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Young Swan upstages big names to claim Bob Skilton Medal

Luke Parker of the Swans in action during the AFL 2014 First Preliminary Final match between the Sydney Swans and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at ANZ Stadium, Sydney on September 19, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Luke Parker's outstanding season was recognised with the Bob Skilton Medal as the Swans' club champion
To win a club champion award at 21 years of age, after just 82 games' experience, is a great achievement
Swans coach John Longmire on Luke Parker
YOUNG Sydney Swans midfielder Luke Parker has capped off a stunning season by taking out this year's best and fairest award, ahead of Josh Kennedy and Lance Franklin.

Parker polled in all bar three games across the season to finish on 758 votes, well clear of Kennedy (709) and Franklin (688).

The award underlines again how unlucky Parker was not to join teammates Kennedy, Franklin, Nick Smith and Nick Malceski in this year's All Australian side.

Parker, who turns 22 later this month, is the youngest winner of the award since Michael O'Loughlin claimed it back in 1998, also as a 21-year-old.

Parker received the award, which is named after club legend Bob Skilton, in front of almost 1000 guests at Sydney's Star Casino.

"Luke is a wonderful competitor and to win a club champion award at 21 years of age, after just 82 games' experience, is a great achievement," Swans coach John Longmire said.

"When you look at the players behind him – Kennedy and Franklin – you quickly get an understanding of how good a season he has had and how highly we think of him as a player.

"Luke was taken as quite a late draft pick, but he really is testament to where hard work can get you, and we value that highly."

Parker was the 40th overall pick back in the 2010 NAB AFL Draft.

Kennedy continued his extraordinary level of consistency since joining the Swans from Hawthorn, finishing in the top three of the best and fairest for the fifth consecutive year.

Franklin was also rewarded for his terrific first season in Sydney, during which he took out his third Coleman Medal.

"Credit must go to Josh Kennedy," Longmire added. "Not just for his great season, but his consistency over a long period of time.

"And to Lance, who has overcome the challenge of a new club, and high expectations, to perform incredibly well in his first season with us."

Longmire and assistant coaches John Blakey, Stuart Dew, Henry Playfair and Marty Mattner voted on the award, with a player able to receive a maximum of 50 votes from any game.

Parker also picked up the Players' Player Award, while Harry Cunningham took out the Rising Star award and Ben McGlynn was named most improved player.

Franklin took out best player in the finals series honours and Jarrad McVeigh was named the best clubman.

BOB SKILTON MEDAL TOP 10
Luke Parker 758 votes
Josh Kennedy 709
Lance Franklin 688
Kieren Jack 663
Jarrad McVeigh 624
Nick Malceski 576
Ben McGlynn 575
Nick Smith 568
Dane Rampe 548
Harry Cunningham 520