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Jason Johnson capped off a stellar 2001 season by last night winning the Essendon Football Club Best & Fairest - the W.S. Crichton Medal. Johnson polled 363 votes to comfortably win the award ahead of Matthew Lloyd who finished with 302 votes. James Hird was just one vote behind Lloyd in third place. Both Hird and Lloyd would have finished closer had they not missed matches through suspension and injury. The Best & Fairest award is voted on by senior coach Kevin Sheedy, assistant coach Robert Shaw and chairman of selectors Kevin Egan. Each was able to give up to eight players a maximum of 10 votes per game.

Johnson thoroughly deserved his victory after having a brilliant year in the mid-field. His efforts were also rewarded with All Australian selection. His work ethic and hardness at the football was the most impressive aspect of his game. Johnson polled in 19 games during the season with his performance in Essendon's round 16 comeback against the Kangaroos earning him 28 votes. It was the highest number of votes awarded to any one player in a game during the 2001 season. Johnson polled 20 or more votes in another 11 games - one of those was the Grand Final.

""Jason had a very solid year and was sensational between round 11 and 20 - performances which came at a time when our mid-field was decimated by injury,"" assistant coach Robert Shaw said. ""He spent a lot of time in the middle and I think that the hard work he did in that period really took its toll towards the end of the season.""

Matthew Lloyd's best performance of the year also came in round 16 when he polled 27 votes for his nine straight goals against the Kangaroos. Lloyd's second best game for the season according to the voting panel came in round 6 when he kicked 10 goals in the last three quarters against West Coast. Lloyd polled in excess of 20 votes in eight different games during the season.

James Hird polled votes in 10 successive games from rounds two to 11 to open up a sizeable lead during the early part of the count. But injury cost him any chance in the second half of the season. According to the voting panel, Hird's best performance of the season came in the Bombers round 18 loss to Carlton. Hird' second best performance of the season came in the bomber's round 6 win over West Coast. He polled in excess of 20 votes on 10 occasions.

The final voting in the 2001 W.S Crichton Medla was:

Jason Johnson 363
Matthew Lloyd 302
James Hird 301
Sean Wellman 300
Blake Caracella 275
Adam Ramanauskas 235
Joe Misiti 195
Scott Lucas 188
Dustin Fletcher 162
Dean Rioli 145
Steven Alessio 143
Mark Johnson 137
Dean Solomon 136
Paul Barnard 131
Mark McVeigh 107
Damien Hardwick 95
Mark Mercuri 94
Damien Peverill 94
John Barnes 62
Danny Jacobs 51
Justin Blumfield 48
Chris Heffernan 33
Cory McGrath 29
Michael Long 24
Aaron Henneman 22
Mark Bolton 12
Gary Moorcroft 18
David Hille 9
Jordon Bannister 6