Blues champion Chris Judd has been awarded the prestigious Leigh Matthews Trophy as the Players’ MVP and has also been named 2011 Best Captain – the first time since 2003 that a player has taken home both awards.
Judd personally accepted the Leigh Matthews Trophy at the awards dinner held at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium earlier this evening.
It’s the second time Judd has won the player-voted award, presented by Open Universities Australia, but his first at Carlton having taken home the trophy during his time at the West Coast Eagles in 2006.
Judd’s dominance this year was reflected in the final voting tally. He took the Award with 1347 votes, followed by Scott Pendlebury (456 votes), and Gary Ablett Jr (389 votes).
With the MVP Awards celebrating its 29th Anniversary, Judd is the third Carlton player to receive the prestigious Leigh Matthews Trophy following Anthony Koutoufides in 2000 and Greg Williams in 1994. He is also the fifth player to win the Award for a second time joining Ablett Jr, Williams, Wayne Carey and Michael Voss
The MVP Awards are the only peer-voted accolades in the industry, recognizing versatility, the ability to play under pressure, skill, leadership, courage, respect for all players and – most importantly - overall value to a team.
AFL Players’ Association President, Luke Power, paid tribute to Chris Judd and said the Awards recognize the value players place on peer recognition.
“Players strive for the recognition of their colleagues – whether it’s from their teammates or opponents,” said Power.
“Chris Judd’s recognition tonight as a player and captain is richly deserved and I congratulate him for a stellar season.”
Judd’s second MVP adds more silverware to an already impressive array of awards, including a Premiership medallion (2006), two Brownlow medals (2004, 2010), as well as three Best & Fairest awards for Carlton and two for West Coast (2004, 2006).
The process to determine this year’s MVP began as it has in previous years, with each team voting for those three teammates that, in their view, have displayed the best overall value to their own team. In a second round of voting, all AFL players must vote in a 3, 2, 1 preference from the list of 48 nominees (three players from all clubs excluding their own) to determine the MVP.
In other award categories:
The coveted Grant Hattam Trophy for journalism was won by Sam Edmund from the Herald Sun, for his insightful coverage of issues affecting indigenous AFL players.
AFL Players’ Association CEO Matt Finnis said the spread of Award winners captured many of the great qualities of the men who play the game.
“There is a commonality flow through all of our work at the PA, including the staging of these Awards,” said Finnis.
“It’s about being united, courageous, supportive and respectful. It’s about the shared leadership of nearly 800 young men. And, it’s about celebrating the contribution of players to the game and the community.”
“I congratulate Chris, Dyson, Jonathon and Henry on winning the respect of their peers in a season which has boasted some amazing individual and team performances.”