MELBOURNE’s Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophy is the club’s top honour, and something that is cherished by the recipient each year.
The best and fairest award is voted on by four members of the club’s match committee, with each player given a score from zero to 10 after every game.
So, after 12 rounds of football in 2019, who would be sitting at the top of the leaderboard?
It would be impossible to look past last year’s winner, Max Gawn.
After a slow start to the season by his lofty standards, the Demons’ ruckman has been phenomenal in recent weeks, with his best performance coming on Queen’s Birthday against the Magpies.
Gawn got the better of Brodie Grundy with 34 disposals and 33 hit outs in a stellar individual effort.
The 27-year-old has been like an extra midfielder for his side this year, averaging 19 disposals around the ground – an impressive effort for a man standing at 208cm.
Gawn’s tap work has been exceptional in 2019, with his efforts against Sydney (55 hit outs) and West Coast (56 hit outs) lifting the Dees.
The vice-captain helps bring his midfielders in the game and would be the likely leader of the best and fairest at this stage of the year.
Last year’s runner up, and 2017 winner, Clayton Oliver, is a chance to regain his crown this season.
Although at times his impact may not have been as prolific as recent years, his output is hard to fault.
Averaging 31 touches per game, Oliver has been a ball magnet yet again in 2019, putting together some incredible performances – in particular his efforts against Geelong (44 disposals) and Gold Coast (38 disposals).
After storming home last season to poll third in the award, James Harmes is continuing to grow as a midfielder in 2019.
The 23-year-old plays a difficult role at times where he looks to negate a star opposition onballer as well as winning his own ball, but it is a role he thrives in.
Harmes’ best outing came in Round 7, where he shut Jaeger O’Meara out of the game after quarter time and picked up 31 disposals himself.
With Steven May and Jake Lever recruited to the club in the past two seasons, Sam Frost wouldn’t have been expecting to be the No.1 defender in 2019, but he has embraced that opportunity.
The key backman has held up well under pressure this year, with some of his best defensive efforts coming against St Kilda, Hawthorn, Gold Coast and Adelaide.
Since being recalled to the side in Round 4, Marty Hore hasn’t put a foot wrong.
The intercept defender has exceeded expectations in his debut season, averaging 18 disposals and six marks a game to become a key member of the Dees’ backline.
Jayden Hunt’s move forward has been a rare positive for Melbourne to date, transforming the speedster’s career.
The former defender now leads his side for goals kicked this season, with 14 to his name in 12 games of footy.
Running off half-back, Christian Salem has been one of the Demons’ most consistent contributors this season.
Salem amassed 32 touches against Port Adelaide, kicking off his own season in style, but was unfortunately concussed during Melbourne’s Round 9 loss to the Eagles.
The 23-year-old then missed the clash with GWS as a result of that incident, before being withdrawn at the last minute in Round 11 due to illness.
Other vote getters
A number of other Demons could be in the running to finish in the top 10, with Angus Brayshaw, Bayley Fritsch, Nathan Jones, Christian Petracca and Jack Viney all playing some strong individual games throughout the season.
With the overall output across the team being notably down, Michael Hibberd, Jake Lever and Steven May could all poll well in the back half of the year if they can get some continuity in their game.