Franklin is top Hawk in year of personal and team accolades
HAWTHORN star Lance Franklin capped a remarkable 2008 by winning his first best-and-fairest award last night, polling in all except one of his 25 games.
Franklin, who reached superstar status this year, had already won the Coleman Medal and kicked more than 100 goals in the home-and-away season All-Australian selection and a premiership medallion in 2008. He was presented with the Peter Crimmins Medal at a function attended by more than 1300 people at Melbourne's Crown Palladium Ballroom, and said that any full-forward could have kicked 100 goals given the delivery he got from his teammates.
The star forward polled 216 votes and finished ahead of his skipper, Sam Mitchell, on 177 votes and Norm Smith medallist Luke Hodge on 175.
Forwards Jarryd Roughead (172 votes) and Michael Osborne (154) rounded out the top five.
Franklin's best home-and-away performances, according to the coaching staff, were in round five against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba and in round 18 against Collingwood, though it was his eight-goal haul against the Western Bulldogs in the second qualifying final that was regarded as his best of the season. Franklin was near unstoppable against the Bulldogs, but was kept remarkably quiet in the preliminary and grand finals.
Hodge, the 2005 best and fairest, was named the Hawks' best player during the finals after a dominant series in defence.
Roughead, who was only three votes behind Hodge, spent most of the year in Franklin's shadow, but last night was rewarded for his efforts he kicked 75 goals by being named most consistent player.
Not surprisingly, nippy goalsneak Cyril Rioli was named best first-year player.
Defender Tom Murphy was named most improved player and Chance Bateman best clubman.
Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett told the packed room earlier that while the club was set to report a strong profit, it had put an extra $2 million into the football department in recent years.
"You have a look at the difference between a Hawthorn and a North Melbourne and a Footscray. The thing that's different is not only that we are commercially successful, but that our people go that extra mile to back up our players and to back up our coaches," Kennett said.
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson told the audience that one of the several "good decisions" the club had made this year was taking the playing squad to the Kokoda trail in the pre-season.
Assistant coach Todd Viney has told the club he will not be continuing with the Hawks in 2009, citing family reasons.
■In Brisbane it was another good result for the power forwards as Lions captain Jonathan Brown won his second club champion award in successive years.
Brown, who polled 53.5 votes, was just two-and-a-half votes ahead of his co-captain, Simon Black, who placed second in this year's Brownlow Medal.
Midfielder Luke Power was third on 46.5 votes his sixth consecutive appearance in the top five.
Daniel Bradshaw marked his return to AFL football after missing 2007 with a knee injury by finishing fourth ahead of Jared Brennan, whose fifth placing was his best performance in the club award.
Bradd Dalziell won the best first-year player award, most courageous was Michael Rischitelli and most improved Joel Patfull.