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Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis edged out as Eagles club champion

West Coast Eagles Eric Mackenzie in action during the 2014 AFL Round 10 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the West Coast Eagles at the MCG, Melbourne on May 24, 2014. (Photo: Greg Ford/AFL Media)
Key defender Eric Mackenzie has won his first John Worsfold Medal as West Coast's best and fairest
WEST Coast key defender Eric Mackenzie has held off 2014 Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis to claim the John Worsfold Medal as the Eagles best and fairest for the first time. 

Mackenzie was narrowly edged by out by Priddis in last year's count but he reversed the result this year with another phenomenal season to become the ninth key defender to win the Eagles' best and fairest. 

The Eagles changed their voting system under new coach Adam Simpson with players receiving a score of 0 to 3 from the five members of the match committee for their performance each week, meaning a player could score a maximum of 15 votes per game. 

Mackenzie topped the count with 201 votes, 11 votes clear of Priddis, after both men played all 22 matches. 

"I did not see that coming at the start of the night," Mackenzie said.
 
"He had phenomenal year Pridda.
 
"It hasn't sunk in yet. It's still surreal." 
 
Both players were nominated for the All Australian 40-man squad this season but neither was named in the final 22. 
 
"That doesn't faze me in the slightest," Mackenzie said of missing All Australian selection.
 
"I'm not too fussed about that. This is a club thing and you want to be recognised within the club."
 
The key defender was asked by coach Adam Simpson to take on more of a leadership role in 2014 due to the retirement of his mentor and captain Darren Glass. Mackenzie said earlier this season he didn't feel like a leader but after winning the best and fairest he acknowledged he felt differently.
 
"Yeah I do now," Mackenzie said.
 
"I had the responsibility put on me this year to actually captain the side a couple of times and I think that made me step up my leadership a bit more."

While Mackenzie won his first best and fairest following another outstanding season in defence, it was the third time Priddis had finished runner-up. 

The ball magnet has finished in the top five on six occasions now and his worst finish in eight full seasons in the AFL was eighth in 2012. In his first season as a rookie in 2006, Priddis played just two AFL games but won the Sandover Medal in the WAFL with a record vote tally.   

Luke Shuey finished third (148 votes) ahead of Andrew Gaff (138) and Jack Darling (126). It is the third consecutive season Darling has finished in the top five. 

West Coast's leading goalkicker Josh Kennedy finished sixth.

Veteran defender Sam Butler was awarded the Chris Mainwaring Medal for best clubman while exciting key-position prospect Jeremy McGovern was named rookie of the year after an impressive debut season. 

JOHN WORSFOLD MEDAL TOP 10
1. Eric Mackenzie (201)
2. Matt Priddis (190)
3. Luke Shuey (148)
4. Andrew Gaff (138)
5. Jack Darling (126)
6. Josh Kennedy (120)
7. Shannon Hurn (115)
7. Chris Masten (115)
9. Nic Naitanui (103)
10. Jamie Cripps (99)

OTHER AWARDS
Chris Mainwaring Medal (best clubman): Sam Butler
Leading goalkicker: Josh Kennedy  (61 goals)
Rookie of the year: Jeremy McGovern
Life membership: Shannon Hurn, Matt Rosa, Gary Greer
Eagles in the Community Award: Beau Waters, Chris Summer (staff)