The Results Are In: a review of the 2014 Best and Fairest winners and Top 10 placings per club

With 17 of the 18 clubs having held and awarded their Best and Fairest awards for the 2014 season, it is worth having a look at who is valued at the respective clubs, and how these often reflect what’s important at a particular club or in the eyes of the coaches.

B&Fs are a chance for unfancied or underrated players outside clubs to get recognised. It is also a bizarre time when players other than midfielders get a gong. Having said that, there is a stronger trend this year than in the past couple to acknowledge midfielders or ball magnets above forwards and defenders, although some of them feature in the top few places..

In a year when the coaches, players and umpires all went with different players (Gray, Fyfe and Priddis) let’s have a look at the clubs (with Fremantle holding their award on November 15):

Adelaide

Daniel Talia goes from 10th to 4th to first in the last three years: a backman winning, which is great, and recognition of an impressive season by a strong player.

Sloane and Dangerfield in the top 3 for the third year in a row, but Paddy still to win the Crows award.

Jaensch maybe high at 7th, Betts repaying his recruitment by finishing 8th, Sam Jacobs top 5 again.

Brisbane

No surprise with Rockliff saluting, but only by a whisker from the impressive Zorko.

Rising Star winner Taylor finishes 6th and with Aish, Mayes and Clarke in the top 10, there’s plenty of upside to the Lions.

Patfull third after consecutive wins, Hanley top 3 again, so a consistent few years for both.

Carlton

Gibbs wins by a long way, Simpson top 3 after last year’s win, and Murphy polling well.

However, like in 2013, there’s an unhealthy and worrying emphasis on the older/slightly older players, with what I would see as 6 or 7 of the ‘older’ Blues brigade in the top 10.

Sam Rowe, great story to finish 5th. Everitt, like Betts at the Crows, repaying recruitment and leaving Sydney to finish 7 and Thomas sneaks in at 10th after finishing the season better than he started.

Collingwood

No real surprise again with Pendlebury winning clearly, but Sidebottom’s second place finish a credit to hard work and eventually returning on his talent.

Beams third by a fair way, and only just pipped for second, shows why the Pies are playing hard ball on the potential Lions move.

Macaffer’s hard tagging work rewarded with 5th; surprised to see Frost at 9; thought Langdon deserved a top 10 finish in his debut year.

Essendon

Heppell by a street, after being top 3 2012 and 2013. Goddard third shows what an inspired pick up that was (how he could still be helping the Saints).

No Jake Carlisle in the top 10 surprised me, as did Baguley as high as 8th.

Chappy 9th, there’s life in the old dog yet

Geelong

Another reasonably predictable win with Selwood, but Hawkins finishes second and again higher than Bartel, Kelly and Enright for the second year in a row and is clearly highly regarded at the Cattery.

Duncan and Guthrie at 3rd and 8th respectively starting to show signs of the newer Cats breaking through.

Second year in a row the Cats have 5 backmen in their top 10. Thought Taylor at 5 a bit low, but the four above him are quite good, Rivers having a standout year to be 6th.

Gold Coast

Like the Brownlow, Ablett’s shoulder opened it up for someone else, and David Swallow returned on his high drafting to win from Tom Lynch.

Nice mix of Ablett, Rischetelli and Harbrow balancing the kids polling well, good signs for whoever takes the reins up there.

Prestia probably underrated outside Queensland but another strong finish coming 3rd after 2013’s second place

GWS

Like the Suns, a balance of experience and youth which again augurs well. Mumford a great win, vindicates his decision to move (slightly) west, Ward second.

Two great stories: Phil Davis finishing 7th is an incredibly brave effort after his horror injury in round 1, and great to see bad boys Shaw and Greene finish 5th and 6th.

Hoskin-Elliott lower than I’d expect at 7th

Hawthorn

Winning any B&F is a great achievement but to do it in a premiership year shows real class. Lewis a fitting winner amongst a plethora of worthy candidates; we tend to forget he was a top 10 pick, shaded by Roughy and Buddy in his year.

Birchall, criminally underrated by most outside Waverley, is a great story finishing 2nd.

Usual suspects Hodge and Roughy balancing the emerging stars like Smith and Bruest; a changing of the guard with no Sewell or Mitchell (or Cyril) featuring in the top 10.

Melbourne

Jones a widely anticipated and respected winner, 3 on the trot, but a lot of upside to Dom Tyson finishing second.

After two barren years, Watts finally sneaks into the top 10.

Frawley 8th, remind me again why he’s worth pick 3?

Good to see recruits Vince and Cross return the faith in them with coming 3rd and 5th but time for the kids to step up.

North Melbourne

Second time in a row we have a very close count and after last year’s tie, this year Cunnington wins on countback.

Goldstein unlucky not to win, older players like Boomer and Petrie finish in the top 5 but Greenwood leaving after coming third hurts.

Nicky Dal, like Goddard, finding rich form at a new club, finishing 6th. Swallow 9th is a story similar to Phil Davis, great result.

Port Adelaide

Gray a worthy winner, Boak no disgrace in coming second again. Tremendous upside to this team.

We can get carried away over here about Winguard’s highlight reel, but his later season slight drop off is evident in his finishing only 9th.

Kane Cornes continues to be incredibly impressive and resilient to finish 3rd in this team for the second year in a row.

No Monfries in the top 10? Shows what depth they have I suppose. Jonas at 10 is good.

