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Blicavs' meteoric rise continues with maiden best-and-fairest award

Mark Blicavs of the Cats in action during the 2015 AFL Round 05 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Geelong Cats at the MCG, Melbourne on May 02, 2015. (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media)
Mark Blicavs was named top Cat on Thursday night

FORMER steeplechaser Mark Blicavs has capped off an incredible rise to win Geelong's best and fairest in just his third year at the club.

The 24-year-old polled 177 votes to win the 'Carji' Greeves Medal by 10 votes from the brilliant Steve Motlop with the skipper and three-time winner Joel Selwood finishing third.

It was an amazing result given Blicavs only returned to play football in 2013 when the club took the chance to put him on the rookie list as a three-year non-registered selection after he represented Australia in athletics.

His elevation to the senior team was extraordinarily quick. He played his first AFL game in the first round of the 2013 season and has played 66 games for the club in just three years despite arriving as a project player. 

This season was his most consistent, playing 21 games and rucking solo for much of the year. He was one of the few Geelong players to stay in form from start to finish, averaging 18 disposals.

He was named in the top five players 11 times, his consistency based on a strong fitness base.  

His work ethic has always impressed the club but in 2015 he took his game and leadership to a new level.

"Mark demonstrated his ability to play well in a variety of roles for us," Cats coach Chris Scott said.

"We used him as a key defender, a midfielder and as a ruckman and he was consistently good in every job we gave him. Mark continues to develop his game and we feel he still has more upside in his development.

"To have earned this award in just his third year of football is a tribute to his work ethic and dedication, and to those that have worked closely with him over the past three years. His willingness to learn and his application to be the best he can be as a professional footballer is second to none."

Season review: Geelong

Motlop achieved his best finish in the count with 441 disposals, 26 goals, 15 goal assists and 81 inside 50s across his 20 games.  

Motlop, who re-signed for two years last month, enjoyed an excellent second-half of the season and was named best player on two occasions. 

He rebounded from a club-imposed suspension in round two and fought through a rough patch where he struggled for confidence to show his explosive brilliance on a consistent basis after the bye.

Selwood, a three-time 'Carji' Greeves medallist, was the Cats' leading disposals getter of the season with 491. Over 20 games he laid 124 tackles, had 139 clearances and kicked 14 goals.

He played with a tag for company throughout the season and continued to be an inspirational player despite being frustrated at times.

Veteran defenders Corey Enright and Tom Lonergan finished fourth and sixth respectively while Cam Guthrie was excellent throughout the year to finish fifth.

Departing veteran Steve Johnson finished in the top 10 and also won the coaches award. The three-time premiership star had an excellent end to his career, performing better as the season went on.

Second-year player Darcy Lang won the club's best young player.

Every week the coaches allocate all 22 players between one and 15 votes and their best 19 weeks are counted towards their final score.

A player may be injured, rested or a substitute at different stages of the year so to ensure that they are not unfairly disadvantaged, each player's 19 highest-scoring games are added together to produce their final score for the season.

2015 'Carji' Greeves Medal top 10:
1. Mark Blicavs 177
2. Steven Motlop 167
3.Joel Selwood 165
4. Corey Enright 157
5. Cameron Guthrie 150
6. Tom Lonergan 133
7. Josh Caddy 122
8. Harry Taylor 121
9. Tom Hawkins 112
10. Steve Johnson 94

Awards:
Coach’s Award: Steve Johnson
Tom Harley Award (Best Clubman): Andrew Mackie
Best Young Player Award: Darcy Lang
Community Champion: Corey Enright
VFL Best & Fairest: Tom Ruggles