AFTER finishing runner-up in 2015, outstanding young midfielder Jack Viney has gone one better this year, winning the 2016 Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophy at Crown Palladium on Tuesday night.
Viney, who was pipped by just one vote last year, when Bernie Vince won the club best and fairest, managed to edge captain Nathan Jones by eight votes.
In the end, Viney won the award with 407 votes to Jones’ 399, after the pair was locked on 340 votes each after 19 rounds.
In the process, Viney managed to take home his first club champion and eclipse Jones from winning his fourth ‘Bluey’, which would’ve equaled a club record, shared by Melbourne greats Allan La Fontaine and Jim Stynes.
Viney also helped create some club history by joining father Todd, who won Melbourne’s best and fairest in 1993 and 1998, as the first father/son pair to win the Truscott Memorial Trophy.
Ruckman Max Gawn (374 votes), who was named in the 2016 All-Australian team last week, came third.
Ball-winner Dom Tyson, who finished runner-up in 2014, came fourth with 357 votes and forward Jack Watts finished a career-high fifth (308 votes) – his first top 10 placing – reaffirming his best AFL season.
Rounding out the top 10 was key defender Tom McDonald (306) in sixth, followed by Vince (287), goalkicker Jesse Hogan (261), backman Neville Jetta (260) and forward Dean Kent (235).
From 11th to 19th, the list was highlighted by several youngsters: Jayden Hunt (230), Christian Petracca (171), Oscar McDonald (171), Josh Wagner (158), Jeff Garlett (152), Billy Stretch (149), Tomas Bugg (148), Aaron vandenBerg (128) and James Harmes (127).
Viney led the count after the first five rounds, before Jones took the lead by four votes after 12 rounds.
But it came down to a battle between the two late in the season, before Viney’s last four games got him over the line.
For Viney, it’s a fine feat, given he still only 22 years old, hasn’t played 100 games – he finished the season on 70 matches – and has just notched up his fourth AFL season.
He missed one match for the season through suspension and a broken hand. Incredibly, the injury only kept him out for one week.
Although Jones didn’t become the third Melbourne player to win the award four times, he did notch up his fifth top two placing – a first-class achievement.
He also finished runner-up in 2007 – in just his second year – and won the award in three consecutive years from 2012-14.
Stynes is the only other player to have won the best and fairest three years in a row.
Gawn’s first top three placing came after a brilliant year, which saw him become the No.1 ruckman in the competition.
Ever since midway through 2015, Gawn has taken his game to another level and become a dominant player in the game.
Tyson fought back from an injury-interrupted 2015 to produce the type of form that netted him second in the best and fairest in 2014.
And Watts’ performance this year was testament to his character after dealing with intense scrutiny throughout his career.
2016 Melbourne best and fairest results
Jack Viney (407 votes) – First: Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophy
Nathan Jones (399) – Second: Sid Anderson Memorial Trophy
Max Gawn (374) – Third: Ron Barassi Senior Memorial Trophy
Dom Tyson (357) – Fourth: Ivor Warne Smith Memorial Trophy
Jack Watts (308) – Fifth: Dick Taylor Memorial Trophy
Tom McDonald (306)
Bernie Vince (287)
Jesse Hogan (261)
Neville Jetta (260)
Dean Kent (235)
Jayden Hunt (230)
Christian Petracca (171)
Oscar McDonald (159)
Josh Wagner (158)
Jeff Garlett (152)
Billy Stretch (149)
Tomas Bugg (148)
Aaron vandenBerg (128)
James Harmes (127)
Clayton Oliver (127)
Ben Kennedy (122)
Sam Frost (110)
Angus Brayshaw (101)
Matt Jones (80)
Christian Salem (77)
Heritier Lumumba (65)
Cam Pedersen (48)
Chris Dawes (30)
Viv Michie (23)
Colin Garland (17)
Alex Neal-Bullen (17)
Jack Grimes (12)
Sam Weideman (12)
Ben Newton (11)
Mitch White (11)
Lynden Dunn (7)
Jack Trengove (6)
Liam Hulett (0)
Jay Kennedy-Harris (0)
Max King (0)
Mitchell King (0)
Joel Smith (0)
Jake Spencer (0)
Dean Terlich (0)