Tom Scully fourth best for the Giants all year…(and other tales from club best and fairest awards)

With the AFL season done and dusted, attention turns mostly now to the squads and playing lists for 2013, through the free agency and trade period.

The relative strengths of the current team lists will be reflected in the 2012 Best and Fairest voting, which is also a great indication as to what qualities and traits are valued at a particular club.

Whilst many of those to salute in their club’s voting weren’t a great surprise, there were in my mind a few bolters. In addition, a glance at the Top 10 from each club shows some interesting inclusions and omissions in my view, and some interesting signs as to what gets noticed by the coaches as opposed to the media and umpires (and All Australian panel).

I don’t have detailed information on games missed by injury and so can’t tell what the ratio of votes to games played was at some clubs who suffered in the medical room, like the Blues and Dons, but thought there were some results that warranted highlighting.

Comments from Almanackers who watch their teams closely are welcomed. Please note North’s count has yet to take place.


  • The top three of Thompson, Dangerfield and Sloane were to be expected, with Thompson in my view a worthy winner and Sloane an up and comer who, Cooper Cronk like, could be under-estimated or over-looked against his two starring team mates.
  • Sam Jacobs justly rewarded for a breakout season at 4.
  • Daniel Talia at 10 was a surprise, with lesser noted players this side of the border like Doughty and Wright above him.
  • Taylor Walker at 5, but Tippett outside the top 10? Conspiracy theory anyone?


  • How good is Simon Black, with yet another Top 10 finish?
  • The Lions have a lot of upside with young players coming through.
  • Great first year for Dwayne Zorko coming in equal 7th.
  • Daniel Rich is well over his ‘second year blues’ with a runner up finish to Joel Patfull.


  • Fantastic achievement for Heath Scotland to take out the Blues award.
  • Brock MacLean’s 4th finish shows what putting your head down and backing yourself can do.
  • Judd’s chicken wing brain fade definitely cost him another B&F.
  • The Blues seem to be reliant on too many older experienced players with the youngsters not featuring in the Top 10.


  • Impressive to see Jarryd Blair finish in 7th, ahead of Ben Reid and Dale Thomas who tied for 10th.
  • A great bounce back from Dayne Beams after the disappointment of the recent years, has now capitalised on his potential.



  •  No surprise to see Jobe win easily, but 200 votes ahead of 2nd placed Heppell?
  • How good is Dustin Fletcher to finish 3rd?


  • Ross Lyon’s game plan is reflected in the votes of the coaches, Crowley pipping Mayne to win the medal.
  • Pavlich equal 3rd (although officially listed at 4th) is again a great reflection on the talents of this player which would be far greater recognised if he played in Melbourne.
  • Would have thought Ballantyne would have cracked the top 10.


  • No Chappy or Scarlett in the Top 10, is that a first for a while?
  • Mitch Duncan in 9th is a great sign for the future and Tom Lonergan’s Top 10 finish continues this incredible fairy tale for this player.
  • Not sure where Tom Hawkins finished in the Cats count last year, but to beat Selwood, Bartel, Kelly and Enright is again an indication of what his performance in the 2011 GF did for his confidence.


  • Ablett again, as expected, but how good is Harley Bennell now and going to be in coming years?
  • Campbell Brown at 5 was a surprise and I thought Hunt may have snuck into the Top 10 considering his development this year.


  • Toby Greene is going to be a star.
  • Callan Ward was clever recruiting.
  • Chad Cornes and Luke Power in the top 10 could be seen as a bad result with too much being asked of them this year, but in my mind vindicates their GSW recruiting and reflect very highly on the commitment of both these fine players.
  • They are kidding themselves if they see Tom Scully as their 4th best player.


  • Luke Bruest at 4 is a big surprise, but great reward for the goal kicking breakout season he had.
  • David Hale’s top 10 finish again sees him as a wise recruiting move for the Hawks.
  • Josh Gibson outside the top 10 in favour of Ben Stratton is a turn-up.
  • Mitchell from Sewell and Birchall is a good top 3.


  • I’d love to know how Mitch Clarke was doing in the votes when he got injured.
  • Nathan Jones is a fine and clearly deserving winner.
  • The highlight reel that is Jeremy Howe salutes at 7, Tom McDonald at 3 raises eyebrows, and the Rivers result at 5 is interesting seeing he’ll be leaving.
  • No Watts in the Top 10, places even more pressure on the kid.


  • I wonder if Travis Boak’s ‘will he won’t he’ reflected in the coaches voting to see him finish only 8th.
  • Another pretty impressive effort from Kane Cornes.
  • What has happened to Jay Schultz after he left Richmond, with an impressive equal 4th finish.
  • Port happy to let Pearce and Chaplin go, despite both top 10 finishers, and how bad are they when Justin Westhoff finishes equal 4th.


  • Cotchin and Deledio at 1 and 2 no surprise, but the Mullet at 3 is a fantastic effort.
  • Houli and Grigg’s recruitment a few years back continue to pay dividend with top 10 finishes again.
  • Morris and Rance are great stories to finish at 6 and 7.
  • Dustin Martin just scrapes into the Top 10 to get another loud and clear message from the club on their expectations.


  • Running out of superlatives for Lenny Hayes
  • Dempster’s All Australian season rewarded by a 3rd place finish.
  • Steven and Geary in the Top 10 shows there’s upside with the youngsters.
  • No Kosi.


