MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 22: Shaun Higgins of the Kangaroos runs with the ball during the round 18 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium on July 22, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Shaun Higgins was rewarded for his career-best season on Friday night, as he took home the Syd Barker medal as the Roos’ best and fairest.

Higgins polled 217 votes across the season, and narrowly edged out both Ben Cunnington (211 votes) and Ben Brown (209) in an exciting vote count.

The 29-year-old played 21 games in 2017 – his highest games return in a single season in his career – and averaged career-highs in disposals (23.5 per game), tackles (5.1), inside 50s (5.7) and clearances (4.3).

Robbie Tarrant (204 votes) and Luke McDonald (192) rounded out the top five players in the votes, as Tarrant just fell short of back-to-back medals.

In the other awards handed out on Friday night, Cunnington was named as the Shinboner of the Year, which is given to the played that most exhibits the club’s values on the field.

The hard-nosed midfielder was also voted the Mazda Excellence Award winner by the fans and the club’s members.

Forward Jy Simpkin was voted as the club’s Best Young Player, after playing 13 games in his debut season and kicking nine goals.

Brown, who finished third in the Coleman Medal race with 63 goals, was awarded the Peter Scanlon Community Award, for his work in the community.

In his final year with North Melbourne, defender Lachlan Hansen was presented with the Harold Henderson Best Clubman award, with his team-first approach and selflessness recognised around the club.

Syd Barker Medal top 10

  1. Shaun Higgins 217
  2. Ben Cunnington 211
  3. Ben Brown 209
  4. Robbie Tarrant 204
  5. Luke McDonald 192
  6. Jack Ziebell 161
  7. Sam Gibson 161
  8. Taylor Garner 134
  9. Scott Thompson 126
  10. Shaun Atley 125