Josh Kennedy, the inaugural winner of the AFLCA Gary Ayres Award

Brilliant Swans midfielder Josh Kennedy, who went beast mode in the grand final and almost dragged the Swans over the line, is the inaugural winner of the AFLCA Gary Ayres Award for the best player of the finals.

While most of the team struggled against GWS, he was one of the few shining lights, even after having his head practically knocked off his shoulders by Stevie Dog. He returned to his best against the Crows, was among the best against Geelong and was the best Swan on ground against the Dogs. He would have won the Norm Smith medal had the Swans won the game, but finished top 3 in the votes.

In the end, he finished with 18 votes, 1 ahead of Johannisen on 17 from the Dogs, the eventual Norm Smith medalist. Heeney wasn’t far behind on 15 votes after his starring role against Geelong and Adelaide.

AFLCA CEO Mark Brayshaw says Kennedy’s consistency across the four games meant he was a deserving winner.

“Josh’s performance in the Grand Final was wonderful, but he’s the inaugural winner of our Gary Ayres Award because he polled votes in three of the Swans’ four finals,” Brayshaw said.

“He’s had a mighty September of football and is a deserved winner.”

Good luck to the man and here’s to hoping for an even bigger and better 2017.

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