The AFL Players’ Assocation has announced Essendon’s list of nominees for the 2023 AFLPA Most Valuable Player awards.

Captain Zach Merrett, gun forward Kyle Langford, and reliable defender Jordan Ridley will all be in the running for the Most Valuable Player Award after being voted by their peers.

Merrett averaged 29 disposals across 22 games for the Bombers in an impressive first campaign as skipper, receiving a nomination for the Best Captain Award in the process.


Langford enjoyed a career-best season in 2023 as a deep forward, finishing with 51 goals and 20 goal assists after featuring in every game for the year.


Ridley was a key cog for the Bombers’ defence in 2023 until his untimely quad injury late in the season, averaging 20 disposals and five rebound 50’s in his 17 games for the season.


Young defender Brandon Zerk-Thatcher was also recognised by his teammates with a nomination for the Most Courageous Player Award, frequently putting his body on the line against the competition’s best key forwards.


Emerging midfielder-forward Alwyn Davey Jnr received the nom for the Best First Year Player Award after piecing together 10 games in his debut season with the club.


The award presentation will take place on Wednesday, August 30.

Essendon AFLPA Awards nominations

AFL Players’ Most Valuable Player Award
Zach Merrett, Kyle Langford, Jordan Ridley

AFL Players’ Best First Year Player Award
Alwyn Davey Jr

AFL Players’ Best Captain Award
Zach Merrett

AFL Players’ Most Courageous Player Award
Brandon Zerk-Thatcher