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Melbourne Football Club

Who will win this year’s ‘Bluey’?


WILL Clayton Oliver cap off a remarkable second season to win this year’s Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophy?

Or can Michael Hibberd claim All-Australian honours and Melbourne’s best and fairest all in the same season – his first at the club?

Maybe it’ll be one of the co-captains again?

Could Nathan Jones claim his fourth ‘Bluey’, equalling the club record set by Allan La Fontaine and Jim Stynes. Or will Jack Viney go back-to-back?

All these questions and more will be revealed on Monday night at Crown Palladium, when Melbourne’s best and fairest winner will be announced.

Although Oliver, Hibberd, Jones and Viney loom as the leading contenders, the likes of Neville Jetta, Jordan Lewis and Jeff Garlett can’t be dismissed.

Oliver was awarded the 2017 AFL Coaches’ Association best young player of the year and finished seventh overall in this season’s AFLCA player of the year votes. But remarkably, he was left out of this year’s All-Australian squad of 40.

The 20-year-old, 35-gamer finished with the most handballs, second most contested possessions, third most clearances, fourth most tackles and fifth most disposals in the competition this season.

Despite an injury-interrupted start to 2017, Hibberd was named in the back-pocket in this year’s All-Australian team, after a brilliant first season in the red and blue. His attacking style and rebound was critical for the Demons. 

Although injuries also interrupted Viney and Jones’ season, they played some outstanding football that will put them right in the best and fairest mix.

Jetta finally gained the plaudits outside of the club – he was named in the initial All-Australian squad of 40 this year – for his tenacious and courageous style of play down back.

Garlett was also named in the All-Australian squad of 40 for another fine season in attack. His ability to kick goals and provide defensive pressure was another key part of Melbourne’s game this year.

Four-time premiership player Jordan Lewis made a genuine impact in his first year at Melbourne after a decorated career at Hawthorn.

And although roughies, the likes of Jayden Hunt, Tom McDonald, Christian Petracca, Cam Pedersen and Dom Tyson will be pushing for top five to 10 places in this year’s best and fairest award.

2017 Melbourne best and fairest leading contenders (in alphabetical order)

Jeff Garlett: Named in All-Australian squad after kicking 42 goals – his best return at Melbourne and the fifth time he has kicked 39 goals or more in a season. An outside chance.

Michael Hibberd: His first year at Melbourne was also his best AFL season. Rewarded with All-Australian selection this year, Hibberd is a genuine chance to win this year’s best and fairest. 

Jayden Hunt: The dashing half-back played every game in 2017 and reinforced why he is a critical long-term part of Melbourne’s plans. A chance to sneak into top five.

Neville Jetta: Capped off his best AFL season with selection in the All-Australian squad. Regarded as one of the most courageous and best small defenders in the game. In the mix.

Nathan Jones: Although sidelined for six matches, the three-time Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Trophy winner had another fine year. Could he win his fourth, equalling the club record held by Allan La Fontaine and Jim Stynes?

Jordan Lewis: The four-time premiership player provided strong leadership and direction in his first year at the club. A chance to win his second club best and fairest award.

Tom McDonald: The defender-turned-forward and pinch-hitting ruckman became an important swingman for the team and produced some impressive displays in attack. A roughie to win.

Clayton Oliver: Produced an incredible second season, finishing 2017 as one of the game’s best midfielders. Won AFLCA best young player of the year award and is hot favourite to win first ‘Bluey’.

Cameron Pedersen: The versatile tall produced his best AFL season, stepping up in the ruck or attack in the absence of several key players. A popular figure among fans, he’s an outside prospect.

Christian Petracca: Played every game in 2017, after debuting last year. Kicked 26 goals for the season – second to Garlett. One of game’s most exciting young players. Chance for placing.

Dom Tyson: Although knee problems interrupted his start to the season and in the latter part of the year, the midfielder remained a critical member. Outside chance for top five. 

Jack Viney: The first-year co-captain – and reigning best and fairest winner – had another fine season, despite missing four of the final eight matches with a foot injury. Could he go back-to-back?