Cripps wins Carlton’s AFL best and fairest

Tenacious midfielder Patrick Cripps has become the second youngest player to ever win Carlton’s best and fairest award.

The 20-year-old has stamped himself as one of the competition’s most exciting young talents this season, kicking six goals and averaging 23.5 disposals across his 20 matches.

Cripps, who was runner up in last week’s AFL Rising Star Award behind Melbourne key forward Jesse Hogan, finished the vote count with 68 votes, edging out captain Marc Murphy on 67 votes, and Irish defender Zach Tuohy who finished with 64.

The medal is named after Blues legend John Nicholls, the only man younger than Cripps to win the award, claiming it in 1959 aged 20 years, 49 days.

Cripps was 20 years, 183 days when he scooped the medal at the Crown Palladium Ballroom in Melbourne on Thursday night.

Carlton head of football Andrew McKay said Cripps is set for a big future at the club.

“It’s well documented that in the off-season he went away and hired his own running coach and returned at the end of pre-season fitter, stronger and with the kind of attitude that we just knew he would be in for a big year,” McKay said.

“The way Patrick has gone about it, and the leadership he has shown along the way, makes him a real role model to the other young players in our team.”

Cripps was taken with pick 13 in the 2013 national draft and is locked into a contract with the Blues until the end of 2017.

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