VERSATILE Geelong star Mark Blicavs has won his second Carji Greeves Medal, edging out Patrick Dangerfield and Tim Kelly by just half a vote in a thrilling count at Crown Palladium on Thursday night.
Blicavs polled 234 votes to edge out superstar midfielder Dangerfield (233.5) and mature-age sensation Kelly (233.5), who tied in second place.
Star forward Tom Hawkins (229) placed fourth in the count, with skipper Joel Selwood (220.5) finishing fifth.
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Blicavs, who won his first best and fairest in 2015, established himself as one of the best tall defenders in the competition in 2018, named in the Virgin Australia AFL All Australian squad of 40 before missing out on the final side to Alex Rance and Jeremy McGovern.
The 27-year-old has played just about every position on the ground since making his debut for the Cats in 2013, playing as a midfielder, a tagger, a wingman, a tall half-forward, a genuine ruckman and now as a key defender.
Blicavs enjoyed the best season of his 133-game career in 2018, forced into the key defensive post when Harry Taylor went down with a foot injury in round one and with Lachie Henderson unavailable for the first 15 rounds of the season.
With four of the top 10 finishers coming from the backline, Blicavs hailed his new-found defensive teammates.
"I think I classify myself as a defender now," Blicavs said on Thursday night.
"It was something different, a new challenge and something that probably simplified the game for me.
"We had a really good bunch of guys back there that enjoyed playing together, we were pretty close-knit. It's something that I just want to be a part of going forward."
The 198cm Blicavs took the scalps of a number of star forwards across the season, including Jesse Hogan, Charlie Dixon, Charlie Curnow, Tom Lynch and Ben Brown.
Blicavs also averaged 15 disposals at 82.1 per cent efficiency and 7.4 one-percenters, which was elite for his position.
He became the 25th player in Geelong club history to win multiple best and fairest awards.
Chasing his third-straight 'Carji,' Dangerfield was just half a vote shy of completing that feat. He averaged 28 disposals and was named in the All Australian side for the sixth time in his career.
Kelly enjoyed one of the best seasons from a first-year player in recent memory, averaging 23 disposals and taking out the AFLPA's Best First Year Award.
Despite putting together such a standout year, the 24-year-old is contemplating a move back to Perth to either Fremantle or West Coast for family reasons.
Contending with cries of 'stay' from the Geelong faithful, Kelly was composed in his acceptance speech but failed to address his future as he ponders a move home to Western Australia.
"I'm sure he's weighing that up," Blicavs said of Kelly.
"I think he's loved Geelong, he's had a great year there and there's that family pull there (Perth)."
"It's his decision. If he stays, we'll be rapt, if he goes we'll support him."
All Australian defender Tom Stewart finished equal-sixth in the count alongside Mitch Duncan.
Champion midfielder Gary Ablett did not finish in the top 10 in his first season since returning to the Cats.
Jack Henry was named as the Cats' best young player; George Horlin-Smith won the Tom Harley Award as best clubman and Jamaine Jones took out the Community Champion award.
After each game senior coach Chris Scott and his assistant coaches rate each player's performance out of 15.
The combined votes are then averaged to give a final score for that game.
To ensure players aren’t disadvantaged by injuries or being managed, each player’s highest scoring 21 games of the season are added together to give a final score. Therefore, if a player plays 23 games, his lowest scoring two games will be eliminated from the total.
Carji Greeves Medal Top 10
1. Mark Blicavs – 234 votes
=2. Patrick Dangerfield – 233.5
=2. Tim Kelly – 233.5
4. Tom Hawkins – 229
5. Joel Selwood – 220.5
6. Mitch Duncan – 216
7. Tom Stewart – 216
8. Jake Kolodjashnij – 203
9. Sam Menegola – 200
10. Zach Tuohy – 194.5