Fremantle superstar Nat Fyfe has been voted the AFLPA’s Most Valuable Player for the second year running.
Fyfe, 23, polled 1455 votes from his fellow AFL players to take out his second Leigh Matthews Trophy on Tuesday night ahead of North Melbourne’s Todd Goldstein, on 578 votes.
Adelaide’s Patrick Dangerfield and West Coast pair Matt Priddis and Josh Kennedy rounded out the top five.
“It’s such an honour to have been awarded the Leigh Matthews Trophy two years in a row,” Fyfe said from Perth, where Dockers and West Coast players gathered to watch the telecast.
“Having the respect of your peers is one of the highest accolades we can hope to achieve as players.
“I’m truly humbled.”
Western Bulldogs skipper Bob Murphy was voted the competition’s best captain, with Sydney’s Isaac Heeney the best first-year player and teammate Luke Parker taking out the most courageous player award.
Bulldogs star Jake Stringer was named captain of the best 22 under 22 team – a side of the best players aged under 22 as voted by the public.
Greater Western Sydney had the strongest representation in the all-star line-up with four players – Adam Treloar, Jeremy Cameron, Devon Smith and Dylan Shiel – making the side.
Thurston wins third straight RLPA award
Cowboys star Thurston took out the players’ player medal for the third straight year – and an unprecedented fourth time overall – at the Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) awards night.
However, the man of the night was a no-show on Tuesday evening at Doltone House in Sydney as he prepared for Saturday night’s semi-final against Cronulla in Townsville.
Thurston, who accepted the gong via video, claimed the honour was higher than the prestigious Dally M medal awarded to the best player of the year.
“In my eyes, this is the highest accolade a player can get, to be voted by your peers as the best in your game,” he said.
Thurston, who took out the RLPA honour in 2005, 2013 and 2014, edged out an impressive list of stars, including Brisbane’s Ben Hunt, South Sydney’s Greg Inglis, Wests Tiger James Tedesco and the Sydney Roosters’ Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
But the 32-year-old’s outstanding efforts with the Cowboys ensured he was voted as the game’s No.1 by his peers this season.
“I am truly humbled and blown away to receive the RLPA Players’ Player Medal for a record fourth time,” he said.
“Our game is littered with stars; we’ve got future immortals playing – Smithy (Cameron Smith), GI (Greg Inglis) – we’ve got future Origin stars in Ben Hunt and James Tedesco, who have had outstanding seasons, (and) probably one of the best Kiwi fullbacks by the time he finishes his career in Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who’s had an outstanding season,” he said.
Melbourne rookie Cameron Munster was awarded RLPA rookie of the year, while Brisbane’s Corey Parker won Australia’s representative player of the year.