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Judd is Blues' B&F

CARLTON skipper Chris Judd has taken out the club's best and fairest award, the John Nicholls Medal, at a gala ceremony at Crown Palladium on Thursday night.

Judd, 25, played 21 games in his first season with the Blues and polled 472 votes to take the award ahead of rising star Marc Murphy (417) and full-forward Brendan Fevola (373).

Club legend John Nicholls presented Judd with the medal named in his honour in front of a crowd of over 1000 of the Blues' faithful. While humbled by the award, Judd admitted he craved success on a team level with his new club. 

"It's obviously a very big honour. Just playing AFL footy is a big achievement and to win individual awards is a big honour," Judd said.

"But by the same token, it's not what you're play for. Playing finals and achieving the ultimate [premiership] success is what the game's all about. Hopefully if we get our act together and work hard enough, we'll be lucky enough to experience that.

"I think as a side we'll be a hell of a lot better than we were this year, but if we're going to get anywhere … we do need to improve by 20 to 25 per cent.

"All the players and the coaching staff are on the same page and we'll be making sure we're working as hard as we possibly can to get that sort of improvement."

The John Nicholls Medal is the latest in a long line of prestigious accolades the former West Coast captain has gathered over his 155-game career.

In his six years with the Eagles, Judd skippered the 2006 premiership side, won the 2005 Norm Smith Medal, took out the 2004 Brownlow Medal, was voted the AFLPA's most valuable player in 2006, received All-Australian honours twice and was twice named the club's best and fairest player.

After his last year with the Eagles was wrecked by a chronic groin injury, Judd returned to his formidable best in a 2008 season in which he averaged 24 possessions and four tackles per game while also booting 15 goals.

His addition to the Blues' onball brigade was widely seen as the driving force behind the club's rise from 15th in 2007 with four wins to 11th this year with 10 victories.

As expected Judd's arrival fast-tracked Murphy's development, with the 21-year-old also averaging 24 possessions a match in a breakout third season that saw him continue on the path to becoming an elite AFL midfielder.

The first pick of the 2005 NAB AFL Draft played all 22 games for the Blues, with his 33-disposal effort in the stirring come-from-behind win over Port Adelaide in the wet at AAMI Stadium a highlight.

Fevola, 27, enjoyed the most productive season of his 10-year career averaging 4.5 goals per game to fall just one goal short of the magical century mark.

The spearhead carried the overwhelming bulk of the Blues' scoring load throughout the season, with his 99 goals easily eclipsing the next best tally of 25 achieved by Brad Fisher and Eddie Betts.

Other awards handed out on the night included best first-year player, won by No.1 draft pick Matthew Kreuzer; best club man, awarded to Andrew Carrazzo; the past players encouragement award which went to Shaun Grigg, and the player ambassador award, won by Michael Jamison.

The five members of the Carlton match committee independently submit their votes for the John Nicholls Medal after each round.

They can award votes to up to eight players, with a maximum of 10 votes to each player.

The maximum number of votes a player can receive from one match is 50.

The top 10 in the 2008 John Nicholls Medal

1st Chris Judd 472
2nd Marc Murphy 417
3rd Brendan Fevola 373
4th Andrew Carrazzo 310
5th Bryce Gibbs 288
6th Nick Stevens 287
7th Jarrad Waite 267
8th Kade Simpson 202
9th Heath Scotland 201
10th Bret Thornton 197