REINVENTED midfielder Kane Cornes has been crowned Port Adelaide’s best and fairest player for season 2012 after an exciting John Cahill Medal count at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Friday.
It is the fourth time Cornes has won the club’s highest individual honour, equalling premiership captain Warren Tredrea’s record. Cornes had previously claimed the John Cahill Medal in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
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The 29-year-old finished ahead of West Coast recruit Brad Ebert and emerging midfielder Matthew Broadbent who tied in second place.
It was a great homecoming for Ebert, playing an outstanding role through the midfield at the club where his father Craig played 112 games and his uncle Russell won four Magarey Medals for the Magpies in the SANFL. Brad’s grandfather, Trevor Obst, and his great uncle, Peter Obst, also played for Port Adelaide.
The big-bodied Ebert played every game of the 2012 season, gathering 504 disposals and laying 128 tackles.
Broadbent enjoyed a breakout season in the midfield playing all 22 games and compiling 436 disposals. Significantly, the 22 year-old added a further string to his bow, kicking 21 goals, the most of any of the Power’s midfield group.
Cornes was ‘Mr Versatile’ in 2012, playing a variety of roles when required throughout the season. While predominantly deployed on the wing, Cornes not only pushed into defence at times but also occasionally took on his familiar role of running with the opposition’s most dangerous midfielder.
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Cornes - who has played 245 games for the Power - was rewarded for a highly consistent year, playing every game and amassing 560 disposals at an average of 25 per game.
Port Adelaide general manager football Peter Rohde said Cornes was rewarded for his outstanding preparation and application after responding to a difficult 2011.
“After some open discussions at the end of last season Kane went away and prepared extremely well for the start of this season and adapted to the way the coaching group wanted him to play which is a great credit to him,” Rohde said.
“Kane’s attitude to his football and the way both he, Matthew Primus and our whole coaching group worked together throughout the year was a real positive and gave him great confidence in where he was heading with his role this season.”
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Rohde underlined the fact that Cornes played a range of roles in what was a typically consistent season from the veteran.
“Kane played a variety of roles in the best interest of the team this year but, for the most part, he played a new role on the wing or wing back,” Rohde said.
“The beauty of Kane remains his versatility and at times we were able to use him as a run with player through the midfield to try and curb the influence of the opposition’s most dangerous midfielder. As always, he applied himself diligently to any role we asked him to play.
“As the votes reflect, Kane had a very consistent season throughout, managing quality games at the start and in the middle of the year and then he finished off very strongly as well.”
The voting system for the John Cahill medal was altered in 2011.
Members of Port Adelaide’s match committee - comprising the senior coach and assistant coaches - produce a single set of votes for each round during their match review process.
[ Related: Wingard wins Wanganeen Medal ]
Every player is awarded between zero and four votes per game, with an emphasis on how they played, the role expected of them and their influence on the outcome of the game. Four votes, therefore, are the most any player can get from any one game.
Four votes are cast for a player who is considered to have put in an outstanding performance, three votes for an excellent performance, two votes for a very good performance and one vote for a player who is adjudged to have had a positive influence on the game.
There were a number of highlights from an enthralling count:
• Cornes only hit the front as out-right leader after Round 21. He held onto his lead for the final two rounds of the season.
• Entering the final round of the year Cornes led Broadbent by just two votes. In the final round against Richmond, Cornes and Broadbent both polled one vote while Brad Ebert polled two. As a result, Cornes finished on 18 votes with Broadbent and Ebert locked on 16.
• Troy Chaplin was equal leader with Cornes at the completion of Round 20. This was to be Chaplin’s last game of the season due to a knee injury.
• Jay Schulz, who kicked a career-high 42 goals, polled 14 votes in 15 games, the highest ratio of any player.
[ Related: Kane's legacy ]
Three other awards were also given out tonight.
Chad Wingard - who played a remarkable 19 games in his first season of AFL football - won the Gavin Wanganeen Medal as the club’s best first year player.
Brad Ebert capped off a great first season at the Power winning the player-voted Fos Williams medal, awarded for leadership, selflessness, professionalism, courage and loyalty.
And promoted rookie Tom Jonas - who impressed with his attitude and application - was presented the Coaches’ award. This accolade is based on the collaborative view of the entire coaching panel, including the senior coach and assistant coaches, and is awarded to the player who best displayed team values of competitiveness, trust and selflessness.
2012 John Cahill Medal top 10
1. Kane Cornes
=2. Matthew Broadbent and Brad Ebert
=4. Dom Cassisi, Troy Chaplin, Jay Schulz and Justin Westhoff
=8. Travis Boak and Danyle Pearce
10. Alipate Carlile
John Cahill Medal: Kane Cornes
John Cahill Medal runners-up: Matthew Broadbent and Brad Ebert
Gavin Wanganeen Medal: Chad Wingard
Fos Williams Medal: Brad Ebert
Coaches’ Award: Tom Jonas