Three former Rams in top five at JJ Liston Trophy
Three former AFL NSW/ACT Rams have polled in the top five of the 2017 JJ Liston Trophy, the Victorian Football League’s highest honour, with Leeton’s Jacob Townsend claiming the coveted award.
Coolamon’s Michael Gibbons placed second after a standout year with Williamstown in the VFL competition, and to round out a big night for the former AFL NSW/ACT Rams, Albury’s Anthony Miles polled fifth following a big year alongside Townsend at Richmond.
Jacob Townsend’s breakout month just got even better, claiming the 2017 JJ Liston trophy for the VFL’s best and fairest player on Monday night.
Townsend, a GWS Giants original that was traded from to the Tigers for Pick 70 in 2015, polled 18 votes from 15 games to finish two votes clear of Williamstown’s Michael Gibbons, who won the medal in 2016.
Fellow Seagull Adam Marcon and Werribee on-baller Matt Hanson finished equal-third with 14 votes, while Tiger Anthony Miles polled 13 votes to come fifth.
Townsend booted 14 goals and averaged 21 disposals and six tackles across his VFL season, playing a key role in the Tigers’ outstanding campaign.
However Townsend didn’t poll a vote in the final few rounds of the year after being called up to the club’s AFL side — and cementing his spot.
The 24-year-old polled three votes on three occasions, two votes on four occasions and one vote once.
Since returning to the senior line-up, Townsend has booted 13 goals from three games, including two in the Tigers’ impressive qualifying final win over Geelong.
In other awards, Casey forward Bayley Fritsch was named the Fothergill-Round medallist as the league’s most promising young talent aged 23 or younger that has the potential to take his game to the AFL.
Fritsch, who booted 42 goals from 19 games this season to earn an invite to the Victorian state combine, joins an impressive list of players to win the award, including Luke Ryan, Nic Newman, Kane Lambert, Dean Towers, Michael Hibberd and Michael Barlow.
Darebin and Western Bulldogs star Karie Brennan won VFL Women’s best and fairest while Chloe Molloy was named the league’s rising star.
JJ LISTON TROPHY LEADERBOARD
1. Jacob Townsend (Richmond) — 18 votes
2. Michael Gibbons (Williamstown) — 16
3. Adam Marcon (Williamstown) and Matt Hanson (Werribee) — 14
5. Anthony Miles (Richmond) — 13
6. Willie Wheeler (Williamstown) — 12
7. Andrew Moore (Box Hill Hawks), Eli Templeton (Port Melbourne), Lukas Webb (Footscray) and Toby Pinwill (Port Melbourne) — 11