Sam Simpson has capped off a brilliant season at VFL level, claiming the 2019 Geelong VFL Best & Fairest Award.
The midfielder tallied 366 votes to finish ahead of key forward Wylie Buzza (329 votes) in Thursday night’s count.
It is the first season since 2014 where an AFL listed player has taken out the coveted prize.
Simpson played 19 games in 2019 and despite not featuring at AFL level, had undoubtedly his best season in the blue and white hoops.
The silky midfielder was a frequent name amongst the Cats’ best performers each week, averaging 20 disposals and five tackles per game.
At VFL level, you’d be hard pressed to find a more efficient player than Simpson in traffic.
Sitting on par with Willy Wonka for the amount of candy sold while boasting a smart goal sense and impeccable footwork, Simpson has all the tools to be a quality midfielder for years to come.
Claiming a well-deserved runner-up position was key forward Wylie Buzza.
The Cats’ linchpin up forward, Buzza’s status as cult hero of the VFL side continued to grow over an impressive 2019 campaign.
Buzza kicked 32 goals from 17 games and provided the side with a strong target, a booming left boot and a leader they could all rally behind.
Just behind Buzza was VFL listed pair Jackson McLachlan (328 votes) and Ben Reid (326).
Only three votes separate second and fourth, with Buzza leapfrogging the St. Joseph’s duo in the Cats’ final game of the season.
McLachlan’s podium finish is a fantastic reward for a player who was in and out of the side in 2018 before becoming a permanent fixture this season.
A ruthless tackler and crafty goalkicker, McLachlan was one of the most exciting Cats to watch at VFL level this season.
With the surprising lack of injuries on Geelong’s AFL list, keeping a spot was not an easy task for the VFL listed players but McLachlan’s consistency ensured he was one of the first names picked each week.
The same can be said for running defender Ben Reid, who was back to his best in 2019, his third season on Geelong’s VFL list.
A proven vote-getter, Reid claimed a top-two B&F finish in his debut 2017 season and is worthy of his place among the Bankers’ top tier again.
Sitting outside the top 10 after 17 rounds, James Parsons (303 votes) stormed home to claim fifth place while speedy draftee Jacob Kennerley (295) rounded out the top six.
Jamaine Jones (284) and Ryan Abbott (279), two crucial players in the Cats’ 2019 campaign, finished seventh and eighth respectively.
The top 10 was rounded out by midfield bull Scott Selwood (278) and improving youngster Oscar Brownless (254).
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.
2019 VFL Best & Fairest Top 10
1. Sam Simpson (366 votes)
2. Wylie Buzza (329)
3. Jackson McLachlan (328)
4. Ben Reid (326)
5. James Parsons (303)
6. Jacob Kennerley (295)
7. Jamaine Jones (284)
8. Ryan Abbott (279)
8. Scott Selwood (278)
10. Oscar Brownless (254)