Rake's Rave: A ruckman's recognition is well deserved

Rockingham ruckman Steve Kenny was given a standing ovation as he walked to the podium to accept the 2019 Ross Elliott Medal on Monday night.

It's a scene we've known many times in the past, but for once, the man walking up to the dais stood about half a foot taller than the bulk of the room.

As most footy fans know, these league-wide fairest and best accolades are usually reserved for the elite midfielders.

You'd have to go back to 2010 to find the last time a non-midfielder won the PFNL's highest individual accolade, and even in the AFL it was 2006 when Adam Goodes took the honour.

Hell, Rod Tregenza kicked 223 goals in a season and still wasn't crowned the league's best player in 2008.

While I understand why midfielders garner so much praise for their efforts, it's always a shame to see an unrelenting defender, or an unbeatable forward go without reward.

So to see Kenny making his way to the stage, you couldn't help but feel the umps got this one right.

Kenny celebrates one of his 15 goals this season with teammates. Photo: Justin Rake.

Kenny celebrates one of his 15 goals this season with teammates. Photo: Justin Rake.

Most people at Anniversary Park will tell you it's impossible to find a player more deserving of the award, and that's a difficult claim to refute.

Last year Kenny battled through a broken foot for almost the entire season, refusing to go under the knife with the Rams eyeing finals footy for the first time in years.

He spent the year playing through pain, manning the fort in defence as he took on some of the league's elite forwards.

This year he moved to a different role, stepping into the ruck and dominating contests around the ground on his way to the Ross Elliott Medal.

It's these sorts of efforts (the playing through pain, the switching of positions, the selfless team attitude) that can often go unrewarded when we hand out these end-of-season medals.

But this year we didn't miss them, and it's excellent to see contribution to the team valued over possessions for once.