Werribee midfielder Tom Gribble streeted the field to claim the 2019 J.J. Liston Trophy by eight votes at Monday night’s VFL Best & Fairest celebration at Crown Palladium.
The prolific 24-year-old polled in 13 of his 18 Hard Yakka / Totally Workwear VFL home-and-away games to finish the count on 25 votes – the highest winning tally for the competition’s best-and-fairest award since Shane Valenti polled the same number for Port Melbourne in 2011.
Only two players have polled more votes to win the Liston Trophy in the last 39 years – Sam Mitchell (Box Hill Hawks) with 31 votes in 2002 and Michael Frost (Werribee) with 32 in 1998.
Gribble finished the count well clear of Footscray’s AFL-listed on-baller Rhylee West (17 votes), with North Melbourne AFL-listed ruck Tom Campbell placing third (15) and Werribee’s Michael Barlow, Port Melbourne’s Shannen Lange and Box Hill’s Marc Pittonet (14 apiece) tying for fourth place.
In his fifth season at Avalon Airport Oval following one year with Geelong’s VFL team and time in the Geelong Falcons under-18 program, Gribble averaged 30 disposals, 15 contested possessions, seven clearances, five tackles and five inside-50s per game as well as kicking nine goals for the fifth-placed Tigers.
He jointly led the VFL for total disposals (alongside Coburg’s Marcus Lentini) and led the competition outright for inside-50s, also ranking in the top five players for contested and uncontested possessions, clearances, goal assists and score assists.
Gribble polled three votes on four occasions, two votes another four times and one vote in five matches. He was adjudged best-on-ground by the umpires in Werribee’s wins against Frankston in Round 8 and Coburg in Round 18 as well as in losses to Port Melbourne in Round 6 and Collingwood in Round 14.
The VFL 92-gamer hasn’t missed a match for the Tigers across the last three seasons and becomes the club’s sixth Liston Trophy winner since it joined the competition in 1965, following in the footsteps of Ben Ross (2012), James Podsiadly (2008), Michael Frost (1998), Paul Satterley (1995) and Anthony Eames (1991).
Gribble had at least a share of the honour secured following Round 18, when he was eight votes clear of Richmond’s Patrick Naish and Collingwood’s Alex Woodward (on 13 votes each) and with only West and Essendon’s David Myers (12 apiece at that point) able to poll the full nine votes across the final three home-and-away rounds to tie up proceedings.
As it was, Gribble polled two votes in each of Werribee’s last two games to cap a remarkably consistent season and storm to an authoritative Liston Trophy winning margin.
OTHER VFL HONOURS
FOTHERGILL-ROUND-MITCHELL MEDAL (VFL Rising Star): Jake Riccardi (Werribee)
‘FROSTY’ MILLER MEDAL (VFL leading goalkicker): Jordan Lisle (Port Melbourne) – 40 goals
VFL TEAM OF THE YEAR: CLICK HERE to see team
VFL LIFE MEMBERSHIP:
ALEC GILLON AWARD (club volunteer): Bruce Bowles (Sandringham)
2019 J.J. LISTON TROPHY LEADERBOARD – CLICK HERE for the full list of votes
|Tom Campbell||North Melbourne||15|
|Shannen Lange||Port Melbourne||14|
|Marc Pittonet||Box Hill Hawks||14|
|Braydon Preuss||Casey Demons||12|
|Eli Templeton||Port Melbourne||12|
|Sam Fisher||Northern Blues||10|