NEXT Monday’s Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophy will be hotly contested, with several Demons firming as a chance to claim the award for Melbourne’s best and fairest player.
After Angus Brayshaw and Max Gawn recorded top five placings in the 2018 Brownlow Medal, it would be easy to assume the pair are a lock to bring home the award.
However there are a number of other strong contenders for the award, including Clayton Oliver, James Harmes and Tom McDonald who all had superb seasons.
We look back at some of the contenders for the 2018 awards night next Monday, which will be live-streamed through the club's digital channels.
It’s hard to think of a ruckman in the past decade of football who has pulled together a better season than Max Gawn in 2018.
Gawn was vital to feeding Melbourne’s midfield dominance and his ruck mastery was demonstrated when he smashed past the VFL/AFL record for hit outs in a season with 1119.
The big man has already picked up two accolades in 2018, with All-Australian selection and the AFL Coaches Association Award
If successful, Gawn would be the first ruckman to win the Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Trophy since Jeff White in 2004. Jim Stynes also claimed the award four times in 1991, 1995, 1996 and 1997.
After starting the season in the VFL, Brayshaw surprised many on Monday night by finishing third in the Brownlow Medal count with 21 votes.
The Brownlow placing was testament to Brayshaw’s improved work-rate this season, where he averaged 26.1 disposals per game and led the club for inside 50s at an average of 5.1 per game.
After his better-than-expected Brownlow finish, expect Brayshaw to poll well in the back half of the season at Monday night’s Best and Fairest.
Oliver is a very strong chance to claim back-to-back ‘Bluey’ Truscott Trophies after winning the award in 2017.
At the end of the year, Oliver led the club in disposals (734), clearances (162), contested possessions (405) and tackles (168).
In 2018, Oliver was rewarded with his first All-Australian blazer, which was a clear sign of his emergence as one of the game’s best inside midfielders.
James Harmes has been another revelation in 2018 and will be a firm outside chance to go home with the trophy.
One of his best performances came against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium in round 18, when he was deployed as a tagger on Joel Selwood.
Not only did he keep the Geelong skipper in check, but Harmes also ended the night with a very respectable 26 disposals and 10 tackles.
Harmes could go under the radar on Monday night after ending the season with a tidy average of 21.3 disposals and 5.2 tackles per game.
The 26-year-old had his best season in red and blue this year, blossoming as a key forward after starting his footy life as a defender.
His full-time move into the forward line paid dividends after McDonald became the first Demon to kick more than 50 goals in a season since Brad Green in 2010. In total, he kicked a goal in all but two of the 20 games he played in 2018.
McDonald’s best match of 2018 came in round 11, when he wreaked havoc on the Western Bulldogs’ defence with 24 disposals, four goals and five inside 50s.
Jesse Hogan, Neville Jetta, Jake Melksham, Nathan Jones, Christian Petracca.