Swans' hard man Luke Parker claims Skilton Medal

AFL preliminary final game. Richmond Vs Great Western Sydney. 23 September 2017. The Age Sport. Photo:: Eddie Jim.
GWS Josh Kelly.                             .
AFL preliminary final game. Richmond Vs Great Western Sydney. 23 September 2017. The Age Sport. Photo:: Eddie Jim. GWS Josh Kelly. .

Hard-nosed Swans midfielder Luke Parker has become a multiple best-and-fairest winner at the club after being awarded his second Bob Skilton Medal on Friday.

He joins the likes of Skilton, Peter Bedford, Paul Kelly, Adam Goodes, Jarrad McVeigh and captain Josh Kennedy to have won the medal more than once, after polling in all but three of his 24 games this year.

Parker, who was also best and fairest in 2014, finished ahead of Lance Franklin and Jake Lloyd, who tied for second, with Kennedy next in line.

In a bizarre season for the Swans, who began with six straight losses before storming into the finals, Parker was a constant performer in midfield averaging 25 disposals, six tackles and six clearances.

"We know and see every week how much Luke competes - he's just a fantastic competitor," Swans coach John Longmire said.

"Luke had a delayed start to pre-season due to the knee injury he suffered in last year's preliminary final, and while he was still able to train at times, he wasn't able to get that consistency of form that we would have liked early in the year.

"As he always does, he was able to keep pushing, fight through that and he ended up having a great year.

"In terms of leadership, Luke's ability to lead took another step forward this year as one of our vice-captains. He helps to set the standards around the club and on the ground on match day.

"He has the ability to grasp what the team needs at any particular time and that shows what type of quality person he is."

Meanwhile, in-demand Giants midfielder Josh Kelly has taken out his first Kevin Sheedy Medal as the GWS best and fairest, just weeks after signing a two-year contract extension at the club.

Kelly piqued the interest of several Melbourne clubs this year, but turned his back on a reported multi-million dollar contract offer from North Melbourne to chase a premiership in Sydney.

His stellar season, where he averaged almost 30 disposals per game and was ranked equal 10th for tackles in the AFL at the end of the regular season, helped GWS to a second straight preliminary final.

He beat home co-captains Callan Ward and Phil Davis in landing his first Sheedy Medal.

"Josh should be immensely proud of the season he has put together and this honour is well deserved," GWS coach Leon Cameron said.

"There's no doubt Josh took his game to a new level this year playing a variety of roles and playing with a high level of consistency.

"He was part of our leadership group for the first time this year and everyone at the Giants admires his dedication to the club and playing group."

Kelly was the last of the Giants' major re-signings this season.

Off-contract small forward Devon Smith has indicated he'd like to explore other options during the trade period despite a contract offer from GWS being on the table for several months.

Speedy backman Nathan Wilson is seeking a move to Fremantle while Matthew Kennedy has requested a trade to Carlton.

This story Swans' hard man Luke Parker claims Skilton Medal first appeared on The Age.