Influential defender Caleb Daniel has won the 2020 Charles Sutton Medal.
The 24-year-old enjoyed a career-best season to claim the Bulldogs’ best and fairest award, finishing the count with 205 votes, ahead of skipper Marcus Bontempelli (195) and Tom Liberatore (160).
It’s another well-deserved accolade for Daniel, adding to his maiden All Australian selection.
He played all 18 games in 2020 and notched his 100th AFL match in round nine.
Daniel has built a reputation as one of the competition’s best kicks and most damaging rebound players – averaging 20.2 disposals per game, with 16.6 effective disposals.
“I’m extremely proud and I’m also extremely humbled,” Daniel said.
“Being voted the best and fairest for the year is something you’ve obviously dreamed about ever since you started playing footy. To be able to do that in front of my friends and the players that I’ve been able to play with this year is something I’ll hold with me forever.
“This whole year has obviously been a massive challenge for everyone that’s taken part, but I think just having that positive outlook on what we can do and what I personally could do to help influence the team and take us forward with our performance was something I really strived to do.
“It’s really nice being able to have that confidence in your own ability and to trust you’ve done the work and it’s coming out in your game. That’s something I’m really happy with and I’m really glad I’ve been able to get that consistent form throughout the last couple of years.”
Bontempelli claimed the Doug Hawkins Medal as runner-up in the best and fairest count.
It marked a sixth consecutive top-three finish for the first-year captain, following Charles Sutton Medal wins in 2016, 2017 and 2019, plus third-placed finishes in 2015 and 2018.
He also won the Scott West Most Courageous Player award.
Liberatore won the Gary Dempsey Medal for finishing third in the best and fairest count and was also acknowledged by his teammates and coaches.
It was the 28-year-old’s first top-three finish since 2014, when he won the Charles Sutton Medal.
Liberatore’s honours also included the player-voted John Van Groningen Domestique Award – for the player who places the team above the individual on-field – and the Brad Johnson Best Team Player award.
Young gun Laitham Vandermeer won the Chris Grant Best First Year Player award, after making his AFL debut in round two and playing 12 games for the season.
Defender Bailey Williams won the Tony Liberatore Most Improved Player award – and finished 5th in the best and fairest count – having played all 18 games in 2020 and made a consistent contribution to the Bulldogs’ back line.
The Charles Sutton Medal is voted on by the Bulldogs’ match committee, with five members awarding a score from zero to five for each player after every game.
Charles Sutton Medal voting
Charles Sutton Medal – Caleb Daniel (205 votes)
Doug Hawkins Medal – Marcus Bontempelli (195)
Gary Dempsey Medal – Tom Liberatore (160)
4th – Jack Macrae (154)
5th – Bailey Williams (121)
6th – Alex Keath (118)
7th – Bailey Smith (105)
8th – Tim English (89)
9th – Lachie Hunter (84)
10th – Mitch Wallis (83)
John Van Groningen Domestique Award – Tom Liberatore
Brad Johnson Best Team Player – Tom Liberatore
Scott West Most Courageous Player – Marcus Bontempelli
Chris Grant Best First Year Player – Laitham Vandermeer
Tony Liberatore Most Improved Player – Bailey Williams
Bruce Wilkinson Trainers Award – Caleb Daniel
John Schultz Community Award – Buku Khamis
Ingrid McDonald Award – Sam Power