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Tsitas wins VFL B&F

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 05:  James Tsitas of the Geelong Cats looks on during the 2017 VFL round 16 match between the Box Hill Hawks and the Geelong Cats at the Box Hill City Oval on August 05, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media)
James Tsitas had a great season

James Tsitas has capped off a consistent season by claiming the 2017 Geelong VFL Best & Fairest Award.

The 22-year-old tallied 322 votes to finish marginally ahead of first year player Ben Reid (309 votes) and VFL stalwart Jake Edwards (287) in a thrilling vote count on Saturday night.

The count saw Tsitas take the lead after round nine and he never lost that mantle, despite missing the final three games of the season.

Following in the footsteps of Tom Ruggles (2015 winner) and Tom Atkins (2016), Tsitas becomes the third straight VFL listed player to take out the coveted award.

With injuries plaguing the AFL side throughout 2017, the VFL team was often faced with numerous changes each week but Tsitas was a handy constant, playing the first 15 games of the season, finding himself amongst the Cats’ best players 10 times.

The biggest development in Tsitas’ game was his leadership as the midfielder/defender was a vocal influence on the young Geelong side whilst also leading by example with his courage and selfless play.

Another player who remained consistent throughout the season was runner-up Reid, who played all 18 games in his first season as a Cat.

After a best and fairest winning season at Echuca in 2016, the 24-year-old made the move to Geelong and became a mainstay in the Cats backline.

The defensive unit was led by Reid and Jake Edwards, who finished third in Saturday night’s vote count.

Defenders dominated the count with Dan Capiron (271 votes) finishing fourth and Ryan Gardner finishing fifth on 270, the most of any AFL listed player.

VFL star Sam McLachlan finished sixth (264) with ruckman Ryan Abbott (262) and James Gow (240) not far behind.

First year AFL duo Jamaine Jones (235) and Timm House (231) rounded out the top ten after strong individual seasons.

The final leaderboard saw five VFL listed Cats finish in the top six, an outstanding result that highlights the strength of the local talent pool in Geelong.

2017 VFL Best & Fairest Top 10 

  • James Tsitas (322 votes)
  • Ben Reid (309)
  • Jake Edwards (287)
  • Daniel Capiron (271)
  • Ryan Gardner (270)
  • Sam McLachlan (264)
  • Ryan Abbott (262)
  • James Gow (240)
  • Jamaine Jones (235)
  • Timm House (231)
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs