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Scotland wins his first Best & Fairest

After 14 years in the AFL system, Carlton veteran Heath Scotland has capped off his most outstanding season to date, taking out the coveted John Nicholls Medal ahead Eddie Betts at the Crown Palladium tonight.
 
In a very close count, Scotland polled 17 votes in the final game of the season to take his tally to 362 votes, ahead of Eddie Betts who finished the night on 353 votes after being awarded three votes in the final game. Carlton Captain Chris Judd was third in the count on 334 votes.
 
This prestigious medal is a fitting reward for the veteran midfielder, who missed just one game through injury in 2012 and was the Blues leading possession winner with 553 at an average of 26 a game. He polled votes in 16 games.
 
Scotland has played a total of 191 games with Carlton since making his debut for the Club in round one, 2004. He previously played 53 games for Collingwood between 1999 and 2003 and has now played a total of 244 AFL matches.
 
In 2007, Scotland was runner up in the John Nicholls Medal and third in 2006, having also finished fourth last year, confirming his consistent form since joining the Blues. In September Scotland re-signed with Carlton for the 2013 season.
 
Carlton’s leading goal kicker in 2012, Eddie Betts, was named runner up, a just reward for his most consistent season since joining the Blues in 2005. He was also Carlton’s only 2012 All-Australian nominee, the second year running that the 25 year old has been named in the 40 man All-Australian squad.
 
Betts polled in 16 games and was leading after 15 rounds of the season, two votes ahead of Chris Judd and was leading Scotland by five votes prior to the final game of the season against St Kilda.
 
Dual Brownlow Medallist (2004 & 2010) and three time John Nicholls winner (2008, 2009 & 2010), Chris Judd, finished the night in third place after being runner up in 2011. Judd missed five games during the season and polled votes in 14 games. In his five seasons at Carlton Judd has won the Award three-times and been runner-up once and now third.
 
Brock McLean, who played one game prior to round nine, had a wonderful second half of the season finishing fourth with 321 votes while last year’s winner, Marc Murphy, who missed six games with a shoulder injury, was fifth on 299 votes.
 
Carlton legend and winner of the Best and Fairest Award for a record five times - John Nicholls, presented Heath Scotland with the medal that is named in his honour.


 
Under the Best & Fairest voting system, five members of the Carlton Match Committee independently submit their votes after each round. Each may give votes to a maximum of eight players. The maximum votes a player may receive is ten (maximum of 50 votes per game).
 
Other award winners announced prior to the counting of votes in the John Nicholls Medal were:
 
Best First Year Player: Tom Bell
This is awarded to the player who has made the most significant contribution to the team in his AFL debut season.
 
Best Clubman: Dennis Armfield
This award recognises a player’s role within the club both on and off the field.
 


Spirit of Carlton Award: Dennis Armfield
This award to given the player who has showed the most Spirit through the 2012 season. This award was presented by 1987 Norm Smith Medallist and Carlton Premiership player, David Rhys Jones.
 
Women of Carlton, Player Ambassador of the Year Award: Shaun Hampson
This award goes to the player who has a consistent record of excellence, who has been outstanding in his achievements both on and off the field and contributes in a significant way to the wider community. This award was presented by Danielle Ali from the Women of Carlton.
 
The Carltonians High Achiever Award: Heath Scotland

This award is in recognition of an outstanding season for the Carlton Football Club. This award was presented by Sean Goldrick, President of the Carltonians.
 
Blues Coterie “Most Determined” award: Brock McLean
Presented by Emma Zonta of the Blues Coterie.
 


Inner Blue Ruthless AWARD: Brock McLean
The Award was presented by George Tahan.
 
The following special recognition awards were also presented during the evening:

Chris Yarran - Recognised for winning the AFL 2012 Goal of the Year
 
Kade Simpson - Recognising his club record 158 consecutive games for Carlton between Round 15, 2005 and Round 15 this year.
 
 
The Top Ten in the 2012 John Nicholls Medal:
1st     Heath Scotland     362
2nd   Eddie Betts            353
3rd    Chris Judd             334
4th    Brock McLean       321
5th    Marc Murphy        299
6th    Andrew Carrazzo   287
7th    Kade Simpson        229
8th    Bryce Gibbs           228
9th    Mitch Robinson     205
10th  Matthew Kreuzer  163
 
The Top Ten in the 2011 John Nicholls Medal:
1st    Marc Murphy    678
2nd    Chris Judd         469
3rd    Bryce Gibbs       448
4th    Heath Scotland  408
5th    Kade Simpson    376
6th    Andrew Walker  319
7th    Mitch Robinson  301
8th    Eddie Betts        285
9th    Michael Jamison 257
10th    Chris Yarran      23