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Dons' instant hit wins first Crichton Medal

Essendon 'stuffed it up' What went right and what went wrong for the Bombers in The Wash-Up

LESS than a year after he left Greater Western Sydney, Devon Smith has won the Essendon best and fairest.

In a tick for the Bombers' big recruiting spree last year, Smith was crowned the Crichton medallist on Thursday night. 

The midfielder polled 370 votes to beat skipper Dyson Heppell (360 votes) and third-placed Zach Merrett (355 votes).

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Smith joined the Bombers last year after leaving the Giants and went on to play every game this season, averaging 22 disposals and kicking 17 goals, as well as setting a new record for the most tackles in a season (184). 

Adam Saad, another of the Bombers' three trades last year alongside Smith and Jake Stringer, finished fourth in the voting. 

Coach John Worsfold praised Smith's attention to detail to overcome persistent knee injuries before he arrived at Essendon to ensure he made the most of his second home. 

"To win the Crichton Medal in his first year at the club is an enormous achievement and we are extremely proud of what Devon has accomplished this season," Worsfold said.

"Devon really delivered on all aspects of the game and went over and above what we expected from him.

"His attitude before arriving at Essendon was outstanding, to ensure his body was right by executing his knee rehab and getting himself in the best position to have a really good pre-season." 

It is Heppell's sixth straight top-three finish in the Bombers' best and fairest in completed seasons (disregarding his 2016 season which he sat out due to suspension).

Essendon's voting system sees five coaches rate each player's performance between zero and five every game, meaning the most votes a player can gain from one game is 25.

Matt Guelfi was named the Bombers' rising star, Orazio Fantasia was named the best clubman, and defender Matt Dea was crowned most courageous. 

2018 Crichton Medal top 10

1. Devon Smith 370 votes
2. Dyson Heppell 360 
3. Zach Merrett 335 
4. Adam Saad 315 
5. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti 295
6. Tom Bellchambers 281 
7. Michael Hurley 280 
8. Cale Hooker 276 
9. Conor McKenna 268
10. Brendon Goddard 267