COLLINGWOOD skipper Scott Pendlebury has gone past 'Bucks' and is now the equal of 'The Little Master'.

Just days after leading the Magpies to within a whisker of an against-the-odds premiership, Pendlebury finished third in the club's best and fairest award, behind joint winners Steele Sidebottom and Brodie Grundy.

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It was the Collingwood champion's 10th top-three placing in his 13-year career, surpassing his coach and fellow Pies great Nathan Buckley (nine) and joining Geelong veteran Gary Ablett jnr at the top of the table among current players.

On the all-time list, Pendlebury and Ablett are behind only a handful of greats: Footscray and North Melbourne ruck star Gary Dempsey (15), Fitzroy legend Kevin Murray (14), Swans icon Bob Skilton (13), Carlton colossus John Nicholls and Hawthorn superstar Leigh Matthews (both 11).

Pendlebury, who is set to turn 31 in January, was denied another seemingly inevitable top-three finish last year when he led the Copeland Trophy count until a finger injury sidelined him for the last six rounds.

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Injuries also cruelled Ablett's time at Gold Coast. Back at Geelong this year, he received 14 votes in the Brownlow but surprisingly didn't even make the top 10, let alone the top three, in the Cats' best and fairest.

Ablett is two clear of his father Gary Ablett snr's total of nine top-three efforts.

Pendlebury this year also eclipsed Buckley's career votes tally in the Brownlow Medal, and is just six shy of the club record of 186 set by 2010 premiership teammate Dane Swan.

However, Brownlow medallists Buckley and Ablett have both won six best and fairest awards (a club record in Buckley's case) – one more than Pendlebury.

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Both the Pies and Cats boast three current players who have finished in the top three at least five times, with returning Magpie Dayne Beams (five) reuniting with Pendlebury and Sidebottom (five), while Ablett works in tandem with fellow champions Patrick Dangerfield (seven) and Joel Selwood (six).

Crow-turned-Cat Dangerfield has posted seven successive top-three finishes, a feat achieved by Sydney captain Josh Kennedy in his first seven seasons as a Swan (2010-16).

Richmond matchwinner Dustin Martin has made the top trio in seven of his past eight seasons, his only miss being in 2012.

In addition to Pendlebury, Sidebottom and Beams, the Magpies' top-three dominance extends to their coaching panel: Buckley (nine), Robert Harvey (10), Garry Hocking (six), Brenton Sanderson (four), Matthew Boyd (four), Tarkyn Lockyer (two) and Jared Rivers (one).

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Aside from the Abletts, another father-son duo has excelled, with Carlton veteran Marc Murphy (seven) still chasing his father, Fitzroy great John Murphy (10).

A name on the all-time list that might surprise some is that of Port Adelaide premiership player Kane Cornes, who sits alongside the likes of Murphy senior, Pendlebury and Ablett on 10.

Most top-three best and fairest placings – current players





Gary Ablett (Geel/GC/Geel 2002-18)

Scott Pendlebury (Coll 2006-18)




Patrick Dangerfield (Adel/Geel 2008-18)

Josh Kennedy (Haw/Syd 2007-18)

Dustin Martin (Rich 2010-18)

Marc Murphy (Carl 2006-18)






Brett Deledio (Rich/GWS 2005-18)

Lance Franklin (Haw/Syd 2005-18)

Dyson Heppell (Ess 2011-18)

Luke Hodge (Haw/Bris 2002-18)

Nathan Jones (Melb 2006-18)

Joel Selwood (Geel 2007-18)

Callan Ward  (WB/GWS 2008-18)









Dayne Beams (Coll/Bris 2009-18)

Nat Fyfe (Frem 2010-18)

Aaron Sandilands (Frem 2002-18)

Steele Sidebottom (Coll 2009-18)

Rory Sloane (Adel 2009-18)

Dayne Zorko (Bris 2012-18)







  • Delisted former St Kilda and Essendon player Brendon Goddard had five top-three placings.
Most top-three best and fairest placings – all time 


Gary Dempsey (Foots/NM)


Kevin Murray (Fitz)


Bob Skilton (SM)


Leigh Matthews (Haw), John Nicholls (Carl)


Gary Ablett jnr (Geel/GC/Geel), Craig Bradley (Carl), Kane Cornes (PA), Robert Harvey (StK), Chris Judd (WC/Carl), John Murphy (Fitz/SM/NM), Matthew Pavlich (Frem), Scott Pendlebury (Coll), Scott West (WB), Garry Wilson (Fitz)


Ron Barassi (Melb/Carl), Peter Bell (Frem/NM/Frem), Simon Black (Bris), Nathan Buckley (Bris/Coll), Bill Hutchison (Ess), Sam Mitchell (Haw/WC), Michael Tuck (Haw), Nick Riewoldt (StK)


Gary Ablett snr (Haw/Geel), Allen Aylett (NM), Kevin Bartlett (Rich), Nathan Burke (StK), Wayne Carey (NM/Adel), Wayne Campbell (Rich), David Clarke senior (Geel/Carl), Jack Clarke (Ess), Shane Crawford (Haw), Laurie Dwyer (NM), Bernie Quinlan (Foots/Fitz), Dick Reynolds (Ess), Ian Stewart (StK/Rich), Len Thompson (Coll), Ted Whitten (Foots)

  • Top three data wasn't consistently recorded until the 1940s.