Star GIANTS midfielder Josh Kelly has won the 2021 Kevin Sheedy Medal, taking home his second Club Champion award.
In a tight top three finish, Kelly was tied with Toby Greene coming into the final two matches of the season before polling 17 votes across the finals series to add his second Sheedy Medal to his 2017 victory.
Kelly, who signed an eight-year contract earlier this year to make him a GIANT for life, finished on 159 votes for the night with Greene finishing 10 votes behind and Jacob Hopper rounding out the top three on 142 votes.
It was a battle between the three for much of the night with the trio sitting at the top of the leaderboard at nearly every break.
Kelly polled in every one of the 23 games he played across the 2021 AFL season including a maximum of 16 votes in a best-on-ground performance in round 13 against North Melbourne.
Coach Leon Cameron paid tribute to the top three place getters:
“I congratulate Josh on a well-deserved second Club Champion victory,” Cameron said.
“By his own admission, Josh came into this season wanting to take his game to another level. I think we saw the results of a big summer of hard work as he stepped up with consistent quality performances across a variety of positions.
“His willingness to play whatever role was required of him, along with his leadership in the absence of Stephen Coniglio and at times Toby Greene, was on full display across 2021. He should be very proud of his season.
“I’d like to congratulate Toby on his second-place finish as well as the other awards he has received tonight. We’ve clearly seen his game grow across this season, and he was a well-deserved recipient of his second All Australian honour as well.
“I’d also like to recognise Jacob’s third-place finish. There’s no doubt he’s had a career-best season and thoroughly deserves this recognition, along with his inclusion in the 2021 All Australian squad.”
2019 winner Tim Taranto finished in fourth place, with star defender Sam Taylor finishing in the top five for the first time in his career. Former skipper Callan Ward, consistent forward Harry Himmelberg and emerging defender Isaac Cumming tied in sixth place with 2020 joint winners Nick Haynes and Lachie Whitfield rounding out the top 10.
Players can receive a maximum of 16 votes per round with Greene awarded full votes for his round 14 performance against Carlton and Taylor doing the same against Geelong in round 21.
Greene was the club’s Leading Goalkicker, with 45 goals in 18 games, as well as taking home Mark of the Year for his high-flying effort in round one and Goal of the Year for his remarkable after-the-siren torpedo against the Blues in round 14.
Greene also took home the Members Choice Award, which was voted on by members and fans at the conclusion of every round across the season.
The club’s Rising Star award was presented to Tom Green after 18 games in his second season, with the Canberra product finishing second in the League’s NAB AFL Rising Star award.
Fellow Academy player James Peatling was awarded the club’s Development Award. The 21-year-old from Western Sydney joined the club in the mid-season rookie draft and made his AFL debut in round 20, playing four games for the season.
Along with his top-five finish, Taylor also took home the Coaches Award after a breakout season holding down the GIANTS’ often-undermanned defence.
Meanwhile, Head of Community Ali Faraj was named GIANTS Staff Member of the Year for his tireless efforts in engaging the wider Sydney and Canberra communities during a heavily COVID-impacted year. 2021 saw Faraj pioneer the club’s ‘GIANT Hand’ program, which continues to provide over 1000 meals a week to vulnerable families most severely impacted by the ongoing lockdowns in Western Sydney and the ACT.
The 2021 Kevin Sheedy Medal was held virtually with players and staff joining hosts Melissa Doyle and Jim Wilson from across the country with the event live streamed to members and fans.
The Kevin Sheedy Medal is voted on by coach Leon Cameron as well as his assistant coaches Mark McVeigh, Adam Schneider, and Steve Johnson. Up to four votes can be awarded to a player by each coach every round with each player able to receive a maximum of 16 votes per round.
2021 Kevin Sheedy Medal Top 10:
1 Josh Kelly (159 votes)
2 Toby Greene (149)
3 Jacob Hopper (142)
4 Tim Taranto (129)
5 Sam Taylor (122)
=6 Callan Ward (111)
=6 Harry Himmelberg (111)
=6 Isaac Cumming (111)
9 Nick Haynes (100)
10 Lachie Whitfield (97)
Rising Star Award, presented by Kia
Development Award, presented by Bingo Industries
Members Choice Award, presented by Toyo Tires
Mark of the Year, presented by Virgin Australia
Toby Greene - Round 1 v St Kilda
Goal of the Year, presented by Toyo Tires
Toby Greene - Round 14 v Carlton
Leading Goal Kicker, presented by St.George
Toby Greene - 45 goals
Coaches Award, presented by Facilities First
2020 - Nick Haynes and Lachie Whitfield
2019 - Tim Taranto
2018 - Lachie Whitfield
2017 - Josh Kelly
2016 - Toby Greene
2015 - Heath Shaw
2014 - Shane Mumford
2013 - Jeremy Cameron
2012 - Callan Ward