EIGHTEEN months after he nearly gave the game away, Richmondbest and fairest winner Daniel Jackson has never been more motivated to play apart in the Tigers' assault on 2014.
The 27-year-old said winning Monday night's Jack Dyer medalin front of a 1550-strong sell-out crowd at Crown Palladium was "theproudest moment of my life".
He was named the Tigers' best andfairest by just nine votes from newly re-signed midfielder Dustin Martin andthird-place getter Troy Chaplin.
Jackson spoke of the "darktimes" that plagued him in 2012 and thanked every person on his table fortheir help in ensuring he didn't give up on football in the middle of lastseason.
"I had a little whiteboard in my room where I'd drawhow many games left I had to figure out until my career was going to befinished at the end of this year," Jackson said.
"That's how adamant I was, I was just going to finishit out."
Jackson singled out his parents and a schoolteacher who therewhen he was drafted and wasn't sure whether he belonged at AFL level.
He spoke of a conversation with"Big Rob" in a café where he broke down in tears and said he simplycouldn't do it any more, and of a Skype chat from a hotel in Perth with anotherfriend during which he was convinced "not to hang them up".
But, after rediscovering his passion forthe game this year and signing a two-year contract extension in July, Jacksonsaid the lost elimination final against Carlton made him even more motivated toimprove again in 2014.
"When I walked off the field at the end of the season,I was left with a big desire and a big hunger – something I've never feltbefore," he said.
"I was disappointed because I wouldn't play with [Shane]Tuck again and it was the end of the year that had been going well but I wasdisappointed because I felt we'd let down the 70,000-odd fans.
"That was an unbelievable feeling. I've played for 10years now and that gave me an adrenalin rush and a smile like I've never feltbefore.
"It's left a real spot we're going to have to fill innext year, so I know we're going to get bigger and better.
"I know I'll be going away aspiring to make sure thatnext time we play in front of a crowd like that, we're coming back with awin."
Jackson is the oldest first-time winnerof the award since former club great Matthew Richardson in 2007.
He played every game to end the season leadingthe Tigers in tackles and inside-50s (along with Brett Deledio), and finishing secondfor contested possessions.
As well as averaging over 22 disposals agame, he kicked a career-best 18 goals.
At the half way mark of the count,Jackson was in equal second place.
With the polling system allowing for thefive members of the club's match committee to cast votes from zero to five oneach of the team's 22 players, the maximum an individual can amount in a singlematch is 25.
Jackson polled a season-high 19 votes inround 16 for his 24 possessions and two goals against Gold Coast, which set himon track to his victory.
Martin's second place is the22-year-old's best result in the Tigers' best and fairest, and comes only hoursafter he inked a two-year contract extension following a year of speculation.
He also played every game this seasonand averaged more than 24 touches a match.
New recruit Chaplin, who helped bolsterthe backline after crossing from Port Adelaide in last year's free agencyperiod, followed.
Dual best and fairest Deledio was fourththree votes behind Chaplin while captain Trent Cotchin – who has won the pasttwo Jack Dyer medals – finished fifth, one vote behind Deledio.
Jackson also thanked assistant coachDanny Daly for his support and a pivotal coffee catch up last year.
"We had a coffee and he asked me if I believe inmyself, I said, 'Not particularly' … but this year I do," he said.
"I've always been proud to be involved in other thingsand to win the Jim Stynes award last year was a huge part of my life.
"There's one thing I've learned … it's just been allabout the people I've had around me.
"This is absolutely the proudest moment of my lifebecause it's something I never thought I could do."2013 Jack Dyer Medal
1st - Daniel Jackson 264 votes (Jack Dyer Medal winner)
2nd - Dustin Martin 255 (Jack Titus Medal winner)
3rd - Troy Chaplin 241 (Maurie Fleming Medal winner)
4th - Brett Deledio 238 (Fred Swift Medal winner)
5th - Trent Cotchin 237 (Kevin Bartlett Medal winner)
6th - Alex Rance 231
Eq 7th - Steven Morris 211
Eq 7th - Jack Riewoldt 211
9th - Shaun Grigg 191
10th - Bachar Houli 187