Williamstown’s Michael Gibbons and Richmond’s Anthony Miles were named joint-winners of the 2018 J.J. Liston Trophy at Monday night’s VFL Best & Fairest celebration at Crown Palladium.
The prolific midfielders tied on 19 votes – the highest winning total in four years – ahead of Werribee key defender Sam Collins and Collingwood on-baller and 2014 Liston Trophy winner Alex Woodward on 16 votes apiece. Footscray ball-winner Will Hayes finished in fifth position two votes further back on 14.
23-year-old Gibbons this year continued the form that saw him claim the 2016 Liston Trophy and finish second in last year’s count. He ranked first in the VFL for total disposals (averaging 28 per game), clearances (seven) and inside-50s (6.5) as well as recording team-highs in contested possessions (12) and tackles (six) across all 18 matches.
In his fifth season with the Seagulls out of the Murray Bushrangers (TAC Cup), Gibbons shared the honour with another former Bushrangers player in Miles.
The 26-year-old Tigers AFL-lister was dominant for the VFL minor premiers this season, recording team-highs in total disposals (averaging 30 per game), contested possessions (14), clearances (7.5) and inside-50s (5.5) as well as kicking 14 goals across his 14 VFL matches. He follows in the footsteps of fellow Richmond hard-nut Jacob Townsend, who won the club’s first Liston Trophy last year ahead of Miles in fifth spot.
Meanwhile, Gibbons becomes Williamstown’s 11th individual Liston Trophy winner – and first dual winner.
He had to track down Miles in voting after his rival polled 16 votes in Richmond’s first eight games to take an eight-vote lead over Hayes following Round 9. Gibbons was on three votes at that stage but polled 10 votes in his next five matches to draw within three votes of Miles following Round 15.
Miles then earned his final three votes in Round 16, forcing Gibbons to poll six votes across Rounds 18-20 to draw level at the top of the leaderboard. Neither player received votes in the final round, despite Miles recording 31 disposals and two goals in a win against Frankston and Gibbons having 32 and kicking two majors in a victory over the Casey Demons.
Miles was adjudged best-on-ground in six games and polled one vote in another match, while Gibbons produced five three-vote performances as well as one two-vote effort and two one-vote efforts.
Collins stormed home in the count with 13 votes in Werribee’s last eight games and Woodward remarkably polled his 16 votes in just seven matches after returning from a fourth knee reconstruction in Round 13.
OTHER WINNERS ON THE NIGHT:
FOTHERGILL-ROUND-MITCHELL MEDAL (VFL Rising Star): Josh Corbett (Werribee)
‘FROSTY’ MILLER MEDAL (VFL leading goalkicker): Nick Larkey (North Melbourne) – 41 goals
Kevin Breen (Club President – Coburg)
Tristan Burgess (Field Umpire)
Janet Dooley (Club Volunteer – Williamstown)
Lachie George (Player – currently Williamstown FC, formerly North Ballarat, Box Hill Hawks, Tasmania)
Dean Jones (Goal Umpire)
Tony Pinwill (Club President – Box Hill Hawks)
ALEC GILLON AWARD: Graham Crocker (Williamstown)
CLICK HERE for full votes
CLICK HERE for Team of the Year
CLICK HERE for a full replay of the night
2018 J.J. LISTON TROPHY LEADERBOARD
|Andrew Moore||Box Hill Hawks||13|
|Cameron Pedersen||Casey Demons||11|
|Nick Rippon||North Melbourne||10|
|Tom Wilson||Northern Blues||10|
|Tom Bugg||Casey Demons||10|