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Vince ends Jones' streak as No.1 Demon

Bernie Vince capped off a sensational season with his maiden best and fairest award at Melbourne - ${keywords}
Bernie Vince capped off a sensational season with his maiden best and fairest award at Melbourne

BERNIE Vince has ended Nathan Jones' three-year best and fairest streak, claiming his maiden Keith 'Bluey' Truscott Memorial Trophy at Crown Palladium on Friday night.

Vince, who polled 328 votes, edged out emerging onballer Jack Viney by just one vote in a thrilling count, to add to the best and fairest award he won at Adelaide in 2009.

Tom McDonald's outstanding start to the season, which saw him feature in the All Australian discussion, was enough to steer the key defender (300 votes) into third place.

Vince, 29, made special mention of coach-in-waiting Simon Goodwin, who will take the reins in 2017, revealing he was the one who first taught him the standards he needed to abide by during their time at the Crows.

"Since I first set foot inside the Adelaide Football Club I always looked up to him but he didn't always look on me that well for the first couple of years," Vince said.

"He took me under his wing in 2007 and he taught me how to train and taught me how to play at the elite level and I never thought I was an elite level player until he told me that.

"I thank him so much for this year – he's been fantastic for me."

Young star forward Jesse Hogan complemented his NAB AFL Rising Star award, which was presented on Wednesday, to finish in fourth place, while captain Jones rounded out the top five.

The votes are cast by four members of Melbourne's match committee, who give players a score out of 10 for each game.

Jones entered the count seeking to join Melbourne legends Allan La Fontaine and Jim Stynes as the only players to have won four best and fairests for the club.

But it was Vince's most consistent season in the AFL that saw Jones' streak of three successive victories snapped. 

Vince also spoke about the bond he now shares with Jones after what he said was a rocky beginning.

"He made it bloody tough for me to get to know him early but this year I've created a bond that I'll never forget," Vince said.

"I think that's why I've had such a good season this year is how closely we've worked together and how we've challenged each other at times."

In his second year at Melbourne, Vince adapted to a new role as a run-with player – his battle with Adelaide's Patrick Dangerfield in round three was particularly notable – in fine style.

However, the former Crow was not just focused on tagging his opponent as he continually found a way to balance attack and defence.

Vince averaged 24.7 disposals per game in 2015, with career-highs in tackles (4.8), clearances (5.3) and contested possessions (10.19) pointing to the more-rounded inside/outside game he developed.

He was also desperately unlucky to miss out on selection in the All Australian squad of 40 released earlier this week.

Viney's second place finish was an exceptional achievement considering the 21-year-old missed six games between rounds three and eight due to a fractured fibula.

Melbourne's targeted recruiting policy earned another tick, with former Blue and small forward Jeff Garlett – who kicked 40 goals for the season – placing eighth.

Fellow recruit Heritier Lumumba finished in 16th position.

The out-of-contract Jeremy Howe, who has been linked with a move to Gold Coast, finished in ninth.

Complementing Jesse Hogan's fourth-place finish, fellow young gun Angus Brayshaw was 11th, missing the top 10 by just two votes.

2015 Keith 'Bluey' Truscott Medal Leaderboard: 
1. Bernie Vince (328 votes)
2. Jack Viney (327)
3. Tom McDonald (300)
4. Jesse Hogan (286)
5. Nathan Jones (270)
6. Daniel Cross (242)
7. Colin Garland (218)
8. Jeff Garlett (216)
9. Jeremy Howe (151)
10. Lynden Dunn (148) 

Other awards:
Norm Smith Memorial Trophy (Coaches Award): Jack Viney 
Ron Barassi Jnr Trophy (Leadership Award): Jack Trengove and Daniel Cross
Harold Ball Memorial Trophy (Best Young Player): Jesse Hogan
Ian Ridley Memorial Trophy (Club Ambassador Award): Neville Jetta
James McDonald Trophy (Heart and Spirit Award): Jack Viney
Troy Broadbridge Memorial Trophy (Best Melbourne-listed player in the VFL): Aidan Riley
Best Female Player Award: Daisy Pearce