AFL Rd 13 - Essendon v Richmond
DARWIN, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 22: Zach Merrett of the Bombers kicks the ball during the round 13 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Richmond Tigers at TIO Stadium on August 22, 2020 in Darwin, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Essendon midfielder Zach Merrett has become just the third Bomber in the AFL era to win three Crichton Medals.

After another dominant season, the 25-year-old's efforts saw him etched into into Bomber folklore as just the fourth-youngest player in club history to achieve the feat behind James Hird, Dick Reynolds and Simon Madden.

Merrett's 420 votes was enough to finish well ahead of Darcy Parish in second place (339 votes) and Will Snelling in third (315 votes).

Essendon coach Ben Rutten said Merrett held a strong sense of determination to take the club forward.

"There's no doubt Zach took his game to another level this season and we commend him on his attitude, commitment, leadership and drive to again put together another outstanding year individually," he said via

“Zach is a strong competitor who demands the best out of himself and his teammates in his determination to take this club forward.

“We know he will continue to lead this young group over the years to come and it’s terrific to see him being rewarded for his campaign this season.”

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His outstanding season has placed him firmly near the top of the AFL's crop of midfielders, finishing sixth for disposals per game and third for total effective disposals in the league this season.

The second-round draft selection's form also saw him earn his second career blazer with place in the All-Australian midfield this season.


Merrett attributed his award to his diligence and desire to impart his values among his teammates.

“I think this year was much more about helping my teammates and bringing them along. It’s really exciting to see guys like Will, Darcy and Kyle get rewarded for their seasons and what they’re doing," he told SEN.

“I think I’ve had a fairly big influence on those guys on and off the field.

“For me, reflecting on this year, I think it sits firmly at the top in that respect. I think I helped more than ever before."

After a solemn finals exit this season, the Bombers will hope to bounce back next season and rid their trend of performing poorly in the season that follows a finals berth.

Full breakdown of all Essendon 2021 Club Awards

Bruce Heymanson Best Clubman – Kyle Langford
Adam Ramanauskas Most Courageous Player – Dyson Heppell
Matthew Lloyd Leading Goalkicker – Jake Stringer
Lindsay Griffiths Rising Star – Archie Perkins
Most Improved Player – Jayden Laverde
John Kilby Staff and Trainers’ Award – Mason Redman
McCracken Medal – Jayden Laverde