JOBE Watson is this year's Brownlow Medallist, becoming only the sixth Bomber to win the coveted award.

The Essendon captain won with 30 votes, ahead of Tiger Trent Cotchin (26 votes) and Hawthorn's Sam Mitchell (26). He said it was an award that would be celebrated more by teammates, friends and family.

"For me, I get enjoyment from winning and that's the thing that feeds me," Watson said.

"For the people whose lives I influence - and I take things out of their lives to keep me being able to be a player - they don't get as much elation from the wins I suppose as I do.

"For an individual award, they probably receive a little bit more happiness out of that."

The Essendon midfielder had a barnstorming beginning to the count, polling in 11 of the first 13 rounds to have 23 votes. After another best-on-ground performance in round 14, Watson sat on top of the leaderboard with 26 votes.

But he appeared set to lose grip of the lead late in the count when the Bombers' season nosedived. However, a three-vote game against Adelaide in round 19 pushed Watson back into pole position.

Another one vote against North Melbourne in round 20 gave Watson 30 votes and a seven-vote lead with three rounds remaining. When close contenders Gold Coast's Gary Ablett and Hawk Sam Mitchell didn't poll in round 21, Watson was in an unassailable lead.

He follows Dick Reynolds, Bill Hutchison, Graham Moss, Gavin Wanganeen and current coach James Hird as Brownlow medallists.

Hird said the Bombers were proud to have a player like Watson in their midst.

"I don't think there could be anything better in our season than Jobe winning the Brownlow, right now," Hird said.
"We obviously want to go on and be great as a team, but for our captain to do what he did tonight is incredible and we're so proud of him."
Watson's Essendon teammates admitted they were relieved the club's poor finish to the season hadn't ended up costing their skipper.

Ablett appeared the most likely player to snatch the award from Watson's grasp, and finished with 24 votes. He took only three rounds to establish his position as a contender.

The Gold Coast champion polled three votes in each of his first three games, all of which were losses for the Suns. It was only the second time a player has polled triple best on grounds to start the season (the first was Bomber Paul Salmon in 1994).
Although the Suns came close to pinching the win over Essendon in round three, losing by only 17 points, Ablett claimed best afield honours in heavy defeats. In round one the Suns lost by 69 points to Adelaide, and followed it with a 92-point defeat to St Kilda.

"I didn't expect to start like that," Ablett told Channel Seven. ??

A knee injury in round four, which forced Ablett to miss two games, halted his momentum, leaving the door ajar for Watson to make his move.

A highlight of the night was St Kilda veteran Jason Blake collecting the first votes of his 13-year career at the Saints. Blake won two votes against the Gold Coast in round 11, prompting cheers from the Saints table.

Earlier, Gary Ablett walked the Swisse Red Carpet with close friend Jason Davenport, a former player with Geelong and Port Adelaide.

Josh Kennedy was one of seven Swans to attend the function in Sydney, along with two-time Brownlow medallist Adam Goodes, Kieren Jack, Lewis Jetta, Jarrad McVeigh and Ryan O'Keefe.

Hawthorn players attended the function in Melbourne without skipper Luke Hodge, who is overcoming illness.

1. Jobe Watson - 30 votes
2. Trent Cotchin - 26
Sam Mitchell - 26
4. Dane Swan - 25
Scott Thompson - 25
6. Gary Ablett - 24
7. Patrick Dangerfield - 23
8. Dayne Beams - 19
Lenny Hayes - 19
Josh Kennedy - 19