Melbourne key forward Jesse Hogan is a clear winner of the AFL Rising Star award.
As expected, this year’s best young player honour came down to Hogan and Carlton onballer Patrick Cripps.
But after speculation they could have the first tie in the award’s history, Hogan polled 49 votes and Cripps was next on 41.
Hogan starred for the Demons in his debut AFL season, playing 20 games and kicking 44 goals.
West Coast’s Dom Sheed was third in the voting with 27.
Nine of the 10 judges gave Hogan the maximum five votes and he finished one short of a perfect score.
Hogan and Cripps were outstanding this season and played like veterans.
They will be crucial for their clubs over several seasons as the Demons and Blues rebuild.
The 20-year-old had a stunning season for such a young key forward, leading Melbourne’s goalkicking and finishing third in the AFL for contested marks.
Hogan, from WA, joined the Demons in late 2012 as a pre-listed selection.
There has been massive hype surrounding Hogan, who wears No.1, and he keeps justifying it.
He was eligible to play senior football for Melbourne last year, but suffered a serious back injury that kept him out of football until August of that season.
Hogan finally made his senior debut in round one this season and impressed immediately, taking seven marks and kicking two goals against Gold Coast.
“Obviously, you don’t want to base yourself (on) individual awards, but I didn’t have a great run last year with injury,” Hogan said.
“This year, I didn’t set myself high expectations but, to be honoured by some of the names up there (in winning the award), it was a pretty good feeling.”
Hogan added the back injury had been a huge experience.
“You’re not invincible – most 20-year-olds have never had a serious injury like I had,” he said.
“You see these older players with injury and you think ‘nup, I’m fine – I will be okay.”
Demons coach Paul Roos said Cripps had been outstanding, and noted few key forwards so young had been so dominant in their debut season.
“No one has done what Jesse’s done … I’m pleased he’s won it,” Roos said.