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2018 Club Champion Wrap

${customImageCaption} - Brisbane Lions,Dayne Zorko

Brisbane Lions Captain Dayne Zorko has become the second man in Club history to win four consecutive Merrett-Murray Medals, after he was presented was presented with the honour at the Lions' Club Champion awards night in Brisbane.

The only other person to achieve such a feat was Kevin Murray, who won five straight from 1960-64. Murray was there to present Zorko his Merrett-Murray Medal in person, alongside Roger Merrett and Lions Chairman Andrew Wellington.

The count was one of the closest recorded, with Zorko winning by just a single vote over former captain Dayne Beams. 

Zorko polled 250 votes, while Beams finished second with 249. Ruckman Stefan Martin closely followed in third place with 242 votes.

Defenders Darcy Gardiner and Harris Andrews rounded out the top five.

“The Magician” played in all 22 games for the Lions this year and was promoted to the captaincy mid-season after Beams stepped down from the position. 

In the 2018 AFL season, Zorko averaged 21 disposals, seven tackles and one goal per game, kicking 26 for the year. The midfielder recorded a career high of 159 tackles.

Midfield Coach Dale Tapping presented Beams the Nigel Lappin trophy for finishing second in the Merrett-Murray Medal count. Earlier in the evening Beams collected the Players Player of the Year Award and the Hyundai Fan's MVP.

Stefan Martin received the Alastair Lynch trophy for the second time in his career, for polling the third highest number of votes for Club Champion. 

 

Top Ten in the Merrett-Murray Medal voting

Dayne Zorko - 250 votes
Dayne Beams - 249 votes
Stef Martin - 242 votes
Darcy Gardiner - 228 votes
Harris Andrews - 208 votes
Jarrod Berry - 205 votes
Hugh McCluggage - 200 votes
Luke Hodge - 185 votes
Nick Robertson - 172 votes
Alex Witherden - 170 votes

Alex Witherden was awarded Rookie of the Year in his second season at the Gabba. Earlier in the week, the defender attended the Rising Star luncheon in Melbourne after receiving his second nomination for the prestigious award.

Lions great Marcus Ashcroft was in attendance and presented the Most Professional Player Award, named after him, to Vice-Captain Harris Andrews. This is the second consecutive year Andrews has had this recognition.

Defender Darcy Gardiner received the Shaun Hart Trademark Player of the Year. Gardiner previously won this award in 2016 when it was known as “Most Competitive Player.”

Ryan Bastinac, Claye Beams, Ben Keays and Corey Lyons were joint winners of the Neville Fallon Award for the Reserves Best and Fairest. Earlier that day, all four had played in the Lions NEAFL elimination final against Aspley.

Ryan Kelly was awarded the Murray Johnson Volunteer of the Year Award.

Premiership player Robert Copeland and Beau McDonald, along with current Lion Daniel Rich, were inducted as Life Members. 

The Lions live streamed the entire event on lions.com.au for the second year running, with Dom Fay again acting as host. 

Stay tuned to lions.com.au over the next week as we share all the highlights from the night, including speeches, interviews, photos and more!

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs