CARLTON co-vice captain Jacob Weitering has earned a special place in Carlton history, becoming a dual John Nicholls Medallist.
The star defender joins the likes of Navy Blue champions Stephen Kernahan, Anthony Koutoufides, Wayne Johnston, Geoff Southby, Marc Murphy and Stephen and Sergio Silvagni as a two-time recipient of the Club’s highest individual honour on two occasions (previously in 2020).
At just 25 years of age, Weitering is continuing to elevate his game year-on-year as a leader of this football club.
That was reflected in the vote count on Sunday night, with Weitering a leading vote-getter in four of five games from Rounds 11-16, the period in which he played a crucial role in stabilising the side’s season before launching a nine-game winning streak into a finals campaign.
He was simply dominant in the air in 2023, leading the AFL for marks, intercept marks (seven clear of any other player) and third for total contested marks.
Carlton AFL Senior Coach Michael Voss said Weitering’s conduct as a player and especially as a leader throughout 2023 made him a deserving dual John Nicholls Medallist.
“Jacob cares deeply about his teammates and his Club. To see him recognised tonight with our Club’s highest individual honour is terrific for a Carlton person who has shown remarkable growth in all facets of his career over the last 12 months,” Voss said.
“It is easy to view a best-and-fairest winner for simply their on-field performances. However that is just the by product, Jacob’s win tonight is as much for the work he put in off the field with not only himself but as a leader for the entire football club.
“His strong performances leading our defence did not just come in the back half of the year, but when we needed them most during that challenging period.
“Jacob was pivotal in making resilience a badge of honour for our Club and as a result of that we could not be more pleased to see him win his second John Nicholls Medal tonight.”
Weitering (210 votes) was awarded the John Nicholls Medal in front of 1,300 people at a sold-out Crown Palladium, narrowly edging out fellow backman Nic Newman (193).
Newman was a popular runner-up, recording a career-best top-two result after a stellar season in which he announced himself as one of the competition’s premier small defenders.
His votes on the night reflected his incredibly consistent season, polling votes in 23 of his 24 games for the year.
The enormous regard in which Newman is held at IKON Park was solidified earlier in the night, as he was named Best Clubman for the third time in four seasons (previously 2020, 2022) – an award voted on by the entire football department for the player who made the greatest on and off field contribution to the Club throughout the course of the season.
Charlie Curnow (174 votes) followed up back-to-back Coleman Medals with the second podium finish of his career, equalling his 2018 third place. The 26-year-old topped the votes in six appearances throughout the year, as he played every game of the campaign for the second-straight season.
Curnow’s feats were recognised by his teammates by winning the Players’ Award, which is voted on by his teammates for the player who lives the actions and behaviours that best represent the Carlton culture. He also received the Carltonians William A.Cook Trophy and Interstate Coterie Award on the night.
After a season of great resilience that ended in pure brilliance, co-vice captain Sam Walsh was named the Blues’ Best Finals Player - to go with his Gary Ayres Medal earlier this week - after the 23-year-old averaged nearly 32 disposals, seven tackles and four marks during a stellar September.
Blake Acres (sixth in John Nicholls Medal voting) was recognised for his outstanding first season at IKON Park, winning the Coaches Award as the player who consistently executed his role for the team, impacted team performance and had a positive influence on those around him throughout the course of the season.
The recognition for Acres extended to the Club’s past players, with the 27-year-old also awarded the Spirit of Carlton Award for embodying the spirit of the Carlton Football Club both on and off the field.
Ollie Hollands received the Best Young Player award, as voted by the coaches, after impressing with his performance on the field and professionalism off it.
Carlton President Luke Sayers credited the award winners and thanked the entire Carlton family for their resilience, passion and dedication during a 2023 which saw the football club mature.
“We could not think of a more deserving 2023 John Nicholls Medallist than Jacob, who personified our year with equal measures of resilience, brilliance, strong leadership and an unwavering commitment to what we stand for as a football club,” Sayers said.
“A key theme of tonight is that all our award winners who took to the stage, they are terrific footballers but also exceptional people. We take enormous pride in that as a football club.
“It takes lot more than talent to get to where we are striving to go, and the quality of character we have within IKON Park now has laid terrific foundation of stability for the Carlton Football Club to continue to build upon.
“That gives us a great launching pad into 2024 and beyond, and I want to sincerely thank every player, coach, staff member and Carlton supporter for your resolve and commitment to be Stronger Together throughout the 2023 season, a season in which we discovered so much about ourselves as a club.”