HAWTHORN young gun Will Day has capped off a brilliant breakout season by earning his first Peter Crimmins Medal in a thrilling count at Crown Melbourne on Saturday night.
The 22-year-old put an injury-interrupted start to his AFL career behind him in 2023, polling in 20 of the 21 games he played – he missed two games due to suspension – to hold off star midfielder Jai Newcombe by only two votes.
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After starting his career at half-back, the 2019 No.13 pick thrived as a permanent midfielder this year, averaging 25.6 disposals, 9.4 contested possessions, 5.4 score involvements and 4.2 clearances.
Day also claimed Hawthorn's fan voted MVP award in a year where he turned his back on lucrative long-term offers from rivals to sign a four-year extension with the Hawks that takes the South Australian through to free agency in 2027.
After finishing runner-up in 2022, Newcombe narrowly missed out on claiming his maiden best and fairest prize after polling 18 Brownlow Medal votes to continue his remarkable rise from mid-season rookie draft recruit to established weapon.
Irishman Conor Nash was also recognised for a career-best season of his own, finishing on the podium in third spot after a brilliant year from the former rugby union player, who was also named the most improved player at the club.
James Worpel returned to the form that saw him win the 2019 Peter Crimmins Medal after overcoming a challenging 2022 season, finishing in fourth spot after re-signing recently for two more seasons.
Hawthorn captain James Sicily won the award last year and was finally rewarded with All-Australian selection in 2023 despite missing four games due to suspension. Those two suspensions proved costly at the best and fairest count with the star defender finishing in fifth spot.
Josh Weddle collected the most promising player award after playing 17 games in his first season, having being selected at pick No.18 last November.
2023 Peter Crimmins Medal top 10
1. Will Day - 125 votes
2. Jai Newcombe - 123
3. Conor Nash - 114
4. James Worpel - 110
5. James Sicily - 101
6. Dylan Moore - 93
7. Jarman Impey - 91
8. Karl Amon - 86
9. Blake Hardwick - 78
10. Luke Breust - 67