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Kelly caps stellar year with Giants B&F

Josh Kelly has claimed his maiden Kevin Sheedy Medal as GWS's club champion - AFL,GWS Giants,Josh Kelly
Josh Kelly has claimed his maiden Kevin Sheedy Medal as GWS's club champion

JOSH Kelly has added another award to his list of 2017 accolades after winning the Kevin Sheedy Medal as Greater Western Sydney's club champion on Friday night.

Kelly put a season of contract speculation behind him to elevate himself to elite status in the competition this year, and was named All Australian for the first time, shortly before he turned his back on a host of massive offers to sign a new two-year deal with the Giants. 

The 22-year-old polled a record 198 votes to take home his first best and fairest ahead of co-captains Callan Ward (172) and Phil Davis (153), and all but sealed the win when he snared a maximum 16 votes in round 22 after setting a new club best of 43 possessions against West Coast.

Kelly's fellow All Australian Dylan Shiel (152 votes) finished fourth, with last year's runner-up Tom Scully (137 votes) in fifth.

The Giants' latest club champion told AFL.com.au that accepting the award from Sheedy alongside the rest of the top five placegetters was a surreal feeling.

"I feel extremely humbled, not only standing up in front of those blokes on stage, but with some of the calibre of guys we have in our team," he said. 

"I'd be lying if I said there weren't stages during the year when things got a bit overwhelming with all the speculation going on about next year.

"But the club were great in letting me go about my footy, and once it got to the weekend I just went out and played footy, so that was my release."

In his fourth year in the League, Kelly broke the club record for disposals (708 at an average of 29.5 per game) and tackles (156 at 6.5 per game), and fell just one short of equalling Toby Greene's record for most inside 50s in a single season (122).

GWS coach Leon Cameron said Kelly's year was outstanding given the pressure he was under due to his ongoing contract saga.  

"Josh should be immensely proud of the season he has put together and this honour is well-deserved," he said.

"There's no doubt Josh took his game to a new level this year playing a variety of roles and playing with a high level of consistency.

"He was part of our leadership group for the first time this year and everyone at the Giants admires his dedication to the club and playing group.

"I congratulate Josh on everything he's achieved this season and look forward to him continue to grow in the coming years."

Kelly also took out the Members and Fans Most Valuable Player award.  

2017 Kevin Sheedy Medal Top 10

1. Josh Kelly (198 votes)
2. Callan Ward (172 votes)
3. Phil Davis (153 votes)
4. Dylan Shiel (152 votes)
5. Tom Scully (137 votes)
6. Zac Williams (134 votes)
7. Jeremy Cameron (131 votes)
8. Toby Greene (130 votes)
9. Heath Shaw (114 votes)
10. Lachie Whitfield (112 votes) 

Other award winners

Rising Star Award: Tim Taranto
Standards Defensive Award: Shane Mumford
NEAFL Development Award: Isaac Cumming
Mark of the Year: Toby Greene (Round one v Adelaide)
Goal of the Year: Stephen Coniglio (Round 20 v Melbourne)
Leading Goalkickers: Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene, Jonathon Patton (45 goals)
Coaches Award: Dawson Simpson
GWS Academy Player of the Year: Nick Shipley
Community Award: Tom Downie 

Former winners of the Kevin Sheedy Medal

2016 - Toby Greene
2015 - Heath Shaw
2014 - Shane Mumford
2013 - Jeremy Cameron
2012 - Callan Ward 

* The Kevin Sheedy Medal is voted on by senior coach Leon Cameron, and his assistants Amon Buchanan, Lenny Hayes and Mark McVeigh. Up to four votes can be awarded to a player by each coach every round, meaning each player is able to receive a maximum of 16 votes per round.