Jacob Townsend was named Richmond’s first J.J. Liston Trophy winner since the Tigers joined the Peter Jackson VFL as a standalone club in 2014 at Monday’s VFL Best & Fairest Night at Crown Palladium.
The tough 24-year-old forward/midfielder polled 18 votes in 15 VFL games before being called into Richmond’s AFL team in Round 22, where he has kicked 13 goals in three matches for the preliminary finalists.
- CLICK HERE for a full replay of the night
Despite not polling in the last four rounds due to the VFL Tigers having a bye in Round 16 and earning AFL berths during VFL Rounds 18 and 19, Townsend finished two votes clear of Williamstown midfielder and 2016 J.J. Liston Trophy winner Michael Gibbons (16 votes) to be named the competition’s best and fairest player for the 2017 home-and-away season.
Gibbons’ Seagulls midfield teammate Adam Marcon finished equal-third on 14 votes alongside Werribee on-baller Matt Hanson, while Townsend’s fellow AFL-listed Tiger Anthony Miles rounded out the top five on the leaderboard with 13 votes.
Townsend first took the outright lead in the count after Round 2 with a two-vote and then three-vote performance in Richmond’s first two games. He relinquished the lead before winning it back for good following a two-vote effort in Round 10, when he took over from fellow joint-leaders Marcon and Footscray’s Mitch Honeychurch. Gibbons was six votes behind the leader’s tally of 11 at that stage and was unable to make up the deficit, with Townsend’s early form seeing him guaranteed the honour after Round 18 – the penultimate week of the season.
187cm Townsend averaged 21 disposals at 69 per cent efficiency, 11 contested possessions, six tackles, five clearances and four inside-50s per game as well as kicking 14 goals and recording 18 score assists in the VFL in 2017. He polled three votes on three occasions, two votes on four occasions and one vote once, with his best-on-ground performances including:
- 19 disposals, seven tackles and six clearances in a 25-point win against Sandringham at Trevor Barker Beach Oval in Round 2;
- 22 disposals, six tackles, six clearances and five inside-50s in a 49-point win against Geelong at Punt Road Oval in Round 9; and
- 30 disposals, 14 tackles, 13 clearances and one goal in a 28-point win against the Casey Demons in Beaconsfield in Round 12.
Townsend played his junior football in Leeton, NSW before being a zone selection by GWS and playing 28 AFL matches for the Giants from 2012-15. He was traded to Richmond ahead of the 2016 season, playing four AFL games and 15 VFL games for the Tigers last year.
J.J. LISTON TROPHY LEADERBOARD
|ANDREW MOORE||BOX HILL HAWKS||11|
|ELI TEMPLETON||PORT MELBOURNE||11|
|TOBY PINWILL||PORT MELBOURNE||11|
* Full voting will be available on vfl.com.au Tuesday
OTHER WINNERS ON THE NIGHT INCLUDED:
Fothergill-Round Medal (best young VFL player): Bayley Fritsch – Casey Demons
‘Frosty’ Miller Medal (leading goalkicker): Jordan Lisle – Port Melbourne
Life membership: Gary Ayres – Port Melbourne (Coach 175 games), Chris Cain – Port Melbourne (Player 175 games), Steve Clifton – North Ballarat (Dual Liston winner), Andrew Collins – Williamstown (Coach 175 games), Peter German – Coburg (Coach 175 games), Barry Josephs – Tribunal (Volunteer), David Lyons – Werribee FC (nomination), Eddie Power – Tribunal (Volunteer)
Alec Gillon Award (Club volunteer): Lindsay Wilson – Box Hill Hawks
Team of the Year: CLICK HERE