Dane Swan the AFL's best, say players - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dane Swan the AFL's best, say players

By Sam Lienert 06/09/2010 11:09:48 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood midfielder Dane Swan said he didn't even consider himself a topline footballer let alone the AFL players' association's most valuable player (MVP) which he was crowned on Monday night.

The 26-year-old Brownlow Medal favourite won the award on Monday night, breaking the three-year reign of Geelong star Gary Ablett, who was also last year's Brownlow winner.

Swan became the first Magpie to be named MVP since Darren Millane in 1990, also Collingwood's most recent premiership year, in a heartening sign for the flag favourites.

Swan was a clear winner, picking up 972 votes, ahead of Hawthorn's Luke Hodge (603 votes), Ablett (562), Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands (279) and Cat Joel Selwood (166), with all AFL players voting on a 3-2-1 basis.

But the prolific ball-winner, who has gathered more disposals than any other player in the AFL this season, including 30-plus in each of his past 13 games, said he still struggled to see himself as an elite player.

"I'm very honoured and also a little bit embarrassed with the amount of talent the AFL has got at the moment in the other five candidates, but I'm very proud to win this award," Swan said.

"I don't think I've ever sat down and thought I'm a top-line player."

Swan, drafted at No.58 in the 2001 national draft, did not make his AFL debut until 2003, and said it was not until he was nearly sacked by the club after an off-field disciplinary incident late that year, that he got his career on track.

"When I first got drafted all I wanted to do was party and have fun with my friends outside of footy," Swan said.

"It took me a couple of years, obviously that incident happened and I thought I was going to get sacked and didn't.

"From there I thought about what I wanted to do with my life and realised I wanted to be an AFL player and realised I had to work pretty hard to get where I wanted to be.

"I never thought I'd get to this, never in my wildest dreams thought there was a chance that I would win the MVP or any awards like this."

The heavily-tattooed Magpie said his own rise mirrored the club's, with this his best season personally and Collingwood's best in his time there.

He said his reputation as almost impossible to tag was a testament to the Magpies' current depth.

"It's pretty hard just to sit on one player, if one gets sat on, the other ones step up," Swan said.

Hodge won the most courageous player award, retiring Sydney skipper Brett Kirk was voted best captain and Fremantle's Michael Barlow best first year player, some consolation for missing the Dockers' finals campaign after breaking his leg in round 14.

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