Richmond

Thought Dusty might have snatched the win, but Cotchin continues to rule there.

Ellis rewarded for a great year. What a year Rance could have had if not hit by early injuries, he rightly polled massively in the second part of the season.

Houli again top 10, third year in a row, valued player at Punt Rd. I would have had Deleido higher than 7th, probably above Edwards at least.

St Kilda

I have knocked Riewoldt for years, but can’t argue that he was by far the leading Saint in 2014.

The top 4 are the older guard, like 2013, and again this presents a worrying sign for the Saints as they rebuild.

Having said that, Delaney and Newnes are the future, although I was surprised Billings couldn’t finish in the top 10, in favour of Weller and Gwilt.

Sydney

A plethora of stars, but Parker, despite his year, was a slight surprise. Familiar territory for him though, apparently he won 8 straight B&Fs through his junior years.

As if we didn’t need vindication Buddy was a gun move for them, he finishes third.

Goodes, Reid and Tippett don’t feature, in favour of Smith (again) and McGlynn, which is probably a fair reflection on their year. Cunningham awesome story to slot in at 10th

West Coast

McKenzie probably not well known outside the west, but beats the Brownlow medallist for his first win.

Nic Nat had a better year, finishing 9th, Cripps at 10 is a surprise but also a good result.

Their top 10 shows a nice balance of midfielders, defenders and forwards, a good spread.

Western Bulldogs

Healthy mix of youth and experience, with Boyd, Griffen, Murphy, Morris and Crameri balancing 5 kids.

Libba again bounces back from his awful off-field end to 2012 and has his first win.

Wallis missed a few games, so finishing 10th was a good effort. Though surprisingly, there is no room for the Bont, and Macrae finishes 2nd instead.

Crameri, like a few others, returning faith in his move with an 8th finish.

Bob Murphy at 5, the second year in a row he has finished very high at the tail end of his career.

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.

Comments

  1. Nice one Sean. Great to see defenders get recognition in the B&F’s. I was more upset about Eric Mackenzie missing out on the All Australian team than Priddis. I spent an evening looking at the stats on how key defenders did against the big key forwards – Franklin, Roughead, Jack Riewoldt and Schulz. Only Talia had a better record at restricting them than our Wreckless Eric.
    He didn’t beat Buddy at Subi mid season – he outmuscled and humiliated him. Buddy spent the second half in the midfield chasing kicks.
    The Brownlow and media awards are just possessions awards for midflelders. B&F’s recognise team contribution and consistency.

  2. Dave Brown says

    Thanks Sean. It does give you a good idea of how clubs value different types of player. Also because the club knows what a player’s role is on the day they can be rewarded for playing that role, even if it doesn’t involve getting 30 possessions. Kane Cornes has finished in the top 3 of the Power something like 9 of the last 10 years, which is remarkable.

    Interesting to look at the ruckmen, with Mumford winning, Goldstein second and Jacobs fifth. We’ll see where Sandilands finishes. The uproar from us Crows fans when Jacobs didn’t get All Australian is interesting when the club itself only thinks he was the 5th best player this year.

  3. Reckon you got it right at Tigerland Sean. I would have given it to Dusty. He won the People’s Choice Award to make up for it. But you have to admit Cotch does a lot of the heavy work in and under.

    BTW, that’s not the same Sabatini who played three seasons with the Nar Nar Goon 3rds as a utility forward is it?

  4. Stevie J can’t get into Geelong’s top 10 but Rivers can??? Something’s not right.

  5. Dips’ Second year in a row he hasn’t finished inside the Top 10.

    Wrap, Gabby’s little brother, more of an attacking half back flanker

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Was very happy to see Sidebottom finish second at Collingwood. Very well deserved. Frost absolutely deserved his top 10 finish, Langdon probably would have been top 5 in the first half of the season but considerably dropped off in the second half. And was shocked with Lumumba’s 4th placing, rated way higher than I would have ranked his 2014 season.

  7. Malcolm Rulebook Ashwood says

    As a crows supporter very happy with , Tahlias win stunned re Jacobs finishing so low in a side that didn’t make finals . MacKenzie was a farce him not making all aust side Hope they make the rule change and you have to play a minimum number of games ( with having the power in exceptional circumstances re Ablett to include ) haven’t met a tiger follower yet who hasn’t thought , Martin wasn’t there most consistent player of the season , thought the others were ok

  8. DBalassone says

    Thanks for this Sean. Always interesting to see how clubs rate their own,
    Patfull up for trade, after winning two B&Fs and finishing third this year. Makes you wonder if some of these internal club voting systems are a true reflection of performance.

  9. DB

    Patfull is interesting, in that he seems to wan tto love in Sydney post footy and the club seem willing to allow him that option by trading him. Seems strange that they’d be willing to part with him seeing his form, but maybe the lure of high draft picks, to be on traded for other players wanting to break contract, is too strong.

    Sean

  10. Just a thought Dips, but maybe the judges down at The Cattery are tired of driving up and down the Geelong Road on those cold and lonely Winter Tuesdays.

    The All Australian selectors are usually a farce Rulebook. Why break with tradition now?

    And I remember him now Sean. Handy when it got a bit willing. Played a blinder against Koo Wee Rup in a prelim one year. Sorry to see him leave the club actually. Reckon he could have made it through to the Magoos if he’d stuck at it.

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