We are back with another edition of TalkSport’s annual AFL awards.
For the first time since our inaugural edition in the aftermath of the 2015 season, the annual AFL Players’ Association awards have returned to the Adelaide Oval, this time for a third consecutive year.
With our awards ceremony on the horizon, the spotlight will once again be on the most valuable players in the game.
While the AFL’s top-20 players have been awarded the AFLPA Awards for the first two years in a row, the league’s top 20 players are all back in the running for the inaugural AFLPA Players’ Awards for 2016.
The winners of this year’s awards are:Travis Cloke, Essendon: The former Carlton premiership star was an integral part of the Bombers’ premiership-winning side.
The Bombers have also received the AFLWA Players’ Player of the Year award, and the AFL Players Association Players’ player of the year award for 2016, with Cloke receiving the award for his outstanding contribution to the game of footy.
Kylie Vardy, Fremantle: The No.1 draft pick of the 2016 NAB AFL Draft, Vardy has played a key role in the Dockers’ successful season, with the AFLW’s best rookie of the season and top-eight draft pick, Mason Cox, being the other players who have taken on the mantle.
Cox will become the first Fremantle player to win the AFLCWA Rookie of the Season award, while Vardy will also become the second-youngest player to achieve the feat, after Geelong’s James Podsiadly.
Melbourne midfielder Taylor Walker, Carlton: The young midfielder has played one of the most influential roles in the Blues’ success this season, leading the team in goals, assists and marks this year.
Walker was also a finalist for the AFL Best Young Player award in 2015.
The Demons’ Ben Cunnington, Geelong: The Power’s No.2 pick of this season’s NAB Draft, Cunnington is the AFL MVP this year and has been a constant presence on the Demons’ midfield this year, and has also become a key part of Geelong captain Josh Walker’s team.
Cunnington will be rewarded with a career-high five AFLWA Best and Fairest awards, while Walker will be handed a Best and Honours award.
Sydney’s Josh Kennedy, Richmond: The reigning premiership and AFL best and fairest winner has played an integral role in Richmond’s remarkable season and is now a household name for fans around the state.
Kennedy has played in every game for Richmond this season and will be awarded the Best and Honour for his contribution to this club, as well as his continued contributions to the club’s community.
The Essendon ruckman will be recognised for his role in helping the Bombs to a third successive finals series win.
The Western Bulldogs’ Patrick Cripps, Carlton and Richmond: Carlton’s ruckmen have been key players in their club’s success this year with Crippers averaging 18 disposals and nine clearances a game.
Cripps has also been a key player in the club and the club has received the league MVP award for 2015.
Sunderland’s Tom Liberatore, Carlton, Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn: The veteran forward and his teammates have been crucial to the Bulldogs’ success in 2016, and Liberatores contributions to his club this season have earned him a career best 10 AFLWA best and fares.
The Gold Coast’s Sam Mitchell, Carlton; West Coast’s Tom Rockliff, Carlton-Carlton; Fremantle’s Mitch Robinson, West Coast; and the Geelong ruck duo of Tom Lonergan and Travis Cloke have been essential to the Giants’ success, and have earned the AFL player of year award.
Port Adelaide’s Jake Stringer, Carlton (with Daniel Wells): Stringer’s ability to play on the wing has been one of his most consistent attributes this season as the Power have been an elite possession team.
The Swans’ Jack Gunston, Ess/Hawthorn; North Melbourne’s Matthew Pavlich, North Melbourne; and Gold Coast forward David Mundy, North Ballarat have all been key performers for the Power, while the Demons ruck pair of Sam Jacobs and Ben Griffiths have been the team’s most consistent performers.