RICHMOND'S SHAI Bolton has taken out the 2021 Four’N Twenty Mark of the Year, while Fremantle’s Caleb Serong has been awarded the 2021 rebel Goal of the Year.
Bolton leapt high and sprung off Geelong tall defender Mark Blicavs’ shoulders to soar even higher, then gracefully landed on his feet to claim one of the most acrobatic marks in recent years.
But the Richmond midfielder’s sensational goalsquare grab was overlooked for the round eight nomination when the majority of fans’ votes went to Collingwood’s Brody Mihocek.
Bolton’s high-flying effort was one of five marks added to the 23 contenders from the weekly nominations, in a process that was overhauled after Joe Daniher was a surprise winner ahead of Jeremy Howe in 2017.
The AFL's All-Australian selection committee chose Bolton's mark as the season's best from the three finalists.
Jumping Jack Riewoldt was runner-up to his Tigers teammate for a courageous spinning grab, along with Hawthorn’s Tim O’Brien who went horizontal over a pack of Giants.
“I guess it was a good mark,” Bolton said humbly before outing Liam Baker as his preferred stepladder at training.
Bolton also had some sympathetic words for Riewoldt, “Maybe next time,” he said with a laugh.
Serong was awarded the 2021 rebel Goal of the Year for his spectacular one-step checkside against West Coast.
The young star kicked what turned out to be the sealer as the Dockers beat their crosstown rivals for the first time in 12 clashes going back to 2015 in round 22.
Serong gathered a loose ball deep in the forward pocket, was brought to ground by the Eagles' Dom Sheed and slid across the turf until he bounced back up and quickly threw the ball onto the outside of his right boot.
"He got down, he got up again. You've got every right to be amazed. Serong, so right," commentator Anthony Hudson said at the time.
"I don't think there was much going through my head when I was in that situation... I just whacked it on my boot," Serong said after receiving the award at the Brownlow Medal count on Sunday night.
Dockers captain Nat Fyfe presented the award and asked his young teammate what he might add to his honours next.
“Hopefully a flag next year for the Dockers," Serong said.
The rebel Goal of the Year is Serong's third major award in his two-year career, after taking out the 2020 NAB AFL Rising Star and 2021 AFL Coaches Association Best Young Player awards.
Melbourne goalsneak Kysaiah Pickett's dancing feet and Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli's stunning snap produced the other finalists for the rebel Goal of the Year award.