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Gibbs Blues Best

Bryce Gibbs has been rewarded for the best season of his career by claiming the Carlton best- and-fairest.

Gibbs, 25, last night was presented with his first John Nicholls Medal, dominating the count at Crown Palladium after a year that silenced his critics. Allowed to play midfield all season, he displayed the form that made him a standout No.1 draft pick eight years ago.

Gibbs, who was also awarded life membership of the club, polled 109 votes to beat captain Marc Murphy (80) and last year’s winner, vice-captain Kade Simpson (76).

But Gibbs, who returned to the Blues’ leadership group at the start of the season, was the man of the moment.

“Bryce is a young man who has committed himself to this football club and thrown himself right into the training that’s required for excellence,” Carlton coach Mick Malthouse said.

“This season, in particular, he has been a very consistent player, a durable player and he has grown tremendously in his leadership.

“I know I speak for everyone at Carlton when I say we are delighted for Bryce. This achievement shows he is now reaping the benefits of all his hard work.”

The target of criticism for large chunks of his career, Gibbs was magnificent in 2014, leading from the front and inspiring his side with a combination of grunt and exquisite finishing.

Gibbs had finished in the top 10 of the John Nicholls Medal every year since being drafted, but took his game to another level this year. One of only three Carlton players to play every game, he lead the Blues in possessions per game (24.7), tackles (108), clearances (124), contested possessions (236) and goal assists (14).

Gibbs last night also won the inaugural Hyundai MVP award, voted by the fans. ESP’s Dylan Buckley also took out the Blues’ Best Clubman award.

JOHN NICHOLLS MEDAL TOP 10

1 Bryce Gibbs

2 Marc Murphy

3 Kade Simpson

4 Chris Yarran

5 Sam Rowe

6 Michael Jamison

= 7 Andrejs Everitt, Chris Judd

9 Sam Docherty

10 Dale Thomas

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