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Fyfe joins the greats with second Brownlow Medal

The moment Fyfe won the Brownlow Fremantle's Nat Fyfe polls 33 votes to win the 2019 Brownlow Medal

FREMANTLE superstar Nat Fyfe has stamped his name among footy's elite, becoming just the 15th player in VFL/AFL history to claim multiple Brownlow medals.

Fyfe polled 33 votes to claim the game's highest individual honour for the second time in his career, six votes clear of Patrick Dangerfield in second place and seven votes ahead of both Patrick Cripps and Lachie Neale in third.

BROWNLOW TRACKER Check out every vote in the 2019 count

It added to his 2015 Brownlow Medal and followed another incredible season where the classy midfielder averaged 29.1 disposals per game and ranked third in the League for both clearances and contested possessions.

 

Fyfe eclipsed the 31 votes he polled to claim the award four years ago, with his final total also ensuring he became one of only two players alongside triple winner Haydn Bunton Snr to average more than a vote per game across his 162 home and away matches.

Nat Fyfe after receiving his second Brownlow Medal on Monday night. Picture: AFL Photos

"I think this has been my best year so far," Fyfe said afterwards.

"I don't compare (the two seasons), it's impossible to. We won the first nine or 10 games in 2015 and I was a ball-hunting midfielder. Now I'm the captain of the club, a club that won eight games last year and nine games this year.

"My role has changed a lot. I'm a lot more wise with how I play. It's no good, me going back with the flight or recklessly jumping into contests and getting injured and then not being able to play the next week. I feel like I'm an older head.

"I'm less box office, which is probably not as enjoyable for fans to watch. But I can play more hours of footy through the season, which is my most valuable commodity to the team."

Fyfe was made to survive an early onslaught from Cripps, who came out of the blocks firing.

Cripps polled 13 votes from his first five games – the most any player has ever polled after round five – to claim an early five-vote lead from a host of his Brownlow rivals.

FROCKING UP All the glamour from the Kennedy Brownlow Red Carpet

That hot start came amid an incredible opening to the count for the rugged Blues midfielder, who polled in the club's first six straight matches.

Patrick Cripps and Monique Fontana on the Kennedy Brownlow Red Carpet. Picture: AFL Photos

However, while Cripps led Fyfe by one solitary vote after round 10, the Dockers onballer had chased him down and shot into the lead by the conclusion of the bye weeks.

He claimed the lead after round 11 and was virtually unstoppable from there, quickly extending his advantage to an unassailable margin with two games still to play in the year.

Fyfe hit the lead at the halfway point of Monday night's Brownlow count and never looked back


It enabled him to relax as the count came to a close and Dangerfield finished his late surge into second place, with Fyfe's dominance reflected with an incredible 10 three-vote games throughout the year.

The Fremantle skipper ultimately polled in 12 of his 20 matches throughout the campaign to claim his second Brownlow Medal, heaping praise on recently departed Dockers coach Ross Lyon as a significant motivator behind his fantastic season.

"Ross has been incredibly important in my growth as a player and leader," Fyfe said.

"He challenged me a lot along the way, as recently as this year. In about December, I was just going through the motions with my training and preparation with the idea of playing more footy towards the back-end of the season.

"He challenged me and said I was cruising. He didn't think how I was performing or preparing at training was up to standard. That was enough of a spark to really get going.

"It's a hard call (parting with Lyon), a big call for the club to make – particularly not knowing who the next appointment is going to be.

"You won't be able to replace Ross Lyon. He'll be back in footy circles in years to come, I'm sure. He's so valuable to the game. I'm just incredibly grateful for everything he and his family have brought to our footy club and to my life."

Lyon speaks with Fyfe during a game in 2017. Picture: AFL Photos

Dangerfield claimed second place, Cripps and Neale shared a position on the podium and Geelong spearhead Tim Kelly finished fifth with 24 votes.

Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy, former winner Dustin Martin, Western Bulldogs pair Marcus Bontempelli and Jack Macrae and Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko rounded out the top 10.

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Fyfe's year had already been celebrated last month when he was named captain of the 2019 Virgin Australia AFL All Australian side – the third time he had been named in the team.

He is also a two-time Fremantle best and fairest winner, where he has captained for the last three years, and a two-time AFL Players' Association MVP award winner.

Nat Fyfe shares a laugh with Brownlow host Hamish McLachlan during his acceptance speech. Picture: AFL Photos

However, there's one achievement that is still evading him – a premiership.

"The Brownlow is a weird one," Fyfe said.

"I don't have a premiership medal. I'd hate to be sitting here at the end of my career with two or maybe three Brownlows and no premiership. I'd trade these in within a heartbeat, just for the opportunity to be able to play in another Grand Final.

"Any player in the competition, if you ask them that question, would say the same thing.

"I'm so jealous of the teams that get to compete this weekend. But, all I can do is play as well as I can and see what comes with it. Let's hope the next medal around my neck is a premiership medal."

Ross Lyon consoles Nat Fyfe after the 2013 Grand Final loss to Hawthorn. Picture: AFL Photos