IMPROVED St Kilda midfielder Seb Ross has capped off a superb season by comfortably taking out his maiden best and fairest at a function in Docklands on Friday night.
Ross finished with 159 votes in the Trevor Barker Award, ahead of gun backman Dylan Roberton (124) and captain Jarryn Geary (121).
Remarkably, every player between third and ninth had a first name starting with 'J'.
Ross emerged as a star of the competition and was named in the Virgin Australia All Australian squad of 40, with Roberton the only other Saint to receive a nomination. Neither made the final team.
The left-footer lined up in every match this season and averaged just shy of 30 disposals per game to rank eighth in the AFL for that stat.
A hot patch between rounds three and 13 saw him rack up no fewer than 30 disposals in every game.
Ross paid tribute to retirees Nick Riewoldt, Leigh Montagna, Sean Dempster and Sam Fisher, who finished up after the end of the 2016 season, for teaching him valuable lessons.
"The legacy you left on me, you taught me how to work as a young kid," he said.
"It probably took me three or four years to figure it out and those three or four years watching you guys each day in your own life, you just put your head down and your bums up and you worked hard, you're as loyal as they come, you're some of the greatest blokes I've ever met and I just wish you guys well in the future."
His negating ability to stifle opposing midfielders proved a valuable trait for coach Alan Richardson, who AFL.com.au revealed earlier on Friday had received a contract extension until the end of 2020.
Richardson believed Ross, 24, had room to become better yet.
"His form this season was no surprise given how hard he works on his game, and how hard he has worked over the past few years," Richardson said.
"His commitment to his preparation during the week and his performances on game day really set the standard for our group this season.
"We're really excited by Seb's year, but probably more excited by where we think he will get to as a player."
Ross has lined up in 81 matches since he was drafted in 2011 at No. 25 and is the cousin of triple Essendon best and fairest Jobe Watson.
Key defender Jake Carlisle finished fourth in his first season in Saints colours to be one of five backmen in the top-10, while three-time Trevor Barker Award winner Jack Steven was sixth.
Trevor Barker Award top 10
1. Sebastian Ross – 159
2. Dylan Roberton – 124
3. Jarryn Geary – 121
4. Jake Carlisle – 119
5. Jack Billings – 110
6. Jack Steven – 108
7. Jimmy Webster – 88
8. Jack Newnes – 83
9. Jade Gresham – 81
10. Nathan Brown – 78
Other award winners
Best emerging young player – Jack Billings
Robert Harvey best clubman award – Jarryn Geary
Lenny Hayes player trademark award – Jack Steele
Life membership – Sean Dempster, Jarryn Geary and Jack Steven
Get the AFL Trader sent to your inbox
Every weekday evening during Trade Period we'll send you a bite-sized email wrap of the day's biggest trade stories.
We'll only tell you what you really need to know, plus exclusive insights and scoops from our Trade reporters.
Enter your email address here to get the AFL Trader in your inbox every weeknight:
Having trouble on the app? Click here to set up your subscription. You can always unsubscribe by following the link in the footer of AFL Trader emails.