Rory Sloane has claimed the Malcolm Blight Medal as 2013 Crows Club Champion.
Sloane polled a total of 71 votes to narrowly edge out runner-up Richard Douglas, who finished on 68 votes. Patrick Dangerfield and Daniel Talia tied for third place, each polling 60 votes.
No more than six votes separated Sloane and Douglas throughout the count. The standout pair was tied on 64 votes after Round 21, but Sloane collected seven votes in the last two games to secure his first gold jacket in a thrilling finish.
The 19th Man viewed it the same way as the coaches, nominating Sloane as their Most Valuable Player (19th Man Award).
Recruited with pick No.44 in the 2008 National Draft, Sloane claims the Club’s highest individual honour after only 78 AFL games. Sloane, 23, is the same age as Douglas when he won the Club Champion award in 2010.
Sloane backed up a breakout 2012 season with another brilliant year in 2013. The reliable onballer played 21 of a possible 22 games, earning votes in all bar two matches.
Sloane ranked third at Adelaide in total disposals (494), averaging 23.5 possessions (including 11.2 contested), five marks and four inside 50ms per game. Regarded as one of the hardest-running players in the League, Sloane was second at the Club in clearances (84) and hard ball-gets (88), third in tackles (83) and contested possessions (235) and fourth in inside 50ms. He was also fifth in scoreboard impact, kicking 12 goals and assisting in 25 scores.
But the statistics fail to fully capture Sloane’s influence on the game and his teammates. A member of the Crows leadership group, Sloane stood up when it mattered.
The courageous Crow received game-high best-and-fairest votes in tight contests against the Brisbane Lions, Geelong, Fremantle and North Melbourne. He almost single-handedly dragged Adelaide across the line against the Kangaroos in Round 20, amassing 28 possessions and two goals, including the sealer late in the final quarter. The performance came less than a fortnight after he was treated for a detached retina.
Douglas, who played every game, also polled in all bar two matches in his best performance since his best-and-fairest winning year. Named in the 2013 All Australian squad, Douglas ranked second at Adelaide in total disposals (501), including 326 kicks – 13th in the AFL overall.
A feature of the damaging midfielder’s game was his ‘two-way’ running, or willingness to work hard in attack and defence. He ranked third in the League for inside 50ms (117) and sixth for combined inside and rebound 50ms (159). Douglas kicked 20 goals to finish fourth in Adelaide’s goalkicking and ranked eighth in the competition for goal assists (21). He laid 86 tackles (Ranked 2nd at Adelaide). Douglas was also recognised with the Best Team Award at the Convention Centre on Friday night.
Runner-up to Club Champion Scott Thompson in 2012, Dangerfield followed on from an All-Australian year in 2012. The dynamic ball winner polled votes in 15 games, including a maximum eight votes against Hawthorn in Round Six. He ranked No.1 at West Lakes (7th in the AFL) in contested possessions and clearances, and finished second in the Club’s goalkicking, with 31.
2012 Rising Star Daniel Talia, who finished 10th last year, secured his best-ever finish in the Malcolm Blight Medal after another consistent season. Talia, 21, played every game and polled votes in all bar four matches. The dependable full-back ranked seventh in the AFL in spoils and No.1 at Adelaide in intercept possessions.
He also had an eight-vote game against the Hawks after holding Lance Franklin goalless. The only other Crow to earn maximum votes in a game in 2013 was forward Tom Lynch for his 10-goal haul against Greater Western Sydney in Round Seven. Lynch, who kicked 33 goals for the season, was presented on stage with the Premiership Club Leading Goalkicker award, while Talia also won the Dr Brian Sando OAM Trophy for the second straight year.
Swingman Andy Otten was rewarded for consistency, securing fifth place in the Crows Club Champion award. The 24-year-old also received the Chelsea Phillis Vice Presidents Club Coach’s Award.
Luke Brown (sixth), Tom Lynch (ninth) and Brad Crouch (10th) all capped off breakout seasons with top-10 finishes. Crouch, who polled 33 votes in the last 10 rounds, received the Emerging Talent Award, while Brown claimed the Mark Bickley Award. Reliable contributors Scott Thompson (seventh) and Ben Rutten (eighth) rounded out the top 10.
The votes are awarded by the coaches on a 0-8 basis, with one vote for impacting on the game and eight votes for an outstanding individual performance.
2013 Club Champion Top 10
Rory Sloane – 71
Richard Douglas – 68
Patrick Dangerfield – 60
Daniel Talia – 60
Andy Otten – 51
Luke Brown – 47
Scott Thompson – 45
Ben Rutten – 41
Tom Lynch – 40
Brad Crouch – 39
2013 Club Champion Award Winners
Third Place (tied)
Patrick Dangerfield and Daniel Talia
Best Team Man
Chairman’s Circle Emerging Talent
Chelsea Phillis Vice Presidents Club Coach’s Award
Mark Bickley Award
19th Man Award
Premiership Club Leading Goalkicker
Brian Sando OAM Trophy