Essendon will announce the winner of the 2023 Crichton Medal on Thursday night. 

The Dons’ season saw elite performances from some usual suspects, as well as the emergence of bolters who enjoyed career-best campaigns in red and black. 

These are just some of the names who will be in with a chance to join esteemed company this year. 

Zach Merrett

22 games
Averages: 29 disposals, five inside 50’s, five tackles, four clearances


Already a three-time winner of the Crichton Medal, Merrett’s first season as skipper held typically consistent results in the midfield. 

The 27-year-old dominated in the annual Dreamtime at the ‘G clash, tallying 39 disposals to inspire his side to a one-point win to take home the Yiooken Award as best afield. 

Merrett was named in the All Australian team for a third time in his career, finishing 10th in the league for average disposals per game. 

Through the highs and lows of the Dons’ year, Merrett was a beacon of leadership for the young Bombers and could very well add a fourth club best-and-fairest to his CV come Thursday.  

Kyle Langford 

23 games, 51 goals
Averages: 14 disposals, five marks, 2.2 goals 


Bouncing back from an injury-hampered 2022 season, Langford exploded as a makeshift key forward this season. 

Despite spending blocks of pre-season training in both defence and the midfield, the eventual shift forward proved to be a masterstroke, resulting in the utility’s best season at AFL level. 

Cracking the All Australian squad for the first time, the 26-year-old booted 51 goals and dished off 20 goal assists to become a focal point of the Dons’ attack. 

Langford kicked career-high hauls of five goals on three occasions this year, including in back-to-back weeks in rounds 20 and 21.  

Nic Martin 

23 games
Averages: 22 disposals, five marks, one goal assist 


After exploding onto the AFL scene with a 27-disposal, five-goal debut in round one of 2022, Martin added new layers to his game as a winger in 2023. 

One of the side’s best users by foot, the 22-year-old was at his best during the Dons’ four-game winning streak between rounds 10-13, averaging 27 disposals per game. 

The fixture with North Melbourne in round 22 saw Martin collect a career-high 32 disposals and kick three goals in a match-winning effort.  

Martin’s role evolved in the latter stages of the season after being moved back to his original half-forward position, but still showcased his poise and room for growth in 2024. 

Darcy Parish 

18 games
Averages: 31 disposals, seven clearances, six inside 50’s, four tackles 


Parish’s season kicked off with a bang in the round one win over the Hawks, picking up 37 disposals, 10 inside 50’s, and nine score involvements. 

One of the game’s most consistent ball-winners, the 26-year-old produced typically elite numbers in 2023 despite missing five matches through injury, including a 39-disposal effort in the round 17 victory against the Crows. 

A key mover in the Dons’ midfield engine room and fresh off signing a new deal to tie him to the club until at least 2028, expect Parish’s name to feature heavily on the night. 

Mason Redman 

23 games
Averages: 22 disposals, six marks, five rebound 50’s 


Mason Redman’s a red-hot chance to improve on his fourth-place finish in last year’s Crichton Medal count. 

The 26-year-old’s mix of grunt work and run from the backline was on show once again in 2023, even exciting Dons fans with his signature ‘red dog’ goal celebration on seven occasions this year.  

30 disposals and a goal against the Eagles on the road in round 11 marked Redman’s best performance in another consistent season that saw him make the All Australian squad of 44. 

Securing his future in red and black with a new five-year contract, Redman is in with a good chance to top off his campaign with the Crichton Medal. 

Jordan Ridley 

17 games
Averages: 20 disposals, seven marks, five rebound 50’s


Sorely missed by the Bombers after an untimely quad injury ended his season in round 19, Ridley’s presence in the back six was integral for the side in 2023. 

A season-high 32 disposals in the one-point Dreamtime victory over the Tigers proved Ridley’s big-game credentials, launching the Dons’ final scoring play with his usual composure from the backline. 

The 24-year-old provided a wholesome moment with his first career goal after 68 games in round one, making a rare foray forward in the Bombers’ blitz of nine unanswered goals over the Hawks. 

Although he may be only an outside chance for the Crichton Medal with a smaller sample size of games than others, a healthy Ridley is another exciting prospect for 2024 and beyond. 


Bombers fans will be able to watch Thursday night’s Crichton Medal count via the EFC website.  

Stay tuned to to find out how to watch this year’s awards.