  • A B&F to Josh Kennedy in a premiership year further highlights his dramatic rise to elite level.
  • Craig Bird at 9th is a great effort.
  • No Goodes, Shaw or Reid in the Top 10 shows what depth they have up there.
  • Jack, Grundy, Bird and Smith in the top 10 show what the Swans coaches notice and value in their players.


  • Explain to me how the All Australian ruckman, with all the Healy etc stuff about % of hit outs to advantage, can’t make the Top 10 at his own club.
  • Sellwood over Cox is a big effort and I’d say a surprise this side of the country.
  • Daniel Kerr top 10 again deserves recognition.
  • Hurn at 3 surprises as high as much as Priddis at 8 is low.


  • Matthew Boyd is a fine captain and richly deserving winner
  • Tory Dickson is a great story and there’s upside with the kids in Wallis, Picken and especially Dahlhaus.
  • Libba came 7th, what he could have done without the suspension.

About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.


  1. Surely Dustin Fletcher is the oldest player to finish top 3 in a B&F. Not sure if this reflects more on him or the rest of the team. Either way, a magnificent achievement!

  2. Peter Schumacher says

    A couple of comments,; Zorko coiuld be anything starting from next year. Tippett, well he did miss a lot of matches through injury and then took a long time to wind up although he certainly did do this in spades in the prelim.

  3. Andrew Weiss says

    It was great to see Joel Patfull win the B&F for Brisbane. He is hardly acknowledge in the media and by footy experts but does an important job for the Lions week in week out. The interesting thing about the B&f’s for each club is that players that has been reported and suspended is still eligable to win the award whilst they are not for the brownlow which is for the best and fairest in the comp. Maybe the brownlow needs to change or the clubs need to take out the fairest component in the name.

  4. No conspiracy about Tippett at the Crows. He missed 4 games through concussion, was subbed out in 3 with the same, and barely troubled the scorers in some others (against Sydney twice, for example).

    No great surprise to see Dogga and Wright above Talia. The broken arm might have dropped Talia down to 10th – 2 good matches may have seen hi as high as 6th.

    Doughty has been a consistent vote getter in the B+F at Adelaide in recent years (5th, 4th and 3rd from 2008-2010), so no surprise to see him do well. He had a ripping finals season, befitting a man who wanted to retire with no ‘what ifs’.

    Matty Wright put together the sort of season coaches love – 20 touches, 4 tackles and 3 clearances per game, with 15 goals, and 9th in the league in goal assists. Very solid for a 2nd year player. He could be destined to be the next Tyson Edwards – it will take about 6 years before the footy media notice he’s a good player.

  5. NicNat result shows that certainAA selections were more about pizzazz than about productivity.

    Q: With Scott Selwood winning the B&F, does anyone know how many times brothers have won B&Fs at different clubs?

  6. Pretty sure both Simon and Justin Madden each won B&Fs

  7. Ripsnorter says

    Simon and Justin Madden both won B&F’s at seperate clubs but not in the same year but not sure about others doing this feat.

    Nic Nat should not have been all Australian ruckman on the simple premise that you have to be at least the best ruckman in your team to win such an honour.

    Tuck came second in 1990 b&f and would have been about Fletchers age, Bartlett and Bradley both still played very good football at this age but not sure if they finished that high in their count.

  8. Ripsnorter says

    A quick google also led me to the Healy brothers who managed this in the same year, 1986 at Melbourne and Sydney.

  9. Greg Healy?! Wow! Thanks boys.

  10. Great article , loved the West Coast Bit

  11. Beau Waters, another controversial AA selection on the half-back flank, also failed to make top ten in WC F&B.

  12. Naitanui’s lower rating no surprise to me. He is brilliant at times so the highlight reel is spectacular, and his tap work is improving rapidly. But his kicking is poor, and he is still inconsistent away from Subi and on strong bodies like Mumford. I thought Cox deserved the award as our best. He lifted us over the line several times, like against NM in Hobart. Scott Selwood is a work horse and possession getter but disposal is unreliable. Hurn is our best offensive weapon of half back. Waters omission surprises more than NicNait. Like Kerr he saves his best for the big games, so consistency may have hurt him across 22 games. Priddis trailed off over the season. Don’t know if it was injury; lack of leg speed or oppositions sorting him out. Eric MacKenzie at 10 surprised me, but the 2 finals (where he did a number on the in-form Cloke) were his best for the year. He will fill Glass’s shoes admirably in a year or two.
    The trade of Pick 17 for Wellingham is very astute by Woosha. He knows we need a class midfielder with leg speed and strength to round out a midfield that lacks class and speed on the inside. A high pick trade says Woosha reckons the window is open for 2 more years before Cox, Kerr and Glass’s bodies give out. Its finishing school not development time for this Eagles group.
    Roll on 2013.

  13. Interesting to further compare All Australian selection with B&F results.

    There were 7 AA players who also won their club B&F (Scott Thompson, Beams, Watson, Hawkins, Cotchin, Josh Kennedy and Ablett).
    A further 5 came second, in 3 cases to one of those 7 mentioned above (Dangerfield, Pendelbury, Deledio, Richards and Cox)
    Birchall, Dempster and Swan came 3rd, making a total of 15 of 22 AA players who finished top 3 in their B&F.

    McPharlin and Franklin finished 5th in theirs, Rioli and Glass 6th.

    The major excpetions, as indictaed by me and by respondants who picked up my ommissions were Milne, Nic Nat and Waters who all missed their club top 10.

    I don’t think there’s much debate that the small forward spot was Milne’s and I thought Waters was a fair call on a back flank roles, but it again gives credence to the ‘style over substance’ selection of Nic Nat.

Leave a Comment