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Second-year Demon wins B&F by 184 votes

Clayton Oliver has won his maiden Keith 'Bluey' Truscott Memorial Trophy  - AFL,Melbourne Demons,Clayton Oliver
Clayton Oliver has won his maiden Keith 'Bluey' Truscott Memorial Trophy

SECOND-YEAR Melbourne midfielder Clayton Oliver's has been rewarded for his stellar breakout season with a maiden Keith 'Bluey' Truscott Memorial Trophy at Crown Palladium on Monday night. 

Oliver broke away from the field to win the Demons' 2017 best and fairest award, claiming 530 votes to win by a momentous 184 votes from last year's winner and co-captain Jack Viney.

Viney finished in second place, despite missing four games, with 346 votes. 

Veteran midfielders Nathan Jones, a three-time winner of the 'Bluey,' and key recruit Jordan Lewis tied for third on 327 votes. 

Underrated defender Neville Jetta (321 votes) was fourth, while the club's only representative in the All Australian side, Michael Hibberd, was sixth (318). 

 

Top 10 best and fairest from every club

But it was all about Oliver, who at just 20, is already one of the elite inside midfielders in the AFL. 

The youngster was slightly overwhelmed on stage as he accepted the prestigious award, but was quick to claim the Demons were headed in the right direction.

"I honestly feel like we're on the way up," Oliver said. 

"I wasn't there for the bad times but hopefully we're all here for the good times."

Oliver polled votes in every match and had the most votes in seven of Melbourne's 22 matches.

The best and fairest votes are cast by four members of Melbourne's match committee, who gave players a score from 0-10 for each game.  

Oliver was adjudged as the AFL Coaches' Association's best young player of the year and he finished seventh overall behind the eventual winner, Richmond's Dustin Martin. 

The onballer was ranked No.1 in the AFL for handballs, second for total contested possessions, third for clearances, fourth for tackles and fifth for total disposals. 

Oliver was also desperately unlucky not to make the 2017 Virgin Australian AFL All Australian squad of 40 when it was announced in August. 

At just 20 years old, Oliver is one of the club’s youngest winners of the best and fairest award, with Terry Leahy holding that honour at just 19 years old and 354 days for his 1966 win.

For Viney, it was his third consecutive top three finish – an outstanding effort for a 23-year-old.  

It was the sixth time in Jones' career he has claimed a top three placing in the award, while Lewis' equal-third placing follows his runner-up finish in Hawthorn's best and fairest award in 2016. 

As Jones and Lewis tied for third place, no Ivor Warne Smith Memorial Trophy for fourth place was awarded.  

As expected, Jack Watts - who placed 21st in the count - joined teammates in what is likely to be his final Melbourne event. 

Watts received the loudest cheer of any player in the room when he was introduced to the crowd.

The source of plenty of trade speculation, Watts is weighing up a move to Port Adelaide, Geelong or Sydney. 

2017 Melbourne best and fairest results

First: Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophy – Clayton Oliver (530 votes)
Second: Sid Anderson Memorial Trophy – Jack Viney (346)
Third: Ron Barassi Senior Memorial Trophy – Nathan Jones and Jordan Lewis (327)
Fourth: Ivor Warne Smith Memorial Trophy – Not awarded due to third place tie
Fifth: Dick Taylor Memorial Trophy – Neville Jetta (321)
6 – Michael Hibberd (318)
7 – Christian Petracca (302)
8 – Jeff Garlett (284)
9 – Tom McDonald (278)
10 – Dom Tyson (275)
11 – Alex Neal-Bullen (263)
12 – Jayden Hunt (256)
13 – Bernie Vince (240)
14 – Mitch Hannan (216)
15 – Sam Frost (211)
16 – Jake Melksham (201)
17 – James Harmes (197)
18 – Oscar McDonald and Cam Pedersen (196)
20 – Christian Salem (178)
21 – Jack Watts (172)
22 – Max Gawn (138)
23 – Jesse Hogan (122)
24 – Tom Bugg (102)
25 – Billy Stretch (76)
26 – Angus Brayshaw (59)
27 – Josh Wagner (52)
28 – Sam Weideman (36)
29 – Dean Kent (30)
30 – Jake Spencer (20)
31 – Jay Kennedy-Harris and Jack Trengove (8)