Gawn wins Melbourne Best & Fairest

02 Oct, 2018

Melbourne ruckman and NZ Heritage team member Max Gawn has completed a stellar 2018 campaign, winning the first best-and-fairest award of his career. 

 

The Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial trophy complements the second All Australian selection of the star big man’s 99-game career and the AFL Coaches’ Association Player of the Year gong awarded to Gawn at the end of the home and away season.

Gawn, 26, polled 657 votes to take out Melbourne’s best and fairest at Crown Palladium on Monday night, beating out gun midfielder and last year’s winner Clayton Oliver (595) and the much-improved James Harmes (468).

Co-captain Nathan Jones polled 449 votes to place fourth, while Tom McDonald – despite missing the first five matches of the season through injury – finished fifth with 433.

Angus Brayshaw, who bolted home to astonishingly finish third in this year’s Brownlow Medal count, was sixth in the Demons’ best and fairest award.

Gawn became the first player in AFL history to amass 1000 hit-outs in a single season, leading the League for hit-outs (44.8 average) with 35.7 per cent of those going to advantage.

His work around the ground has improved substantially over the past few years, and the way he was able to push back and help the defence and work his opponent over by running forward of the ball, was just another important trait added to his skillset.

Gawn said the catalyst for his strong performance came down to his strong pre-season in which he lost 10kgs.

“I gave myself a goal at the start of the year, and it was a bit of different goal for me, and it was to have no excuse,” Gawn said on Monday night.

“In 2017 I had a terrible season by my own standards. Yes, I tore my hamstring off the bone, but was that because I wasn’t as fit as I was in 2016? Was that because I didn’t put the work in? Did I slack off in weights? Was my diet not right?

“What happened at the end of the 2017 season hit me pretty hard and I didn’t want to have a season like that again.”

Gawn averaged a career-high 15.8 disposals per game, seeing increases in his contested possessions and uncontested possessions.

Oliver, who earned his first All Australian guernsey, continued his emergence as one of the top inside midfielders in the competition, leading the AFL for total contested possessions, second for tackles and third for total clearances.

First-year utility Bayley Fritsch was 16th, while top draftee Charlie Spargo was 18th, underlining the Demons’ faith in their youth.

Melbourne’s best and fairest votes were cast by four members of the club’s match committee, with the coaches giving players a score from zero to 10 for each game.

Top 10 Leaderboard
1. Max Gawn – 657 votes
2. Clayton Oliver – 595
3. James Harmes – 468
4. Nathan Jones – 449
5. Tom McDonald – 433
6. Angus Brayshaw – 429
7. Jake Melksham – 428
8. Christian Salem – 403
9. Neville Jetta – 383
10. Jordan Lewis – 366

 

Story – afl.com.au

 

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