JOEL Patfull has won his first Merrett-Murray Medal as the Brisbane Lions' best and fairest player, edging out midfielder Daniel Rich in a close vote on Friday night.
The under-rated defender was rewarded for a superb 2012 season, collecting 34 votes from the match committee to beat Rich (32) and Irishman Pearce Hanley (28.5).
Pre-count favourite Jack Redden (28) finished equal fourth with captain Jonathan Brown.
Patfull, 27, won his first B&F in his eighth season after stopping a variety of tall and small opponents this season.
He becomes the 10th recipient of the Merrett-Murray Medal in the Lions’ merged history.
Patfull was also awarded the Shaun Hart Most Courageous Player award.
Rich, who arguably had a career-best season, finished runner-up despite serving a two-match suspension for pushing St Kilda's Clint Jones into the boundary fence in round 16.
Meanwhile, first-year sensation Dayne Zorko prompted a rule change to win the Rookie of the Year award.
Traditionally it had the same criteria as the AFL Rising Star (under 21 and less than 10 senior games at the start of the season), but the match committee unanimously decided Zorko’s efforts could not go unrecognised, and obtained board approval to change the criteria to eliminate the age restriction.
The 23-year-old therefore went home with the Rookie of the Year award, alongside an equal seventh finish in the final best and fairest count.
Redden won both the Players’ Player of the Year and the Members’ Player of the Year awards, while tagger Andrew Raines won the Marcus Ashcroft Most Professional Player award.
The club also inducted Robert Walls as a Life Member in recognition of his contribution with both Fitzroy and the Bears.
Merrett-Murray Medal (Club Champion Winner): Joel Patfull
Nigel Lappin Trophy (Club Champion Runner-Up): Daniel Rich
Alastair Lynch Trophy (Club Champion Third Place): Pearce Hanley
Players’ Player of the Year: Jack Redden
Marcus Ashcroft Most Professional Player: Andrew Raines
Shaun Hart Most Courageous Player: Joel Patfull
Rookie of the Year: Dayne Zorko
Members’ Player of the Year: Jack Redden
Life Member Inductee: Robert Walls
Merrett-Murray Medal voting
1. Joel Patfull - 34 votes
2. Daniel Rich - 32 votes
3. Pearce Hanley - 28.5 votes
=4. Jonathan Brown - 28 votes
=4: Jack Redden - 28 votes
6. Tom Rockliff - 26.5 votes
=7. Jed Adcock - 25 votes
=7. Daniel Merrett - 25 votes
=7. Dayne Zorko - 25 votes
10. Simon Black - 22 votes