CARLTON'S best and fairest went down to the wire on Friday night, with superstar midfielder Patrick Cripps ultimately capping another sensational season with his third John Nicholls Medal.
The overwhelming favourite to claim the honour, Cripps trailed Ed Curnow with just five rounds to go before eventually overtaking the hardened onballer to claim his third best and fairest crown in five years.
It capped a stunning year for the contested beast, who was also named in the Virgin Australia AFL All Australian side for the second successive time and was also awarded the AFL Players' Association MVP award last month.
Cripps polled 143 votes to become just the eighth player in the club's history to win three Blues best and fairests, with Curnow (138 votes) and defender Lachie Plowman (134) close behind.
It was a small margin of victory compared to last year, when Cripps won by 58 votes.
Only club greats John Nicholls (five) and Bruce Doull (four) have now won more Carlton best and fairests than Cripps, who is still only 24 years of age.
1959, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1967
1974, 1977, 1980, 1984
1986, 1988, 1993
2015, 2018, 2019
1955, 1960, 1961
2008, 2009, 2010
1987, 1989, 1992
1995, 1997, 2000
First-year midfielder Sam Walsh finished fourth following his standout maiden campaign in the AFL, while versatile tall Levi Casboult rounded out the top five after his best season in Carlton colours.
"Crippa is exceptional," Carlton coach David Teague said.
"To have won three John Nicholls Medals at just 24 is amazing – he now puts himself alongside some of the club’s best and he thoroughly deserves that.
"He is just such a competitor who works tirelessly to get his job done week in and week out, he sets the standards for our group and works to get the best out of not only himself but the whole group.
"It’s exciting for us to think that he has only just played 100 games and we think his best footy is still ahead of him."
Cripps with his AFL MVP trophy. Picture: AFL Photos
Defensive duo Jacob Weitering and Liam Jones finished sixth and seventh, veterans Marc Murphy and Kade Simpson came in eighth and ninth, while youngster Sam Petrevski-Seton rounded out the top 10.
Curnow claimed the Best Clubman Award earlier in the night, Weitering took out the Spirit of Carlton Award, while Casboult was given the Coaches Award following his efforts both forward, back and through the ruck in 2019.
Carlton's best and fairest is decided by the senior coach and three assistants giving as many players as they like between 0-4 votes per match. It means the most votes any player can receive for one single game is 16.
John Nicholls Medal – Top 10
1. Patrick Cripps (143)
2. Ed Curnow (138)
3. Lachie Plowman (134)
4. Sam Walsh (125)
5. Levi Casboult (116)
6. Jacob Weitering (110)
7. Liam Jones (95)
8. Marc Murphy (88)
9. Kade Simpson (87)
10. Sam Petrevski-Seton (68)