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VFL: Atkins awarded Best and Fairest

Tom Atkins has won the 2018 Geelong VFL Best & Fairest Award - Geelong Cats
Tom Atkins has won the 2018 Geelong VFL Best & Fairest Award

Tom Atkins has capped off an outstanding season at VFL level, claiming the 2018 Geelong VFL Best & Fairest Award.

The Cats’ skipper tallied 413 votes to finish ahead of key defender Timm House (345 votes) and 2017 winner James Tsitas (341) in Thursday night’s count.

It is Atkins’ second time winning the award after being recognised in 2016 and the fourth straight season where a VFL listed player has taken out the coveted prize.

Atkins played every game in 2018 and was named amongst the Cats’ best players on 14 occasions, registering career high numbers in disposals (21.8 per game) and tackles (9.4).

The hard-nosed midfielder’s 188 tackles were not only the most of any Cat throughout the year, but the most in the competition.

Statistically, Atkins fired on all cylinders, finishing amongst the competition’s top ten players for handballs, contested possessions, score assists, hard ball gets and clearances.

His incredible season as the Cats’ inspirational leader saw him named as ruck rover and captain in the VFL Team of the Year.

Also named in that side was James Tsitas, who followed on from his best and fairest winning season in 2017 with another solid year in blue and white.

Tsitas finished third in Thursday night’s count, just behind fellow defender Timm House.

House was rock solid for the Cats in 2018, playing consistently in his 18 games as one of the premier defenders in the competition.

His intercept marks and one-on-one defending made House a nightmare matchup for opposing forwards.

Ruck duo Zac Smith (331 votes) and Ryan Abbott (277) finished fourth and eighth respectively, with both players featuring at AFL and VFL level throughout the season.

Young forward Gryan Miers (319) capped off a great first year, finishing fifth, while Ryan Gardner (317) finished inside the top six for the second straight season.

The top 10 was rounded out by three Cats in their first year with the club as Luke Kiel (315), Jordan Keras (277) and Charlie Constable (276) were rewarded for outstanding debut seasons in blue and white.

The Voting Process

After each match, Cats coach Shane O’Bree rates every player out of 15 and the VFL assistant coaches combine to rate each player out of 15.

This gives each player a score out of 30 every week, with the individual player’s best 18 games (out of a possible 20) tallied to produce their final score for the season.

2018 VFL Best & Fairest Top 10

1. Tom Atkins (413 votes)
2. Timm House (345)
3. James Tsitas (341)
4. Zac Smith (331)
5. Gryan Miers (319)
6. Ryan Gardner (317)
7. Luke Kiel (315)
8. Ryan Abbott (277)
8. Jordan Keras (277)
10. Charlie Constable (276)

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs