CARLTON defender Jacob Weitering has been awarded his first John Nicholls Medal, adding yet another significant chapter to his remarkable rise in recent seasons.
After the Club’s night of nights was recently postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Weitering took home the honour on Friday in front of his teammates and coaches at Ikon Park.
The 23-year-old finished the Blues’ 2020 best-and-fairest count on 137 votes, ahead of young gun Sam Walsh (126 votes) and the ever-reliable Ed Curnow (103 votes).
Adding an exclamation mark to a career-best season, Weitering claimed the Club’s highest individual honour with the achievement complementing his maiden selection in the 40-man All-Australian squad last year and third appearance in the AFLPA’s 22under22 side.
In a year where he committed his future to Carlton until at least the end of 2025, Weitering was also the recipient of the Bill Lanyon Inner Blue Ruthless Award – recognising a player’s bravery, resilience and commitment each week.
It is a well-deserved accolade for the star full back following a 2020 campaign that began by keeping his opponents goalless in four of his first six games and ended with him ranked inside the top two in the League, alongside teammate Liam Jones, for contested defensive one-on-ones.
Promoted to the Club’s leadership group for the first time last year, Weitering proved to be an integral member of the Navy Blue outfit, setting up Carlton’s attack while averaging 11 disposals, three marks and five intercept possessions across 17 appearances in his fourth season at the Club.
Following a fourth-placed finish in the 2019 John Nicholls Medal, runner-up Walsh backed up his debut year with a second stunning season, finishing just 11 votes shy of Weitering at the final count.
After he too was inducted into Carlton’s leadership group in 2020, the 20-year-old flourished in a new role on the wing, averaging 20 disposals per game and finishing with eight goals to add to his career total of 14.
Selected in the AFLPA’s 22under22 team once again, Walsh continued to catch the eyes of his peers and spectators with the talented youngster also awarded the Carltonians’ William A. Cook Trophy.
Curnow’s third-place finish saw the 31-year-old make the podium for the third consecutive year, having finished third and second in Carlton’s previous two John Nicholls Medal counts. In doing so, he became Carlton’s first player since Chris Judd (2010-2012) to achieve three consecutive podium finishes.
Like Weitering and Walsh, the fan favourite laced up his boots for all 17 games in 2020, with consistency again the hallmark of his 10th season in the Navy Blue.
After averaging 18 disposals, nine contested possessions, five tackles and four clearances throughout 2020, the dependable midfielder finished the year ranked No.1 at the Club for tackles and No.2 for inside 50s and clearances.
The first player since C Judd to achieve three consecutive top-three finishes.— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) February 19, 2021
Well played and what a guy, Ed Curnow. ?? pic.twitter.com/mqpGqoAZHz
Carlton Senior Coach David Teague was full of praise for Weitering and said the honour was much-deserved recognition for the 23-year-old.
“Last year, we asked Jacob to take the next step as a key defender and a leader. He not only welcomed that responsibility, he thrived on it,” Teague said.
“What is great about Jacob is how much he cares about making us a better football club. He pushes himself to compete and beat his opponents, he pushes his teammates to be better, leading from the front with his work ethic and his actions.
“He is now reaping the rewards of his hard work as we’ve seen, and as a football club we couldn’t be prouder to have Jacob crowned our 2020 John Nicholls Medallist.
“To see Sam finish runner-up is a testament to not only his skill but his character and how he holds himself as a Carlton person. He was asked to go out on the wing last season for the team and to see him execute that role in the manner in which he did makes him a great role model for our entire playing group.
“Ed is no stranger come John Nicholls Medal night. He gets the job done week in, week out and leaves the field after every game having given his all. There is no surprise he has finished within the top three once again.
“All three players set the standard at our football club at every training session and at every game and we look forward to each of them, along with rest of our playing group, pulling on the Navy Blue guernsey this year, determined to improve again as individuals and as a team.”
Rounding out the top-10 in the vote count was Lachie Plowman (95) in fourth place, followed by Liam Jones (83), Jack Martin (81), Sam Docherty (76) Levi Casboult (75), Patrick Cripps (73) and retiree Kade Simpson (68).
Emerging ruckman Tom De Koning was recognised for his breakout season taking home the Best Young Player Award.
In just his second year in the Navy Blue, Nic Newman was awarded Best Clubman, recognising the impact of his contribution to the playing group championing an off-field role after being sidelined with injury.
In its inaugural year, Liam Jones took home the Most Valuable Bluebagger Award – voted on by the playing group with votes tallied weekly and afforded to the teammate who got their job done over the course of the season.
The first of our awards winner for the evening have been announced!— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) February 19, 2021
Pitto takes home the Spirit of Carlton Award in his first year in the Navy Blue.?? pic.twitter.com/6ldluhgmdu
Following their first seasons at Ikon Park, Marc Pittonet was presented the Spirit of Carlton Award and Jack Martin was given acclaim as the recipient of the Coaches Award – another accolade introduced for the 2020 season, voted on by the coaches to acknowledge the player who best displayed the team’s values on the field and towards the playing group.
2020 John Nicholls Medal leaderboard
- Jacob Weitering 137 votes
- Sam Walsh 126 votes
- Ed Curnow 103 votes
- Lachie Plowman 95 votes
- Liam Jones 83 votes
- Jack Martin 81 votes
- Sam Docherty 76 votes
- Levi Casboult 75 votes
- Patrick Cripps 73 votes
- Kade Simpson 68 votes
2020 award winners
- The Carltonians William A. Cook Trophy: Sam Walsh
- The Spirit of Carlton Award: Marc Pittonet
- The Bill Lanyon Inner Blue Ruthless Award: Jacob Weitering
- Best Young Player Award: Tom De Koning
- Best Clubman Award: Nic Newman
- Coaches Award – Jack Martin
- Most Valuable Bluebagger Award: Liam Jones