Former Hawthorn player and current Collingwood VFL player Alex Woodward tied in third place for the JJ Liston Trophy despite playing a mere eight games.
Returning from a fourth knee reconstruction, Woodward averaged 28.8 disposals per game, leading to calls that he should be considered in the upcoming 2018 rookie draft.
After a five year stint with Hawthorn, following being drafted with pick 53 in the 2011 national draft, Woodward only managed two senior games, at least partly due to suffering three knee reconstructions.
Being recruited by the Collingwood VFL side in 2017, Woodward ruptured his ACL during his second game of the season, a moment which forced him to reconsider his career.
“At the start of the year, playing footy was never a priority for me. It was very much ‘go to work, make sure I rehab my knee right and get myself healthy again’,” Woodward said to foxfooty.com.au.
It was his rehabilitation program, which involved being a runner for the Magpies AFL side in the first half of the 2018 season that Woodward cites as the reason for his passion in the game returning.
“Being the runner and being out there week-in, week-out with the AFL boys for the first half of the season, it really built my passion up to play footy at any level,” Woodward said.
Time will tell if the successful return of Woodward is enough to encourage a club to take a chance on the injury prone player during the rookie draft this year.