Thursday night’s 2016 Bob Skilton Medal is set to be one of the closest run races in recent history with a number of players having an outstanding season.
We take a look at some of the key contenders for Thursday night’s Club Champion award.
Franklin had one of his best seasons since joining the Swans on the back of his strongest pre-season in the red and white. The star forward booted 81 goals on his way to being named All Australian, his best return since 2011. Buddy’s role within the Swans forward line developed as the season went on playing an important role further up the ground across half forward. His field kicking continues to be one of his strengths and was on full display throughout a strong finals series. Franklin booted a bag of four goals or more on fourteen occasions in 2016 including a seven goal haul against Richmond in Round 23.
A stunning start to the season will have most tipping Parker to be leading the Club Champion award in the early rounds. Parker finished runner up in the Brownlow Medal count behind Patrick Dangerfield, breaking a record for the most votes after the first six rounds when he had polled 13. Parker ranked among the elite ball winners in the game this season playing all 25 matches, with his ability to impact the scoreboard second to none. The young on-baller had 30+ disposals on eight occasions throughout the season. He previously won the Bob Skilton Medal in 2014 at the age of just 21 years old.
A two-time Club Champion will once again be among the top vote getters in the 2016 Bob Skilton Medal. The star midfielder averaged a career high 31 disposals a game and remains one of the best clearances players in the competition. Was named in the centre of the All-Australian side to go along with the honour of being named the inaugural Gary Ayres Medallist for the best player during the finals series. Kennedy was a standout performing during the Grand Final with 34 disposals and three goals. Expect the midfielder to make a late charge as he searches for his third Bob Skilton Medal.
Still vying for his maiden Club Champion award Hannebery is sure to be among those with a strong chance of walking away with the Bob Skilton Medal around his neck. A super consistent season from the hardnosed midfielder saw him named in the All Australian team for a third time in his short career. Continued to take his game to another level in 2016 as he averaged a career high 31 disposals per game. He collected more than 30 disposals on 17 occasions throughout the season with his best game coming against Adelaide in Round 4 when he had 38 disposals and a goal. Will be sure to be fighting it out with his midfield teammates for the honour of the best Sydney Swans player for the 2016 season.
The veteran of the Swans backline is in career best form at the age of 30. Grundy has had a super consistent season playing on the best power forwards in the competition and restricting their influence on the contest. Expect Grundy to poll votes in most games and be among the top contenders for the 2016 Bob Skilton Medal. Rarely beaten in a one on one contest his intercept marking went to a new level this season. One of the stand out performers on Grand Final day Grundy was also a stand out performer in the Swans season opening victory against Collingwood.
All Australian defender Dane Rampe has not missed a game since playing his second at AFL level with his consistency rising to a new level in 2016. His versatility to play on both talls and smalls makes him one of the Swans most valuable players. Rampe provided rebound out of the Swans defensive half all season. His Round 16 performance against Geelong was his most impressive of the season and he would be expected to poll consistently throughout the season.