MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 03: Jy Simpkin of the Kangaroos celebrates a goal during the 2018 AFL round 11 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium on June 03, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

North Melbourne midfielder Jy Simpkin has continued his rise to stardom by claiming his debut Syd Barker Medal following a career year in 2021.

The 23-year-old's efforts across a season that finished strongly for the wooden spooners was enough to finish well ahead of club veterans Ben Cunnington and Jack Ziebell during Friday night's count.

Across his 22 appearances for David Noble's side this season, Simpkin recorded career best means of more than 26 disposals, four marks, three tackles and five clearances - all of which came after being elevated to the club's leadership group.

Having originally being selected with the 12th pick of the 2016 draft, hopes were always high that the Mooroopna-born mid could eventually ascent to the summit, and with a 26 vote gap between he and Cunnington, the club's faith has well and truly been rewarded.

Speaking after being awarded the honour named the titanic ruckman who led the Shinboners with aplomb in the early years of the 20th century, the face of the future stated that North Melbourne fans should be excited about what lies ahead.

Though falling shy of adding his third club best and fairest to his mantel, the often mute Cunnington was brought to tears after being awarded the fan-vote Mazda Excellence Award for his ability to remain elite in the face of adversity.

Following an interrupted season in which he once again produced brilliant statistics on a weekly basis, the ever consistent leader thanked the club, the fans and his family for their support after his recent health scares.

Other awards on the night saw rookie Tom Powell named as the best first year player and blossoming midfielder Kayne Turner earning the title of best clubman for 2021.

2021 Syd Barker Medal top 10

1. Jy Simpkin - 143
2. Ben Cunnington - 117
3. Jack Ziebell - 114*
4. Aaron Hall - 114
5. Luke Davies-Uniacke - 109
6. Ben McKay - 106
7. Cam Zurhaar - 95*
8. Tarryn Thomas - 95
9. Kayne Turner - 92
10. Nick Larkey - 90

Other awards

Mazda Excellence Award: Ben Cunnington
Harold Henderson Best Clubman Award: Kayne Turner
Peter Scanlon Community Award: Chris Simmonds
Glenn Archer Shinboner of the Year Award: Jy Simpkin
Best Young Player: Tom Powell

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