Tom Young of the Sydney University AFL Club has taken out the highest honor in the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL), capturing the prestigious Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award. Young was presented the award at the Sofitel Hotel in Brisbane on Sunday, August 30.

Besides the Australian Football League, the NEAFL is the highest form of Australian Rules Football competition in NSW. Young helped guide Sydney Uni to third position in the regular season, finishing with a 12-6 record.

Young, 23, won the award in an exciting finish, edging out Northern Territory Thunder star Richard Tambling by just one vote (86-85). The votes are awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale and are handed out by both umpires and coaches, meaning the maximum number of votes a player can earn in a round is 10. The MVP is awarded to the player who gains the most votes and is judged to have been consistently the best player in the competition for that particular season.

Young stormed home to take the award in the very last round due to the Students’ massive 33 point upset win against minor premiers, the UWS Giants. Young managed to overtake Tambling in the final round by polling eight votes in a stellar performance where he accumulated 31 disposals, a goal and 12 clearances.

Young started moving his way up the leader board after Round 8 where he received the maximum 10 votes in the Students’ big win against Southport. He followed this up with a great run of form in which he gained 31 votes through Rounds 10-14 and finally hit the front of the pack in Round 15.

He racked up a further 20 votes between Rounds 17-19, but was quiet in Round 20 not attracting any votes, as Tambling went ahead by seven votes. However, with Tambling’s NT Thunder having a bye in the final round, Young was able to overcome him at the end with the Students’ final round win over the Giants.

Other Sydney University NEAFL players Matt Rawlinson and Lewis Stevenson finished 8th and 9th respectively in the MVP voting, with 47 and 44 votes. While last year’s winner and Aspley Hornets star Matt Payne finished in third with 70 votes.

Young played in all 18 matches for the Students. He averaged 26 disposals and six clearances per game, managing to boot 14 goals from the midfield.

It has been a dream return to the club for Young after he spent the last five years in Victoria as a utility player with AFL Clubs the Collingwood Magpies and the Western Bulldogs. After being named Collingwood’s best player in the reserves team in the Victorian Football League (VFL) in 2010, Young was elevated to their senior list with the 104th selection in the 2010 AFL Draft. This was the Sydney Uni AFL Club’s first ever draftee.

He made his debut at the AFL level for Collingwood in Round 22, 2011 where he played the Brisbane Lions at the MCG. Young played 9 matches for the Magpies over two seasons, before being traded to the Western Bulldogs where he featured in 19 AFL games over two seasons. In his 28 game AFL career Young averaged an impressive 14 disposals per game, and kicked five goals.

Young was also selected to represent the NEAFL Representative side in June earlier this year, where he matched up against the Tasmanian Football League Representative team in Hobart.

It is no surprise to people at the Sydney University AFL Club that Young has had such a successful career. In his previous stint with the Student’s (prior to his AFL career), he represented the NSW/ACT Rams at the AFL National Under 18 Championships and also won the Sydney AFL Rising Star award whilst playing for Sydney Uni.

Young will now be focusing his efforts on helping the Student’s defeat Southport in their upcoming Elimination Final. The game is being played at 1:30pm Saturday the 5th of September at Blacktown International Sportspark, in what should be a ripping encounter.

Image Credit: AFL Media