By JESS WEBSTER
NEAFL MVP winner Matthew Payne has stormed home to claim a fifth Carl Herbert Medal as Aspley’s best-and-fairest player on Saturday night.
Payne and fellow midfield star Andrew Swallow were neck-and-neck throughout the voting, but it was back-to-back best-on-ground performances in the final two rounds which sealed Payne’s victory.
The three-time NEAFL MVP finished on 182 votes ahead of Swallow (159), with ruckman Jake Spencer (137), Ben Warren (114) and Reece Toye (101) rounding out the top five.
Young gun Will Gowers took out the club’s Rising Star Award, whilst also finishing sixth in the best-and-fairest voting.
Payne’s latest triumph is his 10th club best-and-fairest award at four different clubs in an unparalleled career which includes five QAFL/NEAFL awards as the league’s best player.
Proving he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, the 33-year-old has now won seven club best-and-fairest awards in the past eight years, including three NEAFL MVP Awards.
This year Payne again led from the front for the Hornets, continuing his streak of being named in the NEAFL Team of the Year every season he has played.
In 2018, he took it a step further by being selected as captain for the first time after a season where he was ranked No.2 in the competition for Champion Data ranking points, averaging 29 disposals and 6.2 clearances per game.
Payne won his first senior best-and-fairest 14 years ago at his home club Rosebud in Victoria before moving north to Queensland, beginning his QAFL career with Zillmere.
The champion midfielder has since won dual titles at Rosebud (2004, 2013), Zillmere (2007, 2008), one at Southport (2011), and five at Aspley (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018).
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