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Lynch pips young defender to be Suns' best

Tom Lynch has won his first best and fairest award - ${keywords}
Tom Lynch has won his first best and fairest award

TOM LYNCH has won the Gold Coast best and fairest award, winning a tight count at Southport's Sharks Event Centre on Friday night. 

Lynch (131 votes) used a stirring second half of the season to edge out second-year defender Kade Kolodjashnij (129).

Reliable full-back Steven May (102) was third despite missing three matches after being suspended for an early-season bump on Brisbane Lions captain Tom Rockliff.

Lynch went one step better than last year, where he finished second to David Swallow, and becomes just the third Sun behind Swallow and three-time winner Gary Ablett to claim the award. 

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"I think at the end of my career I can look book and be proud that I've won a club best and fairest," Lynch said.

"When I got drafted all I wanted to do was play one game. I'm quite proud I've managed to win a club best and fairest." 

Among the first players to congratulate Lynch was fellow forward Charlie Dixon, who attended the night after requesting a trade to Port Adelaide earlier in the week.

Harley Bennell, who will be traded in the upcoming exchange period, did not attend.

Lynch, 22, took the lead from Kolodjashnij following a 21-disposal, 11-mark, four-goal performance against Adelaide in round 17 and hung on to win.

Lynch played 20 games, kicked 43 goals and took the most contested marks in the league (51). 

He is in the Suns' leadership group and backed up a breakout 2014 season where he kicked 46 goals. 

The Victorian agreed it was the best season of his career, but said he didn't hold great hopes of winning coming into the night. 

"I think it's probably been my most consistent year, particularly the second half of the year," Lynch said.

"I thought 'Kola' had a really consistent year, he polled 11 of the first 13 games.

"I thought 'Rischa's (Michael Rischitelli) first half of the year was really impressive. I thought those were the two."

In a system where coach Rodney Eade and his four assistants can each award a maximum of five votes a game to each player – for a maximum of 25 a game – Lynch stole his win with 80 votes between rounds 15 and 21.

Lynch also won the Players' Player award, while Kolodjashnij was named the Most Improved.

Kolodjashnij, the young Tasmanian taken at pick No.5 in the 2013 AFL Draft, built on an excellent debut season, playing all 22 games and averaging 22 disposals. 

The 20-year-old was one of just two Suns to play every game, along with first-year player Touk Miller, who finished an impressive fourth. 

Gold Coast club champion top 10
1st – Tom Lynch 131
2nd – Kade Kolodjashnij 129
3rd – Steven May 102
4th – Touk Miller 77
5th – Michael Rischitelli 64
6th – Charlie Dixon 63
7th – Aaron Hall 60
8th – Adam Saad 48
9th – Gary Ablett 46
10th – Brandon Matera 41