Jarryd Lyons claims ‘unexpected’ VFL honour after thrilling vote count as 20yo’s draft hopes get big boost

Jarryd Lyons’ rollercoaster season and footy career has taken an uplifting turn, with the Brisbane Lions midfielder claiming the VFL’s top individual honour after a dramatic vote count.

Lyon on Monday night was crowned the 2023 J.J Liston Trophy winner, polling 26 votes from 14 games to win by two votes from Southport star Boyd Woodcock.

Werribee ball magnet Tom Gribble and Port Melbourne’s Lachie Sullivan finished in equal-third spot on 21 votes. Gribble fell five votes short of becoming a three-time Liston Trophy winner.

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Struggling to cement his spot in Brisbane’s AFL team this season, Lyons played 14 VFL home and away games this season — and ended up polling votes in 11 of them.

Lyons kicked nine goals and averaged 33 disposals, eight clearances, eight score involvements and five tackles during the home and away season. He accumulated 30 or more disposals 13 times, including three 40-plus disposal outings.

Lyons couldn’t attend the VFL/VFLW awards night in-person as Brisbane prepares for an AFL preliminary final against Carlton, so he was presented the Liston medal by Lions football boss Dany Daly via video link.

Jarryd Lyons of the Lions. Picture: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos/via Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“It is an honour to accept this award, it was a little unexpected, but the VFL has played a massive part in my family for many years,” Lyons said.

“I’d like to thank my family, my wife and kids, my dad was actually an ’85 premiership player with Sandringham so this means a lot.”

After playing 55 games for Adelaide, Lyons was traded to the Gold Coast Suns before being sensationally delisted after just two seasons at the club.

He then quickly established himself as a ball magnet at Brisbane, culminating in selection in the All-Australian squad in 2021.

Lyons has played just two games in 2023 – five as the starting sub – but is a chance to feature against the Blues on Saturday night.

The 31-year-old became the first player in Brisbane Lions/Bears history to win a state league best and fairest when the club has had a team competing in the AFL reserves, QAFL, NEAFL and VFL competitions.

“To win a league best and fairest in any competition is a huge achievement and to do so without playing every game makes Jarryd’s achievement even more impressive,” Daly said.

“Jarryd’s drive and professionalism was highlighted throughout the season as he consistently performed week after week.

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“He worked incredibly hard this year and for him to be rewarded with the J.J Liston Trophy is very fitting and something he should be very proud of, because we are.”

Lyons earlier in the night was named in the centre in the 2023 VFL Team of the Year, which was captained by Sullivan. Werribee and the Gold Coast Suns, who’ll face off in the grand final this Sunday, had four representatives each in the side.

Werribee defender Sam Clohesy claimed the Fothergill-Round-Mitchell medal as the VFL’s best young emerging talent. Fifteen of the last 16 winners of the award have then been drafted by an AFL club — including 20-year-old Clohesy’s Werribee coach Michael Barlow. Giant Jake Riccardi, Fremantle’s Josh Corbett, Melbourne’s Bayley Fritsch, Fremantle’s Luke Ryan, Carlton’s Nic Newman and Richmond’s Kane Lambert have also claimed the same award.

There was a three-way tie in the VFLW’s top individual award, with Box Hill Hawks teammates Jordan Mifsud and Akayla Peterson and Geelong Cats midfielder Charlotte Simpson all claiming the 2023 Lambert-Pearce Medal.

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