WEST Coast ball magnet Matt Priddis has polled 26 votes to win the Brownlow Medal.
Priddis missed out on All-Australian selection this year, but earned two votes in the final round of the AFL season to wrap up the sport’s greatest individual honour.
“I didn’t think I’d be polling mid-20s,” a shocked Priddis said.
Ineligible Fremantle on-baller Nat Fyfe threatened to follow in the footsteps of Corey McKernan and Chris Grant, the only two suspended players to have topped a Brownlow medal count.
Fyfe finished with 25 votes, despite missing four games due to suspension.
Priddis is the first Eagle to win the award since Ben Cousins in 2005.
Priddis moved ahead of Gold Coast’s Gary Ablett on the leaderboard after being named best on ground in round 20.
Priddis finished the season with a strong showing against the Suns to move one vote clear of Fyfe, saving the Dockers star some serious heartbreak. Priddis was humbled by the gong.
“This is something that doesn’t sit too well with me. I’m a pretty shy sort of guy,” he said.
“A little bit daunting, but something I’m obviously very proud of.”
Priddis debuted in 2006 and is another rookie-list success story.
“I was never going to give up. I just wanted to play at the highest possible level I could play at,” the 29-year-old said of his path to the AFL.
Ablett and Lance Franklin polled 22 votes to share second place.
Short-priced favourite Joel Selwood finished tied fourth on 21 votes alongside Patrick Dangerfield, Travis Boak and Josh Kennedy.
Most AFL fans could have told you the “catch me if you can” script for last night’s proceedings. Ablett was going to be the clear leader after round 15.
At that stage of the night Sydney midfielder Kennedy was next best with 17 votes, while Priddis and Fyfe were tied seventh on 14 votes. Ablett injured his shoulder in round 16 then missed the fi nal seven games of the season.
Football fans wondered, had the Gold Coast captain banked enough votes to hold on and become the fifth man to win three Brownlow medals?
The AFL was unsure. They put in an order for eight medals in case of an unbelievable tie.