Main content

Gaff caps stellar season with best and fairest

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 11: Andrew Gaff of the Eagles looks to pass the ball during the 2015 AFL Second Qualifying Final match between the West Coast Eagles and the Hawthorn Hawks at Domain Stadium, Perth, Australia on September 11, 2015. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Media)
Andrew Gaff was named the top Eagle on Friday night

WEST Coast midfielder Andrew Gaff has claimed his first best and fairest award, pipping last year's Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis for the 2015 John Worsfold medal.

The club's three All Australians, Gaff, Priddis and Josh Kennedy finished first, second and third respectively.

Gaff polled 210 votes to win by just four votes from Priddis, who finished runner-up for the fourth time in his career and second year running.

It was a fascinating count held at Crown Perth on Friday night. Under the voting system, five members of the match committee give the players a score out of three, meaning a player can poll between zero and a maximum of 15 votes in any given game.

Priddis missed the qualifying final against Hawthorn but Gaff did not poll a single vote against North Melbourne in the preliminary final after Sam Gibson held him to 20 touches, his lowest possession game in an otherwise outstanding season.

That meant Priddis had a two-vote lead going into the Grand Final against Hawthorn. But Gaff polled 10 votes and Priddis polled just four.

Gaff said he felt privileged and honoured to win the medal but he said getting over the line courtesy of a good performance in the Grand Final did not count for much given how poorly the team played.

"It's something you play for, to play well in the big games but it doesn't mean too much really," Gaff said.

"Being the best player in the Grand Final when we got flogged doesn't mean too much. We want to get back to that spot next year and hopefully make a better fist of it."

It caps off a stellar season for Gaff in which he averaged 29 disposals and was named All Australian for the first time. But he said he still had a lot of improving to do as a player.

"I'm not satisfied, I'm never satisfied," Gaff said.

"I'm someone that has pretty high expectations on myself. So it's not going to stop there. There's so much improvement for me and everyone on the list."

Gaff said the review of the Grand Final last Wednesday was brutal and he said the result would sting throughout the summer. He is heading back to Melbourne on Sunday before going on holidays in Queensland.

He also paid tribute to Scott Selwood, who announced on Friday that he wanted to head home to Geelong. 

Eagles coach Adam Simpson gave Selwood his blessing to head home during his speech, although he said he did so with a heavy heart. 

Other award winners including Mitch Brown (Eagles in the community award), Josh Kennedy (best clubman and leading goalkicker) and Brad Sheppard (player of the finals) also paid tribute to Selwood during the night.  

Don Pyke was also thanked for his service to the club as an assistant coach after he was announced on Friday as the new head coach of Adelaide.

John Worsfold Medal top 10
1. Andrew Gaff - 210
2. Matt Priddis - 206
3. Josh Kennedy - 183
4. Luke Shuey - 174
5. Mark LeCras - 163
6. Brad Sheppard - 161
7. Jamie Cripps - 158
8. Nic Naitanui - 156
9. Sharrod Wellingham - 133
10. Elliot Yeo - 129