SHAUN Higgins has claimed back-to-back North Melbourne best and fairest awards, pipping Ben Cunnington in a nail-biting count at Peninsula in the Docklands on Friday night.

Higgins polled 240 votes to edge Cunnington by three votes, with the midfield duo replicating their one-two finish in North 2017's count

North vice-captain Robbie Tarrant finished third on 218, two votes ahead of key forward Ben Brown, with captain Jack Ziebell and emerging midfielder Trent Dumont a further vote back in equal fifth.

SEASON REVIEW North Melbourne

Despite turning 30 in March, Higgins produced a career-best season this year, averaging 27.4 disposals, 5.9 inside 50s and 5.1 clearances a game to earn his maiden All Australian selection.

The former Bulldog's consistency since joining North as a free agent at the end of 2014 has been remarkable. In his first year at Arden St, he finished third in the Syd Barker Medal count, while in his only other season, 2016, he missed all bar nine games through a knee injury.

Cunnington has been an equally reliable performer for the Kangaroos in recent seasons.

With his runner-up finish, he has now finished in the top-two of the best and fairest in four of the past five seasons, his sole win coming in 2014.

Cunnington was ranked fourth in the competition this season for average contested possessions (15.4 a game) and sixth for clearances (6.6).

Key defender Tarrant continued to hold North's backline together in 2018, his third placing following finishes of fourth in 2017 and first in 2016.

Nick Rippon received the inaugural John Law Medal after winning the VFL team's best and fairest award in the Roos' first year with a standalone team.

In other awards, former GWS midfielder Paul Ahern was named best young player, retiring spearhead Jarrad Waite best clubman and Ziebell, Tarrant and Sam Wright received life membership.

Under North's voting system, players can poll up to 20 votes in a game, with their best 20 games counting towards their total. 

Syd Barker Medal top 10
Shaun Higgins 240 votes
Ben Cunnington 237
Robbie Tarrant 218
Ben Brown 216
Jack Ziebell 215
Trent Dumont 215
Todd Goldstein 206
Jed Anderson 198
Scott Thompson 196
Jamie Macmillan 195