STAR defender Alex Rance has won his first Richmond best and fairest, capping a brilliant season just months after he considered walking away from the game.
Rance polled 76 votes to edge out midfielder Dustin Martin (60) and vice-captain Brett Deledio (54), receiving the Jack Dyer Medal at a sold-out Crown Palladium on Tuesday night.
It was a breakthrough win for Rance, who has been selected in the All Australian team for the past two seasons but had not previously finished on the podium in the Jack Dyer Medal.
He emerged as the game's best key defender in 2015, combining attack and defence brilliantly and beating the likes of Travis Cloke, Jeremy Cameron and Drew Petrie.
Rance re-signed with Richmond in June this year but he seriously considered walking away from the game before signing on until the end of 2019.
The 25-year-old had also flirted with the idea of moving to Perth to be closer to his spouse's family.
"If I thought football was going to impact on my family, my beliefs or my relationship with my wife, then I would very seriously think about leaving the game," Rance said in June after re-signing.
"I did consider it (walking away from the game)."
Under a new voting system, Richmond's match committee casts a consensus rating for each player, between zero and five, with no votes awarded for a below average game.
Rance led Martin by just four votes after 20 rounds but stormed home in the last four matches, polling 17 of a possible 20 votes to edge Martin, who was voted the fans' player of the year.
Rance, who is the first key defender to win Richmond's best and fairest since Darren Gaspar in 2001, played every game in 2015 and ranked No.11 in the competition for rebound 50s and first in one-percenters.
He was a clear leader at Richmond in intercept marks and intercept possessions, second for rebound 50s and second in contested marks.
Martin, who was runner-up on Tuesday night, finished top three for the third straight season.
The 24-year-old played every game and averaged 26 disposals and 4.5 marks per match, kicking 24 goals.
He was ranked second in the competition for kicks, seventh in uncontested possessions, ninth in inside-50s.
Deledio, who finished in the top three for the sixth time in the past eight seasons, defied injury to earn All Australian selection in 2015.
After returning from a calf injury in round seven, he ranked second in the AFL for score involvements and kicked 27 goals.
Richmond honoured retirees Chris Newman, Nathan Foley, Chris Knights and Ricky Petterd, with Newman receiving a standing ovation before an emotional farewell speech.
Other award winners on the night were best first-year player Kamdyn Macintosh, community award winner Dylan Grimes and VFL best and fairest Matt Dea.
2015 Jack Dyer Medal top 10
Alex Rance – 76
Dustin Martin – 60
Brett Deledio – 54
Anthony Miles – 50
Jack Riewoldt – 48
Trent Cotchin – 47
Nick Vlastuin – 47
Bachar Houli – 46
Shaun Grigg – 44
Dylan Grimes – 44