Clifton and Valenti share the 2010 JJ Liston Trophy

NORTH Ballarat rover Stephen Clifton and Port Melbourne midfielder Shane Valenti have jointly won the 2010 JJ Liston Trophy.

Clifton and Valenti were locked on 20 votes for the VFL’s highest individual honour at the end of a dramatic count tonight at Etihad Stadium.

With votes for the final home and away remaining, Valenti led by two votes. While he failed to secure a vote, Clifton collected two votes to tie.

It’s the first time since 2005 when Melbourne ruckman Paul Johnson, then playing with Sandringham, and Tasmania rover Ian Callinan were tied there has been a deadheat in the Liston.

Box Hill Hawks Ed Curnow, who led the Liston count until he was injured in Round 13, finished third with 13 votes with Gold Coast teenager David Swallow fourth on 12 votes.

Valenti polled votes in seven games with six best-on-grounds while Clifton collected votes in one more game and gained four maximum three votes games and four two vote games.

For Valenti, it was a fitting reward as he finished runner-up in the 2007 JJ Liston Trophy behind Geelong’s James Byrne. He also boasted a top 10 finish last season.

Valenti, 23, joined Port Melbourne this season after he was delisted by Melbourne after three seasons on their list. He played 15 AFL games and his VFL career tally sits on 82 games.

He is the first player in the VFL’s history to win the Fothergill/Round Medal and Liston Trophy and is Port Melbourne’s seventh individual Liston Trophy winner.

Rover Steven Harkins was the last Port Melbourne player to win a Liston back in 1990 when he was part of an historic four way tie with Oakleigh’s Joe Garbuio, Preston’s Matt Burrows and Springvale’s Stuart Nichol.

Clifton, who progressed to North Ballarat from TAC Cup club North Ballarat Rebels in 2006, is coming off a career season.

The 23-year-old represented the VFL for the first time in its crushing win against West Australia earlier in the season, played every game for the Roosters this season and is a pivotal player in the club’s quest for a third successive premiership.

He has played 92 VFL games.

Clifton provides North Ballarat with its third Liston trophy winner following on from Julian Field (2004) and last year’s winner Myles Sewell, who received just five votes in 2010.

JJ LISTON TROPHY LEADER BOARD
STEPHEN CLIFTON (North Ballarat) 20
SHANE VALENTI (Port Melbourne) 20
ED CURNOW (Box Hill Hawks) 13
DAVID SWALLOW (Gold Coast) 12
MICHAEL STOCKDALE (Casey Scorpions) 11
MARCUS MARIGLIANI (Bendigo Bombers) 11
MATTHEW LITTLE (Williamstown) 11
COREY JONES (North Ballarat) 10
ROBBIE CASTELLO (Werribee) 10
DOM GLEESON (Werribee) 10
BRETT JOHNSON (Williamstown) 10




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