Family tragedy hurting premiership star
Jayden Short fought back tears during an emotional speech as he reflected on a tough year after winning Richmond's Best and Fairest award.
The 24-year-old beat Norm Smith Medallist Dustin Martin for the Jack Dyer Medal as the Tigers continue to celebrate their 31-point Grand Final win over Geelong on Saturday night.
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Short was brilliant in the decider but 2020 has been harder for him than most. He wore a black armband every game this season after his dad died early in the year and the defender was overcome when talking about his mum, sister and girlfriend, who have been enduring lockdown in Melbourne.
As his voice cracked, Martin - who was standing behind sShort - put a reassuring hand on his mate's shoulder.
"Obviously 2020 started pretty s**t for me. I lost my old man," Short said during his acceptance speech. "I didn't know what was going to happen this year.
"To win this it's an amazing feeling and it's a little bit of recognition for a little bit of hard work that I've had to put in along the way.
"I love this club, I love this group, the coaches.
"I just want to say thanks to my mum, my sister, my girlfriend. They're doing it tough in Melbourne. Left my mum and my sister at home, lost my old man so that's pretty challenging in itself.
"But I'm proud of you guys and I love you to bits.
"Thanks to my girlfriend for all the support, all my mates back home, all you players, coaches and the staff for making this such an enjoyable place.
"I've honestly loved my time here. Obviously it's had its challenges this year but it's an unbelievable place to be and I love everyone.
"Sorry if I've missed anyone, but thanks."
A deserving winner, Short received 53 votes to Martin's 50 and Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was full of pride for his start pupil.
"To hear him speak today about his family and the fact he lost his father earlier in the year was incredibly moving," Hardwick told Fox Footy's On The Couch.
"It's an incredible honour to his dad, he strived for that. He really gets the reward he deserves.
"He's a very, very important player to us, the way he moves the ball. He's an outstanding teammate, he's very popular amongst our playing group.
"He's probably a little bit underrated but he had an incredible season and it's well deserved."
Short had an exceptional year, gaining 400m or more in 13 home-and-away games to sit top of the pile across the entire AFL in 2020.
Jayden Short wins the RICH B&F— Swamp (@sirswampthing) October 26, 2020
2020 H&A games with 400+ metres gained
1x: 68 players
9x: Brayden Maynard, Lachie Neale, Zach Merrett
10x: Patrick Dangerfield, Brodie Smith
11x: Jake Lloyd
13x: JAYDEN SHORT
RICHMOND BEST AND FAIREST (TOP 10)
1. Jayden Short - 53 votes
2. Dustin Martin - 50
3. Nick Vlastuin - 49
4. Shai Bolton - 44
5. Kamdyn McIntosh - 43
6. Liam Baker - 42
7. Dylan Grimes - 41
8. Noah Balta - 40
9. Kane Lambert - 39
10. Trent Cotchin - 37
Originally published as Family tragedy hurting premiership star