Bob Skilton Medal Preview

The clubs best & fairest award, the Bob Skilton Medal, will be held tonight, set to be one of the closest races in recent history. Lance Franklin, Luke Parker, Daniel Hannebery and Josh Kennedy are all expected to feature strongly after they all made the All Australian team, with Heath Grundy and Dane Rampe expected to poll well.

The Swans have a nice write up about the vote, which you can find here. Either way, whoever wins will definitely deserve it after another minor premiership, grand final, and overall, an excellent season. It will also be the final time that Ted Richards and most likely Ben McGlynn will be at official club functions in player capacities, as Richards has already retired and McGlynn will most likely retire. With Tom Mitchell’s future unclear, it could also be the last time that we see him at an official club function. He’s had another excellent season and will poll well and should finish top 10.

A number of younger and first season players had standout seasons and should poll well in the count. Players like Aliir Aliir hit the ground running and became an integral part of our backline, Tom Papley an important small forward capable of kicking multiple goals, and Gary Rohan’s explosive pace reestablishing himself as a forward.

Josh Kennedy
Super consistent year, still one of the best clearance players and finals MVP. He was enormous in the grand final and almost dragged the team over the line, with another 30+ possession game and 3 goals.

Luke Parker
Had a ridiculous start to the season where he was close to, or was best on ground in the opening 6 games of the season. Suffering knee tendonitis among other niggling injuries, his output slowed down for much of the mid-season, then picked back up once he had recovered from his injuries.

Daniel Hannebery
Another very good season and rewarded with another All Australian selection. His ball use in the early part was exceptional and his work rate 2nd to none. He fell away after the bye and took a while to pick back up, but was always among the top 5 or 6 players for Sydney every week

Nick Smith
Just missed out on another All Australian selection, very stiff to miss out on the 40 squad. Another great year shutting down the small forwards, and doing his best on the most dangerous. He kept Eddie Betts out of both Adelaide games for the most part, and keeping Rolls Rioli to near donuts in both Hawthorn games. His finals series was great again and one of our best performers.

Heath Grundy
With Richards out of the side, Heath stepped up to the plate and lead the defence with aplomb. His body work was the best in the league, his intercept marking near elite and his disposal markedly improved from seasons past. He was very stiff to miss out on All Australian, but they sure do love Rance, even when his team is absolute garbage. Was our 2nd best player in the grand final and had a fantastic finals series.

Dane Rampe
Had a great season playing on smalls and bigs, even when he gives away a lot, to players like Cameron and Walker. He earned his first All Australian selection as the CHB, for a player of just 189cm. Suspect in the first final, he returned to form, with a missing persons report put out at the SCG for Tex Walker and running wild at the MCG against Geelong.

Tom Mitchell
The will he or won’t he saga continues, but even with all that background noise, he still performed well throughout the season. Regarded as more an in-and-under type player, his transition to an outside midfielder was smooth and rewarding. He performed well throughout the season, racked up good numbers and found the goals a few times. He was among our best players in the grand final and should poll well.

Lance Franklin
Another fantastic year from our enigmatic forward, returning from health issues in the off-season to lead the team to another strong finish. His goal kicking was the best that we’ve seen (that 70m bomb at the MCG comes to mind) and his field kicking was phenomenal. He performed well for most of the season with exception to a down patch after the bye. He should poll well and should be among the top 3 or 4 players.

My top 10:

  1. Josh Kennedy
  2. Luke Parker
  3. Daniel Hannebery
  4. Dane Rampe
  5. Lance Franklin
  6. Tom Mitchell
  7. Heath Grundy
  8. Nick Smith
  9. Kieren Jack
  10. Callum Mills

I think that Kennedy’s end of season and finals form will be enough to win the medal over Luke Parker and Daniel Hannebery, who were both outstanding for most of the season. I think that 4th and 5th are potentially coin tosses, and 6th through to 10th separated by less than 40 votes.

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