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Magnificent McPhee

Crichton Medal 2004: Adam McPhee on stage after winning the Crichton Medal
Adam McPhee tonight capped off a remarkable season by winning the prestigious Tag Heuer Crichton Medal as Essendon’s best and fairest player in season 2004. In just his second season in the red and black since crossing from Fremantle, the award comes on top of his All Australian selection.

McPhee, 21, won the award despite missing the final three games of the season with a hamstring injury – an injury that also forced him from the ground early in the Bombers’ Round 21 clash with Sydney. He polled votes in 18 of the 20 games he played. His best performance of the year came in Round 10 against Fremantle when he polled 26 votes out of a maximum 30. He polled in excess of 20 votes in another seven games during the season.

McPhee narrowly defeated midfielder Jason Johnson who finished just seven votes behind the winner. Johnson also spent time on the sidelines, missing fives games with injury during the course of season. Johnson’s best games of the year came against Adelaide in Round 8 and Fremantle in Round 10 – he polled 24 votes in each game.

Dean Solomon was the surprise packet finishing a further 23 votes away in third place. Solomon finished the season with a flurry, polling votes in the final nine games of the season. His two best performances of the year came in Round 8 v Adelaide (24 votes) and Round 20 v Collingwood (24 votes).

Essendon captain James Hird – a four-time winner of the Crichton Medal – finished fourth with 271 votes. Hird led the award clearly after the first six rounds but dropped off the pace as injuries took their toll midway through the season.

The Top 10 in the 2004 Crichton Medal were:

Adam McPhee 322
Jason Johnson 315
Dean Solomon 292
James Hird 271
Damien Peverill 243
Matthew Lloyd 214
Justin Murphy 202
Scott Lucas 151
Mark McVeigh 145
Andrew Welsh 144

Note: Best and Fairest votes are cast by senior coach Kevin Sheedy, assistant Mark Harvey and Chairman of Selectors Kevin Egan. They can give up to eight players a maximum of 10 votes in any game.

Other major award winners on the night were:

Most Courageous – Andrew Welsh

Most Improved – Adam McPhee

Best First Year Player – Brent Stanton

Best Clubman – Sean Wellman

Leading Goalkicker – Matthew Lloyd (96)

Best in Finals – James Hird and Justin Murphy.