Sydney University midfielder Tom Young has capped off a fairytale return to his former club by taking out the NEAFL MVP Award by a single vote in a thrilling finish at the Sofitel Hotel in Brisbane on Sunday.
Young, 23, polled eight votes in the final round to eclipse NT Thunder star Richard Tambling after collecting 31 disposals, 12 clearances and a goal in the Students’ upset win over minor premier UWS Giants.
The former Collingwood and Western Bulldogs utility, originally from Campbelltown, returned to Sydney University this season after five years at AFL level.
The club’s first ever draftee has been crucial to the Students’ rise up the ladder, averaging 26 disposals and six clearances per game.
He began to find his feet with the maximum 10 votes in a Round 8 thumping of Southport at Henson Park, and stormed into MVP contention with 31 votes in Rounds 10-14 following his NEAFL representative appearance against Tasmania in June.
Young hit the lead for the first time in Round 15 and polled a further 20 votes between Rounds 17-19, but failed to attract a vote in Round 20 as Tambling took over top spot by seven votes.
With NT Thunder having the bye in the final round, Young guided the Students to an impressive 33-point win over the Giants to claim the NEAFL MVP Award by one vote.
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.
Last year’s inaugural winner, Aspley’s Matt Payne (70 votes), finished in third with NT Thunder midfielder Cameron Ilett (65) and Brisbane’s Zac O’Brien (55) rounding out the top five.
NEAFL MVP AWARD TOP 10 LEADERBOARD
86: Tom Young (Sydney University)
85: Richard Tambling (NT Thunder)
70: Matt Payne (Aspley Hornets)
65: Cameron Ilett (NT Thunder)
55: Zac O’Brien (Brisbane Lions)
54: Josh Smith (Redland Bombers)
48: Josh Hunt (Southport)
47: Matt Rawlinson (Sydney University)
44: Lewis Stevenson (Sydney University)
44: Gavin Grose (Aspley)
Recap all the award winners and votes here.
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