NOT even missing two games with a hand injury could stop All Australian defender Rory Laird from claiming a comprehensive wire-to-wire victory in Adelaide's best and fairest count on Friday night.
In a gala function at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Laird claimed the Malcolm Blight Medal on 222 votes, comfortably finishing ahead of last year's winner Matt Crouch (166) and key forward Josh Jenkins (162).
High-profile recruit Bryce Gibbs (149) had a consistent first season at the Crows to finish fourth, while Hugh Greenwood's stock continues to rise with a fifth-place finish for the basketball convert, who is just 37 games into his AFL career.
NAB AFL Rising Star runner-up Tom Doedee (139), Luke Brown (134), Wayne Milera (134), Rory Atkins (128) and Paul Seedsman (128) rounded out the top 10.
Laird enjoyed a superb individual year, finishing sixth in the League for total disposals and averaging 32.2 disposals per game.
He only had one game of less than 25 disposals and four with more than 40, including a career-high 43 disposals in the round 17 victory against Geelong.
Laird led the best and fairest voting at the end of every round, despite missing two games in the middle of the season with a broken hand.
He broke through for his inaugural gold jacket after finishing runner-up to Patrick Dangerfield in 2015, and third to Crouch and Rory Sloane last year.
"There's been a bit of frustration around the club this year, but there's still a lot of positives to take out of it," Laird said.
"We had a lot of young players come in and play their role and played some really good footy against some of the top sides, and a fair few of our losses were by really close margins.
"Not too far off, it was pretty summed up in being close, but not just quite there."
In a sign of how the Crows went from reaching last year's Grand Final to finishing 12th with a 12-10 record this year, Laird and Crouch were the only two players to poll in the top 10 in consecutive years.
Sloane slipped to 16th after missing 10 weeks with a Lisfranc ligament in his foot, champion goalsneak Eddie Betts – who was out for four games with hamstring issues – finished 15th after kicking 29 goals, his lowest return at the Crows, and skipper Taylor Walker was 21st after missing eight games as a result of an injury-interrupted pre-season.
Richard Douglas (13th) and Tom Lynch (14th) missed 10 games between them through injury and suspension, while ruckman Sam Jacobs (12th) toiled manfully in every game without having the same impact as in previous seasons.
Brodie Smith (ninth last year) played two games in his return from a torn ACL and Brad Crouch (eighth in 2017) missed the entire year.
A player can receive a maximum of 20 votes per game, with five coaches giving each player a ranking from zero to four after every match.
Malcolm Blight Medal top 10
Rory Laird – 222 votes
Matt Crouch – 166
Josh Jenkins – 162
Bryce Gibbs – 149
Hugh Greenwood – 140
Tom Doedee – 139
Luke Brown – 134
Wayne Milera – 134
Rory Atkins – 128
Paul Seedsman - 128
Players' Trademark award: Tom Doedee
Dr Brian Sando OAM award: Tom Doedee
Phil Walsh Best Team Man award: Richard Douglas
Mark Bickley Emerging Talent award: Tom Doedee
Leading Goalkicker award: Josh Jenkins
Members' MVP award: Rory Laird
Crows Children's Foundation Community Leadership award: Hugh Greenwood
State League club champion award: Patrick Wilson