Joint vice-captain Zach Merrett has paid tribute to his teammates following his third Crichton Medal victory on Tuesday night.
The 25-year-old polled 420 votes, ahead of runner-up Darcy Parish (339) and small forward Will Snelling (315) to claim the Bombers’ highest individual honour.
Merrett said after a season of being more ‘selfless’ as a player, his third Crichton Medal victory was ‘firmly at the top’.
“To my teammates, this award reflects each and every one of you and I thank you. I’m looking forward to being part of something really special with you guys next year and beyond,’ Merrett said.
“I think I’ve grown and maybe been able to influence others more this year. In the past it may have come across a little selfish, but I felt I was being diligent to my role and playing well individually, whereas this year was more about my teammates and bringing them along. It was really exciting to see guys like Will (Snelling), Darcy (Parish) and Kyle (Langford) get rewarded for their seasons and I think I’ve had an influence on those guys too.
“For me, reflecting on this year, (this Crichton win) is firmly at the top in that respect because I think I helped others more than ever before.”
After publicly weighing up his future in the early stages of 2021, Merrett turned his back on free agency and signed a mega six-year deal with the Bombers.
At the time, Merrett praised the ‘stability’ of the Bombers’ program, and on Tuesday night, again praised the new direction of the football club.
“We’ve obviously lost a few finals in my time at the club, and maybe at times it felt like we weren’t near the teams (we were playing) when we lost. Whereas I felt against the Dogs, we were right there in the hunt and I felt we had the ability to match it with those teams but we just couldn’t do it for long enough so I know, myself included, we’re all really keen to get back into training already,” Merrett said.
“The 12 months of stability and clarity this season has been amazing but I’m sure the next 12, 18, 24 months of stability will create even more prosperous times hopefully for this footy club.
“I think this is the first year since I’ve been at the footy club that we’ve had 6-10 guys perform really consistently across the entire season. To cap that off with this (Crichton Medal) award is extremely humbling but it is equally disappointing we didn’t win those finals and get deep into that finals series.
“But, to reflect on the season more broadly, it’s been pretty rewarding and exciting…. I just want to get stuck into training already.”
In his impressive Crichton Medal victory speech, the 2021 Therabody All-Australian representative also paid tribute to the Bombers’ loyal member and supporter base.
“I’m extremely grateful to be able to represent this great football club and it’s not something I ever take for granted,” Merrett said.
“To our loyal and steadfast fans. Thanks for sticking by us. I hope we can bring you the success we, and you, deserve.”
Click here to recap Tuesday night’s Crichton Medal count.