Jayden Laverde has received high praise from his teammates, with the defender nominated in two categories for the 2021 AFLPA MVP Awards.

The 25-year-old has been chosen by his peers for the most courageous award, while also joining Darcy Parish and Zach Merrett as the Bombers' three nominees for the prestigious Leigh Matthews Trophy (MVP).

Dyson Heppell is vying for best captain, while Nik Cox is in contention for best first-year player.

Laverde's transformation as a defender has been one of Essendon's success stories of 2021.

Switching from attack to defence, the 25-year-old played every game of the home and away season for the first time in his career, leading the Bombers for marks (138) on the back of his strong intercept game, safe hands, athleticism and courage in the contests.

He has been tasked with minding opposition teams' best key forwards, often succeeding in his head-to-head battles.

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Laverde limits key Sun

Watch defender Jayden Laverde hold Suns star forward Ken King goalless in the Dons' dominant win.

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The winner of the Leigh Matthews Trophy and other AFLPA awards will be revealed on Thursday, September 2.

The nomination for the Leigh Matthews Trophy is a two-step process. The first involves players nominating three teammates for the award, before three nominees from every club are presented to the wider AFL playing group for a vote to decide the winner. Players cannot vote for their own teammates in stage two of the process.

ESSENDON'S NOMINEES - 2021 AFLPA MVP AWARDS

MVP: Jayden Laverde, Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish

Most courageous: Jayden Laverde

Best first-year player: Nik Cox

Best captain: Dyson Heppell