Brisbane Lions Co-Captain Harris Andrews has claimed the Merrett-Murray Medal following a brilliant 2023 season.
Andrews was crowned the Lions Best and Fairest at the Club Champion Dinner at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Wednesday night.
The Lions leader claimed the medal with 62 votes ahead of fellow Co-Captain and 2023 Brownlow Medallist Lachie Neale (61) and Vice-Captain Hugh McCluggage (59) in third.
It is the first time Andrews, a two-time All-Australian, has taken out the prestigious award - with Neale (three) and former skipper Dayne Zorko (four) winning the last seven between them.
The defender experienced an impressive season for the Lions where he averaged 14.5 disposals with 85.9 per cent efficiency, eight marks, 3.5 intercept marks, 9.5 spoils and 3.5 rebound 50s.
The 26-year-old, in his first season as the Club’s Co-Captain showed no signs of his new leadership role hindering his performance in any way.
Andrews kept many of the opposition’s best forwards quiet through 2023, while also finding plenty of the ball himself which resulted in a career-best 369 disposals for the season.
One of his best matches came against St Kilda in Round 15 where the defender registered a career-best 18 kicks and took a career-best nine intercept marks - which was just two short of the AFL record for the most in a match.
The defender was also at his spoiling best in Round 22 when he recorded a season-best 17 spoils against the Crows.
Highlighting just how influential Andrews was for the Lions in 2023 is that he took out the Merrett-Murray Medal ahead of Neale, the 2023 Brownlow Medal winner.
Neale’s ball-winning brilliance was on display once again this year as he averaged 27.4 disposals with a 75.8 per cent disposal efficiency.
On top of that the three-time Merrett-Murray Medallist recorded an average of 13.9 contested possessions, 8.1 clearances, 3.5 centre clearances, 4.1 tackles and 3.6 inside 50s for the Lions.
After yet another super consistent campaign from McCluggage, the midfielder claimed his second consecutive top three finish by coming in third with 59 votes.
McCluggage, in his maiden season as the Lions Vice-Captain, got better as the year went on and continued to build on his form each week.
The 25-year-old had a day out against Richmond in Round 16 where he racked up a career-best 34 disposals, which only just out shadowed his impressive 30-disposals match against the Gold Coast Suns.
Merrett-Murray Medal – Top 10
- Harris Andrews – 62
- Lachie Neale – 61
- Hugh McCluggage – 59
- Josh Dunkley – 56
- Cam Rayner – 53
- Brandon Starcevich – 53
- Charlie Cameron – 52
- Joe Daniher – 52
- Oscar McInerney – 50
- Darcy Wilmot - 49
Rookie of the Year: Will Ashcroft
Marcus Ashcroft Most Professional Player Award: Lincoln McCarthy
Shaun Hart Trademark Player of the Year: Josh Dunkley
Players’ Player of the Year: Josh Dunkley
Finals Player Award: Keidean Coleman and Hugh McCluggage
Youi Game Changer Award: Keidean Coleman
Life Memberships: Darcy Gardiner