Youngster becomes first Sun other than skipper to win best and fairest
By Michael Whiting
DAVID Swallow has won his first Gold Coast club champion award, edging out fellow vice-captains Tom Lynch and Dion Prestia in a thrilling count at the Sharks Event Centre on Friday night.
Swallow is the first man to unseat captain Gary Ablett in the Suns' four-year history.
The 22-year-old former No.1 draft pick regularly traded the lead with Ablett before the dual Brownlow medalist missed the final seven weeks following shoulder surgery.
Swallow trailed by just six votes heading into the Round 16 match against Collingwood – which would prove to be Ablett's last – and did enough to hang on for victory.
He finished with 240 votes to edge out Lynch (233) and Prestia (230).
In his most consistent season, Swallow polled in 21 of 22 matches, exceeding 25 disposals in 11 games.
His season was highlighted by a 37-disposal, two-goal performance against Adelaide in Round 11, then a 31-disposal and eight clearance display in the remarkable win over the Magpies.
Despite falling short to Swallow, Lynch's season was remarkably consistent, kicking 46 goals and taking 43 contested marks – good enough for second in the AFL.
Prestia's continued improvement didn't go unnoticed by the match committee either, with his 15 games of 25 or more disposals good enough to poll 17 more votes than he did in last year’s count – where he finished second.
In other awards, Steven May won the players' player and most improved player, Charlie Dixon won the community award and Michael Rischitelli the most professional player.
1st – David Swallow 240
2nd – Tom Lynch 233
3rd – Dion Prestia 230
4th – Gary Ablett 190
5th – Jaeger O’Meara 178
6th – Steven May 173
7th – Jarrod Harbrow 137
8th – Michael Rischitelli 120
9th – Harley Bennell 119
10th – Greg Broughton 112
The players’ player - Steven May
Most improved player - Steven May
Community award - Charlie Dixon
Most professional player - Michael Rischitelli
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