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Sloane joins Adelaide greats with second club champion award

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Rory Sloane of the Crows in action during the 2016 AFL First Semi Final match between the Sydney Swans and the Adelaide Crows at the Sydney Cricket Ground on September 17, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Rory Sloane has won the Malcolm Blight Medal for the second time
We're not going to rest until we win a flag
Rory Sloane

RORY Sloane has joined illustrious company in becoming just the sixth player in Adelaide history to claim multiple Malcolm Blight Medals.

The Crows star was recognised for a career-best season at the club's gala ball at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Friday night.

Best and fairest honours turned into a race in two, with Sloane (268) edging clear of superstar goal-sneak Eddie Betts (249).

Fellow forward Tom Lynch (215), key defender Daniel Talia (192) and captain Taylor Walker (185) rounded out the top five.

It's the second time Sloane has won the club's highest individual accolade after his victory in 2013.

"This group we have at the moment is so young and driven and that gets me so excited for the years to come," Sloane said on accepting the award.

"It certainly burns inside us how we played on the weekend against Sydney.

"We had a great year and we definitely improved, but we know we've got a long way to go.

"We're not going to rest until we win a flag."

He joins clubs legends Andrew McLeod (1997, 2001, 2007), Mark Ricciuto (1998, 2003-04), Ben Hart (1999, 2002), Simon Goodwin (2000, 2005-06) and Scott Thompson (2011-12) as the only players to win more than one gold jacket.

Sloane became the key cog of the Crows' midfield this season after the departure of Patrick Dangerfield – last year's club champion – to Geelong.

Sloane responded with career-high numbers in possessions per game (25.2) and tackles (7.1).

The 26-year-old was rewarded with selection in the All Australian team for the first time and finished second to Dangerfield in the AFL Players' Association's Most Valuable Player award.

Sloane played in 23 of the club's 24 games this season, but his importance to the Crows showed in the one game he missed.

The Crows delivered their worst performance of the season in a round 23 loss to West Coast that saw them slip from second to fifth on the ladder heading into the finals.

Sloane was serving a one-game suspension for a hit on Port Adelaide's Brad Ebert.

After finishing third in Adelaide's best and fairest last year, Betts went one step better on the back of another terrific season.

The 29-year-old kicked 75 goals to be the third highest goal-kicker in the competition behind Coleman Medallist Josh Kennedy and Lance Franklin.

Betts also delivered several contenders for goal and mark of the year while providing wonderful defensive pressure in the forward half of the ground.

Lynch's third placing was his highest finish at Adelaide's best and fairest since joining the club in 2012.

The 26-year-old enhanced his status as one of the League's best mobile forwards with 42 goals along with a top-15 ranking in marks and goal assists.

Adelaide's five coaches award each player between zero and four votes per game to decide the winner of the Malcolm Blight Medal.

Malcolm Blight Medal top 10
1. Rory Sloane – 268
2. Eddie Betts – 249
3. Tom Lynch – 215
4. Daniel Talia – 192
5. Taylor Walker – 185
6. Brodie Smith – 183
7. Matt Crouch – 180
8. Kyle Hartigan – 173
9. Charlie Cameron – 168
10. Josh Jenkins – 167