North Melbourne midfielder Jy Simpkin completed a stellar season with a fast finish in the polling to claim his first Syd Barker Medal.
Simpkin, the Kangaroos’ co-vice captain, finished with 143 votes, edging out veteran Ben Cunnington (117), who missed seven matches. Captain Jack Ziebell was third (114), on a countback from fellow defender Aaron Hall.
Jy Simpkin had a standout season for North Melbourne.Credit:AFL Photos
Simpkin, having finished second last season, enjoyed a fine campaign after being elected to the leadership group.
The dynamic onballer averaged 26.9 disposals, 4.4 marks, 3.8 tackles and 5.1 clearances a game, all career-highs. He impressed with his quick thinking and work in and around the contest, in a season when the Kangaroos, under new coach David Noble, had only four wins but improved in the second half of the campaign.
Simpkin, 23, was particularly impressive in round nine, posting a career-high 38 disposals (23 contested) and 13 clearances in a breakthrough win over Hawthorn in Launceston. He also had nine tackles and five score involvements.
Simpkin was also named the Glenn Archer Shinboner of the Year.
Cunnington, ranked second in the competition for contested possessions (15.6) and clearances (7.5) a game, rebounded from an injury-ravaged 2020 to just fall short of what would have been his third Syd Barker Medal. His strong season was reinforced when he polled 15 Brownlow votes.
The robust midfielder had surgery in July after the discovery of a testicular tumour.
Noble shifted Ziebell to half-back and the move worked a treat as he averaged 25.2 disposals and 6.5 intercepts per game and was a calm hand when the Roos were under pressure.
Top 10 finishers in the Syd Barker Medal:
* finished ahead on countback method.
Excellence Award: Ben Cunnington
Harold Henderson Best Clubman Award: Kayne Turner
Peter Scanlon Community Award: Chris Simmonds
Glenn Archer Shinboner of the Year Award: Jy Simpkin
Best Young Player: Tom Powell
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