Richmond midfielder Daniel Jackson said earlier this year the reason he took such a keen interest in off-field pursuits was because “I didn’t really feel that I had any value as a footballer”.
On Monday night, Jackson’s value to the Tigers on the field in 2013 could not have been recognised in any greater fashion.
At 27 years and five months, the intelligent and talented Tiger became the oldest player to win the Jack Dyer Medal for the first time since Matthew Richardson in 2007.
While the story before the Tigers’ best and fairest count was the re-signing of teammate Dustin Martin, elder statesman Jackson managed to upstage the young star by the time the votes had been tallied.
Jackson polled 264 votes to clinch the award ahead of runner-up Martin on 255, while the merit of recruiting restricted free agent Troy Chaplin this time last year was further underlined when the former Port Adelaide defender came in third on 241.
Former two-time winner Brett Deledio continued his impressive record at the club’s night of night’s at Crown Palladium by claiming his sixth top five placing in nine years, coming in fourth on 238 votes, while captain Trent Cotchin finished fifth on 237 after a season slowed by niggling injury.
Jackson revealed earlier this year that had it not been for his endeavours away from football – some of which earned him the inaugural Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award last year – the 146-game veteran “probably wouldn’t have bothered playing this year”.
The Tigers are sure glad he did, as the popular hard-nut completed a breakout year in a season when the club finally broke its finals drought – transforming himself into a damaging ball-winner capable of going forward and kicking spectacular goals.
Aside from the career-high 18 goals, Jackson averaged 22 disposals across all 23 games and ranked equal first at Tigerland for inside 50s, No.1 for tackles (90) and No.2 for contested possessions.
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