CO-CAPTAIN Nathan Jones has joined Melbourne great Jim Stynes as the only other player in the club’s history to win three successive club best and fairests, after he claimed this year’s Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophy.
Jones, who won the award from Jack Grimes in 2012 and Colin Garland in 2013, won the Truscott Memorial Trophy with 311 votes, from first-year Demon and former Giant Dom Tyson (293 votes) and former Crow and another recruit Bernie Vince (270).
Long-serving Demon Lynden Dunn finished fourth with 264 votes and former Bulldog Daniel Cross, who also had his first season with Melbourne in 2014, rounded out the top five (238).
Jeremy Howe (220 votes), Tom McDonald (212), James Frawley (192), Neville Jetta (191) and Jack Watts (185) finished sixth to 10th respectively.
Despite winning the award in 2012-13, Jones arguably had his finest AFL season in 2014.
Statistically, he amassed career-high numbers in disposals (610), tackles (115), clearances (137), contested possessions (255) and uncontested possessions (355).
The midfielder was consistently among Melbourne’s best performers this year.
Jones’ achievement equals that of Stynes, who won three of his four Melbourne best and fairests in a row from 1995-96-97.
Only Stynes, who also won the Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott in his Brownlow Medal winning season in 1991, and Allan La Fontaine (1935-36 and 1941-42) have won more best and fairests than Jones.
But Jones now joins Jack Mueller (1937, 1939 and 1946), Hassa Mann (1962-63 and 1967) and Laurie Fowler (1975 and 1979-80) to have won three best and fairests for Melbourne.
Tyson, who entered 2014 with just 13 AFL matches to his name – all with Greater Western Sydney, had an outstanding debut season in the red and blue.
The youngster exceeded expectations in 2014 and reaffirmed why GWS originally selected him at No.3 in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft. Tyson also confirmed he was a decade prospect for the red and blue.
Vince, who won Adelaide’s best and fairest in 2009, had 361 kicks for the season – more than any other Demon – and was a strong performer in 2014.
Dunn produced his best AFL season and took his overall game to another level in 2014. He was an outstanding performer in defence and was rewarded with a three-year contract.
Cross, who won the Bulldogs best and fairest in 2008 and finished in the top three another five times in an excellent career at the Whitten Oval, continued his high level of consistency at the Demons.
2014 Melbourne best and fairest results
1 – Winner: Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophy – Nathan Jones (311 votes)
The tenacious ball-winner was Melbourne’s best in 2014. Jones cracked the 600-disposal milestone for the first time and averaged almost 28 disposals per match. He once again played every match, continuing his remarkable resilience.
2 – Second: Sid Anderson Memorial Trophy – Dom Tyson (293)
The first-year Demon and ex-Giant entered 2014 with a handful of matches to his name, and by the season’s end was one of Melbourne’s best players. He showed maturity beyond his 21 years and was an outstanding recruit for the club.
3 – Third: Ron Barassi Snr Memorial Trophy – Bernie Vince (270)
The former Crow had a fine first-up season in the red and blue and proved to be a valuable acquisition. Vince’s third placing was his second best result in a club best and fairest since he won the award with Adelaide in 2009.
4 – Fourth: Ivor Warne-Smith Memorial Trophy – Lynden Dunn (264)
His ninth AFL season was his finest, as he became one of the top defenders in the competition. Dunn was a highly consistent performer across 2014 and he was duly rewarded with his best result in a Melbourne best and fairest count.
5 – Fifth: Dick Taylor Memorial Trophy – Daniel Cross (238)
Despite missing five matches from rounds 15 to 19 with a fractured leg, Cross managed to produce a top first season with Melbourne. Had injury not struck, he may have claimed his seventh top three placing in a club best and fairest.
6 – Jeremy Howe (220)
Played every match in 2014 and transformed into an impressive defender, after making the switch from attack early in the year. Howe’s rebound and drive out of defence was a highlight, as was his durability – he played every match in 2014.
7 – Tom McDonald (212)
Still only 21 years old, the key defender had another strong season and took on greater responsibility down back, with James Frawley spending a large portion of the year in attack. McDonald remains a fine long-term player for the club.
8 – James Frawley (192)
The All-Australian defender played in attack for much of the year to help cover the absence of Mitch Clark and Jesse Hogan. Frawley played some fine matches in his unfamiliar role and took the most Melbourne marks for the season (156).
9 – Neville Jetta (191)
Revived his career and became one of the top stories of the season, after being delisted by the club at the end of the 2013 season. Started 2014 as a rookie and by the season’s end was an important member of the team as a defender.
10 – Jack Watts (185)
Played every match in 2014, achieved career-best numbers in several statistics, including disposals and arguably had his most consistent season. Watts’ durability was once again a feature of his game.
11 – Jack Viney (180)
12 – Rohan Bail (139)
13 – Matt Jones (129)
14 – Jack Grimes (124)
15 – Cameron Pedersen (118)
16 – Chris Dawes (113)
17 – Mark Jamar (109)
18 – Dean Terlich (96)
19 – Colin Garland (95)
20 – Dean Kent (64)
21 – Jay Kennedy-Harris (56)
22 – Jordie McKenzie, Max Gawn (49)
24 – Jake Spencer (36)
25 – Alex Georgiou (34)
26 – Aidan Riley (30)
27 – Christian Salem (27)
28 – Viv Michie (22)
29 – Shannon Byrnes (18)
30 – Jimmy Toumpas (17)
31 – Jack Fitzpatrick (12)
32 – Jack Trengove, Luke Tapscott (8)
34 – Dom Barry (3)
35 – Daniel Nicholson, Michael Evans, Sam Blease (0)