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Heppell's rise continues with dominant Essendon best and fairest victory

Dyson Heppell of the Bombers marks the ball during the 2014 AFL Round 15 match between the Geelong Cats and the Essendon Bombers at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on June 27, 2014. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Dyson Heppell's brilliant season has finished with a dominant win in Essendon's best and fairest award
With Jobe out injured earlier this year, Dyson stood up time and time again, and from a coaching perspective that was great to watch
Mark Thompson, on Dyson Heppell
DYSON Heppell has added another honour to his first All Australian season by taking out his maiden club best and fairest title on Wednesday night.

The 22-year-old won Essendon's Crichton Medal from defender Cale Hooker in front of a sell-out crowd at Crown Palladium.

The honour followed on from his excellent season that not only saw him named on the wing in the All Australian team last month but also as captain of the under-22 team for the second straight year.

Heppell polled 520 votes to win from Hooker (354), with Brendon Goddard third with 279.

The emerging midfielder said he was humbled and honoured to have won the club's top prize.
 
"To be named the best and fairest winner of the Essendon Football Club is a tremendous honour," Heppell said.
 
"I've been looking through the list of past winners and it's something I'll really cherish.
 
"It's such a great footy club and we're going to some really great places – I truly believe that – and it's such a fantastic list and I can't wait to see what the future brings."
 
Heppell also said he would love to see Mark Thompson remain at the club in 2015, after the interim coach earlier suggested he wanted to stay in the top job.
 

"You've been awesome for us this year, mate," he said.
 
"We'd love to have you around."
 
Goddard also threw his support behind Thompson, who will head overseas on Thursday for a fortnight.
 
"It's been one year but it's been a hell of a ride," Goddard said.
 
"Hopefully you stick by us regardless of the situation because you're really valued and I know that for us to achieve greatness you've really got to be on board.
 
"We've gone through enough together that I hope you don't jump ship mate."

Hooker was also a first-time All Australian this year, named in the back pocket.

Michael Hibberd (277) and David Zaharakis (250) rounded out the top five, with Michael Hurley (242) and Patrick Ryder (241) next.

Thompson said Heppell, who played 22 games and averaged more than 28 touches, had gone to another level this season in the absence of Jobe Watson for two months.

He started the season across half-back but moved into the midfield on a more permanent basis as the year progressed, where he became the most prolific Essendon player when it came to tackles.

"Dyson is a terrific young man and he's a really easy player to coach," Thompson said.

"He is only young, but has started to prove he will be a future leader of this football club.

"With Jobe out injured earlier this year, Dyson stood up time and time again, and from a coaching perspective that was great to watch. He demands the best from himself and his teammates.

"He's been close the last couple of seasons, so to win this award, I think, is reward for his hard work and preparation. He is going to be exciting to watch over the next few seasons."

Heppell was also named best clubman and won the cheer squad award.

Top 10
Dyson Heppell - 520
Cale Hooker - 354
Brendon Goddard - 279
Michael Hibberd - 277
David Zaharakis - 250
Michael Hurley - 242
Patrick Ryder - 241
Mark Baguley - 240
Paul Chapman - 231
Brent Stanton - 227

Bruce Heymanson best team player – Heath Hocking
Bill Hutchison community award – Cale Hooker
Cheersquad award – Dyson Heppell
RA Freeman VFL best and fairest – Ariel Steinberg
John Kilby best clubman – Dyson Heppell
Matthew Lloyd leading goal kicker – Joe Daniher
Lindsay Griffiths rising star – Joe Daniher
Most improved player – Travis Colyer
Adam Ramanauskas most courageous player – Mark Baguley
Best defensive player – David Myers

Twitter: @AFL_JenPhelan