ST PATRICK’S College football captain Liam Duggan has earned the AIS-AFL Academy’s highest individual honour.
Duggan was awarded the Ben Mitchell Medal, voted on by the 2013-14 Academy class as the player who embodies team values, such as courage, leadership and trust on and off the field.
Academy coach Brad Johnson presented Duggan the medal at a luncheon concluding the nine-month program at Etihad Stadium on Monday.
In a nice twist, Johnson was drafted to the AFL from Western Jets, the club for which Duggan, a Bacchus Marsh junior, is playing his TAC Cup under-18 football.
St Pat’s football director Howard Clark said Duggan was highly respected in the St Pat’s, Jets and Bacchus Marsh communities.
“He’s an extremely well-balanced footballer on both sides. He played predominantly on his left side and has worked hard on his right side,” Clark said.
“His decision-making, skill and inside-outside game are of the elite level.”
Duggan and fellow St Pat’s footballer Brenton Payne have been in strong form for Vic Metro in the AFL national under-18 championships, which conclude on Thursday.
Academy players voted on the medal at the end of their European tour to Australian Institute of Sport camps in Italy and London at Easter.
The Ben Mitchell Medal is named in memory of a former AIS squad member and AFL draft aspirant who died tragically in a car accident on his way to training in 2002.
Past winners include Tim Gold (GWS), Matthew Buntine (GWS) Joe Daniher (Essendon), Lloyd Perris (Sydney) and Josh Kelly (Greater Western Sydney).