Gaff confirms elite status
West Coast Eagles midfielder Andrew Gaff confirmed his rise to elite status when he tonight won the John Worsfold Medal.
Gaff, who was named an all-Australian for the first time this season, polled 210 votes to win from Brownlow Medal runner-up Matt Priddis, who polled 206 votes. The ultra-consistent Priddis, who won the inaugural Worsfold Medal in 2013, has now been runner-up four times.
Coleman Medal winner Josh Kennedy was in third position on 183 votes.
At a glittering ceremony at the Crown Convention Centre, Gaff was the toast of more than 1000 people as he collected the award as the club’s fairest and best player.
Under the voting system the five members of the match committee vote independently on the performance of each player, with a maximum of 15 votes available to an individual in any one game.
Gaff, who has featured in the top 10 in the award in the last three years, has taken his game to another level under the tutelage of Adam Simpson and his coaching team.
Working closely with midfield coach Brady Rawlings and stoppage and structures coach Don Pyke, he blossomed last year when he finished fourth in the Club Champion Award and developed even further in 2015.
He averaged a tick under 30 disposals this year and played in all 25 games, to take his consecutive games tally to 104.
Priddis, who last year was runner-up to Eric Mackenzie, missed one game – the qualifying final against Hawthorn.
Not surprisingly, Kennedy won the leading goal-kicker award with 80 goals – 75 of them in the qualifying rounds – but also won the coveted Chris Mainwaring Award as best clubman. He and Gaff both received hand-crafted medals created by Rosendorff Jewellers.
The rookie of the year award, for a first or second year player, was won by developing midfielder Dom Sheed while the player of the finals, also determined by the match committee, was won by defender Brad Sheppard.
That award was a reflection of Sheppard’s progress in 2015 where he was often required to play on opponent’s bigger and stronger because of injuries to several key defenders. Sheppard also finished sixth in Club Champion voting.
Midfielder Luke Shuey was rewarded for a stellar season by finishing fourth, just ahead of forward Mark LeCras, who earned life membership after playing his 150th game in round 22 against Adelaide.
Life membership was also bestowed upon former chairman Mark Barnaba, former director Chris Cronin and long-serving Melbourne-based administrator Stephen Nash.
News Source: West Coast Eagles