Congratulations to Aaron Heppell.
From the Essendon FC website:
Aaron Heppell has capped off a brilliant year by winning the R.A Freeman Medal as the Essendon VFL’s best and fairest player on Friday night.
Heppell led the count from start to finish to runaway with the win from captain Daniel Coghlan and vice-captain Ben McNiece.
After just six matches in 2015, Heppell took his game to a new level throughout the season and was the only Bomber to play all 20 games.
The 21 year-old played a key role in the Bombers defence earlier in the season, before being unleashed and becoming a vital member of the midfield in the back end of the season.
Heppell averaged 20.15 disposals over the season, but pushed that to 23.8 from rounds 18 through to the semi-final when he moved to the midfield.
He kicked three goals across the season, but saved many more with some memorable goal line smoothers among the Bombers most electrifying moments of the season.
Essendon’s 2016 VFL coach Matthew Egan said Heppell’s season and his development was outstanding.
“I was rapt with his season, just to be able to play really solid footy down back and beat his direct opponent every single week and save us goals consistently, but also start to create some attacking opportunities for us,” Egan said.
“He started to use the ball a lot better and was willing to join in.
“I love how he backs himself, when the ball is in the air he just goes and he’s not even sure about his opponent at times which is great and what we want to see.”
It was a busy night for Heppell who was also handed the Jack Feain Award as the best clubman as voted by the players, coaches and VFL staff highlighting the regard he is held by those around the club.
Heppell was the only Bomber named in the VFL team of the year in the back pocket.
- All four of the Essendon coaches ranks each players performance from zero to five. The maximum votes a player can receive per round is 20.
1- Aaron HEPPELL (296 votes)
2- Daniel COGHLAN (229)
3- Ben McNIECE (209)
4- Sam HEAVYSIDE (195)
5- Jason ASHBY (187)
6- Shaun EDWARDS (184)
James POLKINGHORNE (184)
7- Mason REDMAN (179)
8- Will HAMS (176)
9- Jake LONG (171)