immediately after a game finishes (as Brownlow votes are) and often coming from a wider panel of assessors within a club.
B&F results can also be a way of sending a message to a player about what he has to work on, as well as having financial rewards beyond the honour of recognition, with many player contracts having bonuses for top 10 finishes, as well as All Australian inclusion.
The link to the AFL page that lists the Top 10 results for the 16 clubs is attached.
My take on the results so far are:
- Sloane’s is a great win, goes from 3rd in 2012 to 1st, with Dangerfield once again, surprisingly to many I’d suggest, missing out on the top award.
- Scott Thompson at 7th seems low, and I wouldn’t have seen Otten and Brown ahead of him.
- Talia jumps from 10th in his Rising Star year to 4th this year, which augurs well for the Crow’s future.
- Douglas 2nd and you’d suggest underrated by those outside SA.
- Patfull goes back to back, extremely impressive.
- Rockliff’s strong Brownlow showing only gets him 4th here while Pearce Hanley’s story is an excellent one, his runner-up result justifying the long contract he signed.
- Zorko continues to shine, no second year drop off after his 7th finish in 2012.
- A changing of the guard with Simon Black outside the top 10. No Daniel Rich either.
- Brent Maloney continues to show the Dees what he could have provided had he been retained, but despite Raines at 8th, he still makes me feel “looks like his dad, kicks like his mum.”
- Loving Kade Simpson as the winner, substance over style for a change.
- Murphy’s broken jaw cost him matches but seemed to damage his confidence in the second half of the year. Still, a surprise to see him outside the top 10.
- Simpson, Curnow, Touhy and McLean in the top 10 I think reflects Malthouse’s blue collar expectations.
- Walker showing a return on the draft investment made in him.
- Although Maxwell missed some games and his leadership qualities have always outweighed his actual football ability, being outside the Top 10 places further pressure on calls for Pendelbury to lead the side in 2014.
- Blair drops off after a good 2012, but Elliot and Williams at 10 and 7 a sign of the reasonably bright future for the Pies.
- Pendlebury from Swan a fairly reasonable quinella
- O’Brien at 5th spot is a great result considering off-field distractions
- A surprise that Goddard’s win was his first career B&F, and a top effort at a new club under some pressure as the 2012 free-agent poster child. Maybe not being scarred with the events of 2011/12 made life easier for him.
- Heppell with consecutive top 3 finishes is a bright future for the Dons.
- I would have had Carlisle above Hibbert.
- Stanton hopefully has completely put to bed the criticism he gets from Essendon fans. He’s not the new Hird, despite the number of his back, but had a good 2013.
- 5 backmen in their top 10, shows it’s not all about all-out attack at Cat land.
- No Stevie J?
- Harry Taylor finishing 2nd, again a player repaying the faith showed in him by the significant contract he signed.
- Bartel I think sacrificed his game this year for the good of the team by playing back so much, which is clearly noted and appreciated by the coaches.
- Stokes at 4 is a great story of redemption.
- Lonergan’s top 10 finish is also a wonderful good news story and comeback.
- Ablett no surprise, but not by the street we would expect.
- Bennell drops off a bit after his good 2012 result.
- If you do what bookies were doing when Black Caviar ran and looked at the field without Ablett, Prestia from O’Meara is a fair 1-2.
- Ward aside, they are all kids, with the high Top 10 finishes in 2012 from some of their senior imports dropping out, so plenty of upside.
- I still don’t think Scully at 3 is a fair indication of what he contributes to that team, too high for mine.
- Toby Greene got the second year blues.
- Ward again showing what a clever piece of recruiting that was, future potential and leadership over current hype.
- Good first year from Whitfield, add Boyd to this forward line with Patton to return and there’s positive signs for the future here
- Winning a B&F in a flag year is no small effort, and Gibson’s achievement is notable, albeit a slight surprise.
- Like the Cats, 5 backmen in their top 10, with Stratton ahead of others again an indication of what Clarkson looks for in his side.
- Mitchell changes his game and still finishes top 3, really good player still at his peak.
- Burgoyne and Birchall in the top 10, Hawks the masters of that forward thrust and rebound from the half back line.
- Really like Smith and Bruest in that top 10, and would like to see how Hale fared as he is very valuable to this team.
- No real surprise as Jones goes back to back, but again adds fuel to the captaincy decision made by Neeld at the start of 2012.
- Watts misses the top 10 for second year in a row, although his footy improved under Craig.
- Terlich a rare good news story for the Dees in a horror year.
- The captaincy clearly weighs heavily on Trengove’s shoulders
- A tie, with two very contrasting players in Wells and Thompson saluting.
- A close result across the top 10 shows the consistency that is the North squad.
- Goldstein at 3 a wonderful result for a guy that pretty much rucked solo all year.
- A lot of youth and promise in the top ten, but if they don’t play finals in 2014, a wasted generation could await.
- Wingard winning is a fabulous result for this talented kid.
- Boak takes the captaincy, rejects the potential dollars from the Cats and finishes 2nd, great season.
- Kane Cornes, washed up and on his way out under Primus, finishes third, what a comeback at his age.
- Would have had Hartlett and Monfries higher.
- Westhoff another comeback story and successive top 10 finishes for Jay Schultz since his exit from the Tigers.
- Jackson’s win is an inspiration to many battlers and a reward for sheer effort, even if I still think he wastes his hard work by butchering the ball.
- Martin above Cotchin is a real surprise, as I think Dusty isn’t making the most of his obvious abilities.
- Chaplin, Morris, Houli and Grigg (last 2 with consecutive top ten placings) show Richmond have wisely adopted Hawks-like recruiting for specific role players.
- Most of the top 10 are in that good 4 plus years/80-120 games you need if you are going to really challenge for a top 4 spot
- I’d say 3 (and maybe more) of the Top 10 will not play in season 2015, which for all the Saints youth coming through is a concern.
- Steven and Geary in the top 4 are positive signs for the transformation Watters has to manage in coming years.
- I know I bang on about Nick Riewoldt and finishing second is an amazing effort, but I also see it as him having to do too much week in and week out for this side.
- Steven a clear and deserved winner, in what was an overall disappointing year for the club.
- Another emotional comeback story (of sorts) has a fantastic end, with Jarrad McVeigh I’d venture one of the more popular and respected captains in the AFL.
- Bird and Smith continue their under-the-radar, low key careers with consecutive top 10 finishes. Some draft gossip that Smith is keen to return home, clubs should line up for him.
- I would have had Malceski higher, maybe swapping his 10th finish with Parker’s 6th?
- Kieran Jack’s rise and rise continues.
- Like St Kilda, a worrying over-emphasis on players at the tail end of their careers
- Tom Liberatore cops his medicine from a lousy end to 2012 and returns the faith shown in him in spades
- Griffen a deserved and worthy winner.
- Minson was close to gone from this club not long ago, an impressive comeback year capped off with a 3rd place finish.
- Cooney’s comeback and Murphy’s excellent twilight are positive stories for this club who finished the season very well.
I’d welcome the views of our WA correspondents, such as Peter B, Matty Q and Sean Gorman, on who may salute at the Eagles and Dockers respectively. Last year saw Sellwood take out the West Coast award, from Dean Cox. I’d venture Priddis, Kennedy and maybe Darling featuring this year. As for the Purple Haze, Crowley won in 2012, could go again, although Fyfe and Mundy should battle it out, with Mayne the smokey perhaps and Mzungu in the top 10.