Athletic big man Nic Naitanui became just the eighth player to win multiple John Worsfold Medals when consecutive triumphs were formalised at the Club Champion Awards at Crown Perth’s Grand Ballroom tonight.
He joins Guy McKenna (1989, 1999), Glen Jakovich (1993, 1994, 1995, 2000), Ben Cousins (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005), Chris Judd (2004, 2006), Darren Glass (2007, 2009, 2011), Luke Shuey (2016, 2019) and Elliot Yeo (2017, 2018) as players to have won the mantle more than once.
In doing so, he also became the first ruckman in club history to achieve the feat.
Naitanui was a strong favourite going into the event and was a decisive winner, polling 200 votes from his 22 games to win from midfielder Dom Sheed (160), wingman Andrew Gaff (149), midfielder Jack Redden (137) and forward Jack Darling (136).
Under the voting system where four members of the match committee rated each player on a scale of 0-3, for a maximum of 12 in any single game, Naitanui polled the maximum seven times and double figures on another seven occasions to underline his outstanding season.
That form was also recognised by the All-Australian selectors when Naitanui won team of the year honours for the second year in succession and the third time in his career.
Sheed recorded the highest finish in the award in his eight-season, 131-game career, racking up maximum votes in five games and 11 votes in two other games. Previously, his best finish was eighth in 2019.
The archetypal model of consistency, Andrew Gaff, earned his eighth top five finish, which included winning the John Worsfold Medal in 2015 and being runner-up to Naitanui in 2020. Gaff played one game fewer than both Sheed and Naitanui and polled 149 votes.
Redden, who shouldered much of the midfield burden with Sheed when other senior players were sidelined through injury, achieved his top four finish despite playing just 18 games while Darling’s top five finish was built around a rare patch of form between rounds five and nine when he polled heavily.
Darling also won the leading goal-kicker award for the fourth time in his career with 42 goals for the season.
Developing key defender Harry Edwards won the Emerging Talent Award – joining the likes of Chris Mainwaring, Jakovich, Glass, Judd, Cousins, Daniel Kerr, Naitanui, Jeremy McGovern and Sheed to have won the award.
Defender Liam Duggan won the coveted Chris Mainwaring Medal for best clubman while Josh Kennedy shared the Eagles in the Community Award with staff member Jessy Edmunds.
Kennedy was recognised for his commitment to assisting recovery efforts in the mid-west which was devastated by Cyclone Seroja earlier in the year.
His home town of Northampton was severely impacted by the cyclone and Kennedy helped raise significant funds and broad awareness of the severity of the plight confronting the community in the region.
|John Worsfold Medal top 10||Votes|
|Nic Naitanui (22 games)||200|
|Dom Sheed (22)||160|
|Andrew Gaff (21)||149|
|Jack Redden (18)||137|
|Jack Darling (22)||136|
|Tim Kelly (19)||129|
|Jamie Cripps (22)||128|
|Tom Barrass (16)||123|
|Tom Cole (22)||119|
|Oscar Allen (21)||113|
Chris Mainwaring Medal (Best Clubman)
Emerging Talent Award
Jack Darling (42)
WAFL Eagles Best and Fairest
Eagles in the Community Award
Josh Kennedy, Jessy Edmunds (staff)
*Life memberships were not awarded. They will be presented at the club’s 2022 season launch.