Brownlow favourite Tom Mitchell has topped off his record breaking season as he was crowned the AFL Players MVP for 2018.
Mitchell ended up on 773 votes as he claimed his first Leigh Matthews trophy.
Carlton’s Patrick Cripps was runners up after carrying his struggling team that only managed two wins this season.
Cripps polled 529 votes whilst Max Gawn (412 votes), last years MVP Dustin Martin (304 votes), and All Australian Captain Lance Franklin (291 votes) rounded out the top five.
All five players were awarded spots in the 2018 All Australian team earlier in the week with Mitchell putting it down too a strong pre-season.
“Individually, I think I improved on last year and every player wants to go out and improve, so I guess I look back on a strong pre-season,” Mitchell said.
“I think what’s more exciting is a top-eight finish and a top-four finish, but really excited to play finals.
“I suppose it’s a very nice reward for effort and to be recognised by my peers … it’s a huge honour and privileged to be standing here.”
But the MVP wasn’t the only award on Thursday night.
Richmond’s Trent Cotchin was voted the AFL’s best captain in 2018 with his side being undefeated at the MCG and winning the minor premiership. He ended up winning the award by 181 votes.
Cotchin finished on 249 votes amongst his peers, while Shannon Hurn of West Coast and Scott Pendlebury from Collingwood were joint runners up with 68 votes.
“I remember sitting with my wife after last year and telling her: ‘I’ll give this captaincy thing one more year and if it doesn’t go well, if we bomb out again or we don’t get it right, we are going to see if someone else can do the job,’’ Cotchin said at the Tigers’ 2017 best and fairest awards night.
“Funny how fickle life can be. Funny also how your whole life can change on a dime, just by changing your perspective.”
The Robert Rose award for Most Courageous player was given to GWS co-captain Callan Ward.
“I think showing courage on the football field is something that comes naturally to most players,” Ward said.
“I think from a young age, I was taught to play football in that manner.”
Meanwhile Geelong midfielder Tim Kelly won the AFLPA Best First Year Player Award. Kelly is the oldest player to ever win the award and is the second mature age player to win after Michael Barlow won it in 2010.
Kelly told that he never gave up cause he knew an opportunity could still come.
“I always sort of had a little guy in the back of my head saying if I keep working on my game and kept working on things, a bit of luck would swing my way and I’d get an opportunity,” Kelly said.
“I’m very thankful to the Geelong footy club for the opportunity they have given me and look I’ve had a lot of support and lot of family support and people who mean a lot to me who keep pushing me in the right way.”
The under 22 team of the year was also announced with Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli being named captain for the third straight year and is now officially the only player to be named in the under 22 team five times.