Matt Payne wins second NEAFL MVP

Aspley champion Matthew Payne has re-written the history books after claiming a second NEAFL Most Valuable Player Award by a single vote in thrilling conclusion at the Doltone House in Sydney on Sunday night.

Payne, 30, polled seven votes in the final round against Gold Coast to hold off Canberra young gun Jordan Harper in the race to the finish line.

An inaugural NEAFL MVP winner in 2014, Payne kicked off his 2016 season with a maximum-vote effort in Round 1 against Southport.

The 30-year-old was soon overtaken in Round 5 by teammate James Ives, before regaining the lead in Round 12.

But the challengers kept coming, in particular Harper who took over outright first position a week before voting became withheld from the public.

Harper, 22, led by seven votes when voting went into hiding after Round 16, but Payne polled nine in Aspley’s win over NT Thunder in Round 17 to restore the lead once more.

The pair added nine and 10 votes respectively in Round 18, and by Round 20, the margin was three votes in favour of Payne.

It came down the final round, where Harper polled nine votes after 38 disposals and two goals in Canberra’s loss to Redland.

But Payne’s seven votes, after 31 disposals and eight clearances against the Suns, was enough to get the decorated midfielder over the line.

The NEAFL MVP Award is presented to the player uniquely judged the best in the competition by a combination of umpire and coaches votes.

The votes are submitted post-game cast on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis. As such, the maximum amount of votes a single player can earn per match is 10 – courtesy of the maximum five votes from both umpires and coaches.

Former Gold Coast midfielder Andrew Boston, and last year’s winner Tom Young, finished equal third on 70 votes. NT Thunder’s Cameron Ilett (68) and Redland’s Blake Grewar (65) rounded out the Top 5.



87: Matthew Payne (Aspley)
86: Jordan Harper (Canberra)
70: Andrew Boston (Southport)
70: Tom Young (Sydney Uni)
68: Cameron Ilett (NT Thunder)
65: Blake Grewar (Redland)
60: James Ives (Aspley)
59: Matt Rawlinson (Sydney Uni)
57: Jordan Foote (Sydney)
51: Jack Steele (Giants)
51: Nic Newman (Sydney)



The coveted NEAFL Team of the Year was also awarded on the night. Minor premier Sydney was the best represented club with five players.

Sydney coach Rhyce Shaw was also named Coach of the Year, with NT Thunder midfielder Cameron Ilett named captain for the third consecutive season.

2016 NEAFL Team of the Year

B: Jackson Allen (Aspley) Matthew Sully (Southport) William Sierakowski (Sydney University)
HB: Nic Newman (Sydney) Harrison Himmelberg (Giants) Raphael Clarke (NT Thunder)
C: Brandon Jack (Sydney) Matthew Payne (Aspley) Jordan Foote (Sydney)
HF: Cameron Ilett (NT Thunder) Jacob Derickx (Sydney University) Andrew Boston (Southport)
F: James Nelis (Aspley) Darren Ewing (NT Thunder) Sam Reid (Giants)
Foll: Fraser Thurlow (Southport) Jordan Harper (Canberra) Tom Young (Sydney University)
Inter: Colin O’Riordan (Sydney) Matthew Rawlinson (Sydney University) Blake Grewar (Redland) James Ives (Aspley) Toby Nankervis (Sydney)

Coach: Rhyce Shaw (Sydney)
Captain: Cameron Ilett (NT Thunder)



Redland midfielder Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds announced himself as the brightest young talent in the competition when he beat a high-quality field to claim the 2016 NEAFL Rising Star Award.

Bertoli-Simmonds, 21, earned his nomination in the opening round when he polled maximum NEAFL MVP votes in a 10-point win over Canberra.

The son of 1987 Grogan medallist Terry Simmonds, Hayden polled the second-most MVP votes for his club this season after being elevated the Bombers leadership group for the first time.

The former Morningside junior, who won a NEAFL premiership as a 17-year-old top-up player with Brisbane in 2013, edged out the likes of former Collingwood rookie Michael Manteit and top draft prospects Jack Bowes and Bad Scheer for the award.

It is the third year in a row Redland has produced the NEAFL Rising Star winner after ruckman Paul Hunter in 2014 and defender Matt Uebergang last season.

The Rising Star is awarded to the most promising young talent in the NEAFL competition. Nominees must be under the age of 21 and played less than 20 NEAFL games (excluding games as AFL top-up players) at the start of the 2016 season.



The 2016 Mark of the Year was won by GWS Giants’ Matthew Flynn with his spectacular grab in Round 12 against Canberra in Wagga.

Redland forward Luke Rogerson claimed Goal of the Year for his left-foot snap from the boundary in wet conditions against Sydney University in Round 10 at Tidbold Park.



NT Thunder spearhead Darren Ewing took out the Leading Goalkicker Award with 63 majors in the 2016 season, finishing ahead of GWS Giants forward James Stewart on 45.

In a season where Ewing chalked up his 500th NEAFL goal in the final round, the 29-year-old has now claimed his fourth NEAFL Goalkicking Award after winning the title in 2011, 2013, and 2015.


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