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Gray's historic Power play with club champion hat-trick

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 16: Robbie Gray of the Power in action during the 2016 AFL Round 17 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and Port Adelaide Power at Etihad Stadium on July 16, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Robbie Gray is the first Power player to win three-straight best and fairests

GUN PORT Adelaide midfielder Robbie Gray has made history as the first Power player to win three-straight best and fairest awards.

Gray collected the John Cahill Medal at the club's presentation night in front of 1200 people at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Friday night. 

The 28-year-old finished on 230 votes ahead of tough nut Ollie Wines (206) and rebounding defender Jasper Pittard (190). 

Gray is the first player to win three in a row for Port Adelaide in the AFL, but Harry Phillips won three-straight best and fairests from 1891-1893.

Brad Ebert (164) and captain Travis Boak (157) rounded out the top five, while NAB AFL Rising Star nominee Darcy Byrne-Jones capped an impressive rookie season finishing ninth on 134 votes. 

Hamish Hartlett – who has been linked to a trade despite having five years to run on his contract – finished 17th in best and fairest voting.

Hartlett missed seven games through injury, but averaged only 18.2 possessions per game, his lowest average since 2010. 

Gray's three titles leaves him one behind Warren Tredrea (2001, 2004-05, 2009) and Kane Cornes (2007-08, 2010, 2012), who both won the John Cahill Medal four times.

The six members of the Power's match committee award every player between zero and five votes each game. 

Gray claimed the award despite missing three games this season because of a hamstring injury.

He enjoyed another consistent year, averaging 26.3 possessions and 4.8 tackles per game as well as kicking 25 goals.

Power chairman David Koch labelled the club's season as mediocre, but promised results would turn around quickly. 

"2016 will not be a wasted year if we can learn from our mistakes," Koch said. 

"The key to our success is we learn from our experiences this year.

"Success is winning a flag, nothing less." 

Koch said the Power remained committed to playing a game for premiership points in China next year.

He said players and coaches would travel to Shanghai in December for a promotional visit.

"It's about building financial resources to fund footy," Koch said. 

"Elite AFL clubs have to build alternative revenue streams if they want to have the best resourced football departments.

"Most of the AFL clubs do it by expanding into hotels or gaming, we're thinking outside the square and focusing on China and higher education." 

Power coach Ken Hinkley couldn't hide his disappointment at being a spectator during the finals for the second-straight year.

"I have a sense of déjà vu standing up again missing the top eight," Hinkley said.

"The challenges we faced this year were very different to the challenges we faced in 2015, but the common thread is we were unable to overcome those challenges. 

"We don't look for excuses, we just didn't get the job done.

"That's disappointing, it's frustrating and it's unacceptable and it's my responsibility to fix it."

Gray polled the most votes among Power players in the team's opening three games of the season.

But Pittard – the Power's only nomination in the preliminary 40-man All Australian squad – hit the lead after picking up 11 votes in the round five loss to Geelong. 

Pittard remained in the lead until Gray hit the front after the Power's big win against the Brisbane Lions in round 19.

Wines had a big finish to the season to overtake Pittard into second spot. 

John Cahill Medal
1. Robbie Gray – 230
2. Ollie Wines – 206
3. Jasper Pittard – 190
4. Brad Ebert – 164
5. Travis Boak – 157
6. Matthew Broadbent – 150
7. Jackson Trengove – 149
8. Aaron Young – 147
9. Darcy Byrne-Jones – 134
10. Justin Westhoff – 124