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Best Defensive player - The Contenders

Simon Conway  October 4, 2017 4:39 PM

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Michael Hurley was named at centre half back in the All Australian side.

All Australians Michael Hurley and Zach Merrett have taken out the last two Best Defensive player awards at the Crichton Medal.

The pair is among a number of contenders for this year’s award.

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti

Walla may have been shifted into attack this season, but the defensive pressure that made him a regular last year remained. He was ranked fifth at the Club for tackles and was the only forward ranked in the top ten.

Zach Merrett

Merrett is one of the leading tacklers in the competition averaged almost six tackles per game throughout the season. He was the top ranked tackler at the Club.

Michael Hurley

The All Australian centre half back was the leading rebound player in the competition. He averaged seven rebounds from the defensive 50 per game. His 145 rebounds for the season is the third best return by an Essendon player ever. Dustin Fletcher holds the top two spots in that category. The 400 game player recorded 206 rebounds in 2004 and 199 in 2005.

Martin Gleeson

After a stint in the VFL, Gleeson returned with aplomb. His aerial ability allowed him to play on taller opponents, providing added flexibility to the Essendon back line.

Brendon Goddard

The 300 game player performed some key run-with roles at stages throughout the season. He often spent time on the opposition’s key ball winners, particularly around stoppages. Goddard was also able to play behind the ball at times to steady the defence.

David Zaharakis

The midfielder was ranked second only to Zach Merrett in terms of tackling numbers as he produced some of his best form throughout the season. Zaharakis has strong aerobic capacity allowing him to work deep into the back line and then push forward as the ball moves up the ground.