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Star Swan Kennedy pips Hannebery for third best and fairest

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 01: Josh Kennedy of the Swans celebrates a goal during the 2016 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 01, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Josh Kennedy has won his third Bob Skilton Medal

STAR midfielder Josh Kennedy has backed up his outstanding Grand Final by winning his third Bob Skilton Medal as Sydney Swans club champion.

Kennedy missed just one game in 2016, was named All Australian for the third time, and won the inaugural Gary Ayres Award for the competition's player of the finals, as voted by the coaches.

The 28-year-old has finished on the podium an astonishing seven times in a row since crossing over from Hawthorn at the end of the 2010 season.

He polled a perfect 50 votes in the Grand Final to bring his total to a club record 922 votes and pip fellow onballer Dan Hannebery (913) in a thrilling finish.

"We're just really lucky to have him," coach John Longmire said.

"He's a player whose consistency since he's been at our club has been nothing short of remarkable.

"Josh never plays a bad game. His will and competitive spirit to be able to play well in the biggest games year in, year out is quite amazing – he's just simply one of the best big-game players there is."

After being elevated into the club's leadership group in the pre-season, Hannebery played all 26 games for the year, was awarded his third All Australian selection, and broke the Swans' record for disposals in a season, racking up 802 at 30.8 per game.

Key defender Heath Grundy (865), onballer Luke Parker (834) and All Australian Dane Rampe (833) rounded out the top five, while superstar forward Lance Franklin (827) finished sixth.

The Swans farewelled retiring veterans Ted Richards and Ben McGlynn, with both flourishing at the club after failing to make their marks at Essendon and Hawthorn.

Richards played 261 senior games in 15 seasons (33 in four years with Essendon), was a key player in the club's 2012 premiership win, and was named All Australian the same year.

McGlynn played 171 games over 11 seasons, (44 in four years at Hawthorn), which included two losing Grand Final appearances with the Swans, and was the heartbreak story of 2012 when he missed the club's flag with a hamstring injury.

Swans coach John Longmire said the pair were fantastic additions to the club.

"Ted absolutely epitomises what it is to get the best out of yourself," he said.

"He applied his mindset to be the best defender he could possibly be, and he turned out to be an All Australian premiership player.

"Ben is a hard-working pressure player, who has demonstrated great leadership both on and off the field.

"Both men have made a wonderful contribution to our football club and will be missed by all."

Five coaches - John Longmire, Stuart Dew, Henry Playfair, Josh Francou and Brett Kirk, awarded votes.

A player can be awarded a maximum of 50 votes per game, and coaches can allocate up to 10 points for as many or as few players as they deem appropriate, per match.

The Bob Skilton Medal top 10
1. Josh Kennedy 922
2. Dan Hannebery 913
3. Heath Grundy 865
4. Luke Parker 834
5. Dane Rampe 833
6. Lance Franklin 827
7. Jake Lloyd 684
8. Tom Mitchell 672
9. Nick Smith 622
10. Kieren Jack 601

Other awards
Paul Roos Award for Best Player in the Finals:
 Josh Kennedy and Heath Grundy
The Barry Round Best Clubman Award: Alex Johnson
The Dennis Carroll Trophy for the Most Improved: Aliir Aliir
The Rising Star Award: Callum Mills
The Paul Kelly Players Player Award: Lance Franklin