K rock Football

Cripps named Players’ best

Carlton star Patrick Cripps in action against the Western Bulldogs in Round 5. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

CARLTON co-captain Patrick Cripps has claimed the AFL Players’ Association MVP award, capping off a superb individual season with the struggling club.

Cripps received 832 votes to comfortably win the Leigh Matthews Trophy on Thursday ahead of Geelong’s Tim Kelly (519).

Brisbane’s Lachie Neale (481), Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy (355) and Fremantle captain Nat Fyfe (303) rounding out the top five.

The midfielder, who was named in the All-Australian team on Wednesday, led the league for clearances and averaged 2 8 disposals, 8.5 clearances, 6.2 tackles and 17 contested possessions per game.

“Patrick has had a super season and his ability in contested situations is as good as any player I’ve seen,” said AFLPA president and Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield via in a statement.

“As a midfielder, he can do it all on the inside and outside and, with his huge frame, he’s like a key forward in the air.

“His ability to back it up week-after-week despite an up and down season for the Blues is a huge reason he’s been able to secure the MVP.”

Cripps was also the first player to claim the award while playing for a team that finished outside the top eight since Gary Ablett in 2014.

Cripps’ teammate Sam Walsh comfortably claimed the best first-year player award, with the AFL Rising Star favourite receiving 400 votes to finish above Port Adelaide’s Connor Rozee (112 votes) and Richmond revelation Sydney Stack (62 votes).

Walsh broke the AFL record for disposals by a first-year player, averaging 25.2 disposals, 3.2 clearances and 5.1 marks across his 22-game debut season.

West Coast premiership skipper Shannon Hurn was named best captain with 171 votes, ahead of Cripps (128).

Richmond defender Dylan Grimes was named most courageous player (146 votes), while Brisbane winger Mitch Robinson (105) was runner-up.

The AFLPA MVP has a two-step voting process.

In the first step, players voted for their teammates on a 3-2-1 basis, with the club’s three highest polling players nominated for the overall MVP award, creating a 54-player shortlist across 18 teams.

In the second round, players voted for the MVP on a 3-2-1 basis – but could not vote for their teammates.

© AAP 2019