AFL matches: 26
Disposals per game: 19.4
Contested possessions per game: 7.5
Tackles per game: 3.9
Clearances per game: 2.8
Rebound 50s per game: 1.8
Disposal efficiency: 78%
SHAUN Burgoyne’s career has been built around delivering in the big moments, and he delivered the goods again in 2015.
A veteran of 295 AFL matches, there is very little the skilful utility hasn’t achieved in football.
But his drive for team success was more than evident this year, as he played a key role in the Hawks’ third consecutive premiership triumph and collected his fourth premiership medal (including one with Port Adelaide in 2004).
On an individual level, the 33-year-old enjoyed another exceptional season.
He was the only Hawk to feature in all of the club’s 26 matches, and was a consistent contributor from season start to finish, placing fifth in the Peter Crimmins Medal.
Burgoyne’s flexibility, and ability to play in almost every position on the ground, ensured he had an impact for the Hawks more often than not.
Averaging just shy of 20 disposals per game playing predominantly across half back, but with stints in the midfield and up forward, Burgoyne found enough of the ball to have plenty of influence.
He was also among the Hawks’ leading tacklers, tallying 3.9 tackles on average per game.
Burgoyne was one of the Hawks’ best performers in a Round 1 win against Geelong, collecting 18 disposals and six tackles, and was equally good with 31 disposals against GWS Giants in Round 6.
His first half against Adelaide Crows in Round 12 – where he helped set up the Hawks’ third consecutive win – was exceptional, as he kicked the opening goal on his way to 14 influential disposals at the major break.
A standout in Round 22 against Brisbane Lions with 29 disposals, Burgoyne carried his form into the finals, averaging more than 23 disposals in the Hawks’ three winning finals.
His ability to find space in congestion and spot up teammates with elite kicking was on display frequently – as was his ability to stand tall in big moments.
Two brilliant goals against West Coast Eagles in Round 19 – including a crucial late goal – reinforced that fact, as did a superb grand final performance against the Eagles.
Since 2011, his second season as a Hawk, he has kicked almost 40 per cent of his goals when the margin has been 10 points or less.
But the man with the nickname ‘Silk’ also displayed plenty of courage on plenty of occasions, and his mark in the grand final – running back into a pack with the flight of the ball – was as courageous as it gets.
Now equal second in history for finals played – level with Gordon Coventry (31) and behind only Michael Tuck (39) – Burgoyne rightly sits among illustrious company.
And with a contract for next season, his 16th at AFL level (where all going to plan he will play his 300th AFL game) Burgoyne undoubtedly has plenty more to offer.
GM - Football Operations Chris Fagan says...
“Playing every game this year is a pretty good effort for a bloke of his age, and a great reflection of his professionalism and also the work that our fitness staff do to manage individual players,” Fagan said.
“Since he arrived at the club, Shaun has always been that bloke who can give us a lift whenever we need it.
“It might be that he’s playing down back and we need him to go into the midfield and win a bit of the ball around the stoppages, or he might be the guy who we need to send up forward to get a goal for us.
“He just has an amazing ability to lift when the team needs it, in the big occasions.
“He’s a real moment player, and we’re really pleased for him that he’s now got his fourth premiership – his third as a Hawks player – and we’re sure he’s pleased with the decision he made to come to the club a few years ago.”
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