EMERGING Greater Western Sydney star Tim Taranto has capped his breakthrough season by winning the Kevin Sheedy Medal on Friday night.
In a thrilling count that came down to the last game of the year - the Giants' disappointing Grand Final loss to Richmond - just four votes separated the top three players at the end of the night.
In just his third season in the AFL, Taranto (222 votes) pipped Coleman medallist Jeremy Cameron (220), with fellow young midfielder Jacob Hopper (218) third.
Gun defenders Nick Haynes (206) and Zac Williams (203) made up the rest of the top five.
Cameron topped the leaderboard going into the season decider, but he failed to poll a vote, and Taranto's 30 possessions, seven tackles and five clearances were enough to see him leapfrog the star forward.
Taranto's first club champion award means the Giants have had eight separate Kevin Sheedy medalists.
The young midfielder also won the GWS defensive standards award.
Plenty was expected of Taranto – and Hopper - heading into the season after the loss of Dylan Shiel and Tom Scully last year, and even more responsibility fell on his shoulders when co-captain Callan Ward went down with an ACL tear in round four.
Injuries also saw Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly, Lachie Whitfield and Matt de Boer spend extended time on the sidelines.
The 21-year-old former No.2 draft pick well and truly stepped up his influence, averaging career-highs in possessions (27.7), Tackles (6.3), clearances (5.3) and inside 50s (4.1).
Taranto broke the club record for disposals in a season (721), ranking fourth in the League, and tackles (164), which placed him second in the competition.
Coach Leon Cameron was full of praise for Taranto's season.
"This is a wonderful effort by Tim and a much-deserved reward for an outstanding season," Cameron said.
"His commitment and dedication on the training track and desire to improve himself is almost second to none and he’s been an important part of our football club since he walked in the doors three years ago.
"Tim was thrown a huge challenge this year - alongside Jacob Hopper – to virtually lead the midfield for much of the season and neither of them disappointed.
"To see a player in just his third year take his game to such a level is exciting to watch as a coach and we’re looking forward to his continued development over the coming years."
Taranto polled in all but four games for the season, and the fact he didn't miss any of the Giants' 26 matches this year got him over the line.
Star forward Cameron was inducted as only the club's second playing Life Member after reaching the 150-game milestone in 2019, and he also took home his eighth straight leading goalkicker award for his 76-goal season.
The Kevin Sheedy Medal is voted on by senior coach Leon Cameron as well as senior assistant Matthew Nicks, and assistant coaches Mark McVeigh, Brad Miller and Lenny Hayes. Up to four votes can be awarded to a player by each coach, every round, with each player able to receive a maximum of 20 votes per round.
2019 Kevin Sheedy Medal Top 10
1. Tim Taranto (222 votes)
2. Jeremy Cameron (220)
3. Jacob Hopper (218)
4. Nick Haynes (206)
5. Zac Williams (203)
6. Matt de Boer (192)
7. Lachie Whitfield (183)
8. Toby Greene (180)
9. Phil Davis (167)
10. Jeremy Finlayson (164)
Other award winners
Giants Foundation Award presented by GIANTS Care: Stephen Coniglio
Rising Star Award: Brent Daniels
Academy Player of the Year: Tom Green
GIANTS Standards Defensive Award: Tim Taranto
NEAFL Development Award: Connor Idun
Members and Fans MVP presented by Groupon: Nick Haynes
Virgin Australia Mark of the Year: Harry Himmelberg, Round 4 v Geelong
Toyo Tires Goal of the Year: Jeremy Finlayson, Round 3 v Richmond
Coaches Award: Matt de Boer