Pavlich wins a sixth Doig
Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich has tonight added to his growing legacy at the club by winning his sixth Doig Medal as Fremantle’s best player for 2011.
Pavlich finished on 144 votes, just ahead of Nat Fyfe on 141. It was a thrilling finish for the award between Fremantle’s greatest ever player and a youngster from Lake Grace who rose to prominence with a brilliant second season of AFL.
Greg Broughton finished third on 118 votes, while defensive lynchpin Luke McPharlin rounded off the top four on 108 votes.
Pavlich capped off a remarkable season of individual milestones in which he broke the club games record and played his 250th game. He also broke Peter Bell’s record of 107 games as Fremantle captain.
The captain has been the focal point of Freo’s attack throughout his career, but in 2011 he was called upon to play mainly as a midfielder because of the club’s injury issues throughout the season.
He averaged 24 disposals per game in 20 appearances, leading the club in total kicks and kicks per game.
Pavlich’s Doig Medal win was reward for his incredible consistency. He averaged 28.5 disposals in the first six rounds of the season.
He failed to gain at least 20 possessions on only three occasions during the home and away season before an injury sustained early in round 22 ended his year.
Pavlich’s best game of the year came in round 14 against Brisbane at Patersons Stadium.
When an injury-hit Fremantle needed a lift from its captain, Pavlich delivered with a 29 disposal, five-goal effort that helped get his side over the line.
Pavlich, who previously won the Doig in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, was also honoured earlier in the night with a special presentation to highlight his year of milestones.
At the conclusion of every game this season Fremantle coaching staff gave every player votes on a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 basis. Top votes are awarded for what is regarded as an elite performance.
Pavlich and Fyfe were dead level on 130 votes after 19 rounds, but the Fremantle skipper pulled away with consecutive seven-vote games in rounds 20 and 21.
He wouldn’t poll again after an injury sustained early in round 22 ended his season.
Fyfe polled a combined nine votes in rounds 22 and 23 to pull to within three votes of his skipper with one match left.
But the 20-year-old didn’t play the final game of the season, leaving Pavlich with a sixth Doig and a few more lines to add to his storied career at the Fremantle Dockers.
In other awards, Tendai Mzungu’s excellent debut season was rewarded with the Beacon Award as the club’s best first year player.
The 25-year-old had to wait until round 9 to make his AFL debut after he sustained a knee injury in the pre-season.
He took his opportunity, starring in a number of different roles that saw him become an important member of the side by season’s end.
Matt de Boer won the Best Clubman Award for the second year running.
De Boer, who was promoted to the leadership group in 2011, was deemed the worthy recipient again by his teammates for an award in which the criterion includes having a positive attitude, consistently putting the needs of the team first and a willingness to accept responsibility to improve the club environment.
The night began on the sparkling Red Carpet where players and partners mingled with the 1000 guests in attendance for the evening.
Former Channel 9 Sports Director Michael Thomson hosted the evening’s proceedings, which also honoured retiring players, Roger Hayden and Byron Schammer.
The club’s nine debutants and 10 milestones players in 2011 were also acknowledged.
Defender Antoni Grover received a special presentation for reaching the 200-game milestone in 2011.