The AFL held their annual awards night on Wednesday, with stars from multiple clubs taking home some of the league’s most coveted honours.
The showpiece event on the program was the announcement of the All-Australian team, with Geelong Cats spearhead Tom Hawkins named captain.
It is Hawkins’ fifth All-Australian blazer and the first time he has been named captain of the side. Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps was named his deputy as vice-captain.
12 players were selected in the team of the year for the first time, with Tyson Stengle the story of the night. The Geelong small forward has booted 46 goals this season after making his return to the AFL following being traded by Richmond to Adelaide, before being delisted by the Crows for off-field indiscretions.
The 23-year-old has relished his chance at a third club and joins the All-Australian team alongside Hawkins, as well as Jeremy Cameron, Tom Stewart and Mark Blicavs, who also made the side for the first time.
Much like the Cats, Melbourne dominated selection with Max Gawn picked in the side for the sixth time in seven years, while Steven May, Clayton Oliver, and Christian Petracca also earnt their place in the team.
The much-debated team was revealed after a 44-man squad was announced on Monday night, with many deserving players unlucky to miss selection.
Hawthorn’s James Sicily was perhaps the most obvious non-selection after he was rated the number one key defender in the league this season. Collingwood young-gun Nick Daicos’ omission from not only the team, but the initial squad also raised eyebrows, after he averaged 26 disposals in his debut year.
However, Daicos still had a very successful Wednesday night, taking home the NAB AFL Rising Star award, as well as the AFLPA Best First Year award.
The Magpie rookie was tipped as the favourite from both awards from the outset of the 2022 season, and didn’t disappoint as he has helped guide Collingwood to a top four birth.
He was the unanimous choice for the rising star, with Geelong defender Sam De Koning coming runner-up, while Hawthorn’s Jai Newcombe rounded out the top three.
One of the league’s most coveted awards, the AFL Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year, ended in a tie, with Gold Coast midfielder Touk Miller and Melbourne’s Oliver sharing the spoils.
Oliver claimed the award for the second year in a row, while Miller topped off his stellar season with selection on the wing in All-Australian side as well.
Fremantle star Andrew Brayshaw took home the AFL Players Association MVP award, with the 22-year-old tipped as one of the favourites for this year’s Brownlow medal. He also became an All-Australian for the first time on Wednesday, named on the bench alongside Blicavs, Port Adelaide’s Connor Rozee and Sydney superstar Isaac Heeney.
Other honours for the night went to Collingwood veteran Scott Pendlebury for best captain, Richmond tough-nut Liam Baker for most courageous and Carlton forward Charlie Curnow who claimed the Coleman Medal with 64 goals.
AFL ALL-AUSTRALIAN 2022 TEAM:
B: Tom Stewart (Geelong Cats, 1st time), Steven May (Melbourne, 2nd time), Brayden Maynard (Collingwood, 1st time)
HB: Jack Sinclair (St Kilda, 1st time), Sam Taylor (GWS Giants, 1st time), Adam Saad (Carlton, 1st time)
C: Touk Miller (Gold Coast Suns, 2nd time), Clayton Oliver (Melbourne, 3rd time), Callum Mills (Sydney Swans, 1st time)
HF: Christian Petracca (Melbourne, 3rd time), Jeremy Cameron (Geelong Cats, 3rd time), Shai Bolton (Richmond, 1st time)
F: Charlie Curnow (Carlton, 1st time), Tom Hawkins (C) (Geelong Cats, 5th time), Tyson Stengle (Geelong Cats, 1st time)
FOLL: Max Gawn (Melbourne, 6th time), Patrick Cripps (VC) (Carlton, 3rd time), Lachie Neale (Brisbane Lions, 3rd time)
I/C: Isaac Heeney (Sydney Swans, 1st time), Connor Rozee (Port Adelaide, 1st time), Andrew Brayshaw (Fremantle, 1st time), Mark Blicavs (Geelong Cats, 1st time)
AFLCA Champion Player of the Year Award: Touk Miller (Gold Coast) & Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)
AFLPA MVP: Andrew Brayshaw (Fremantle)
AFLPA Best Captain: Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood)
Robert Rose Most Courageous: Liam Baker (Richmond)
AFLCA Best Young Player Award: Jai Newcombe (Hawthorn)
AFLPA Best First Year Player: Nick Daicos (Collingwood)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Nick Daicos (Collingwood)
Coleman Medal: Charlie Curnow (Carlton)
Tom Hawkins kicking by Flickered is available HERE and used under a Creative Commons license. The image has not been modified.