MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Acting captain Zach Merrett of the Bombers thanks fans during the 2016 AFL Round 21 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Gold Coast Suns at Etihad Stadium on August 14, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Merrett wins Essendon best and fairest

Essendon’s Zach Merrett has won his maiden¬†Crichton Medal, becoming the club’s youngest best and fairest winner in 35 years.

Merrett won the count on 378 votes, ahead of Joe Daniher and James Kelly, who finished equal second on 273 votes.

Captain Brendon Goddard (269) finished fourth, while David Zaharakis (257) rounded out the top five.

At 20 years and 333 days, Merrett is the youngest winner of the award since Neale Daniher in 1981, who won the best fairest at 20 years and 228 days.

Merrett played every game in 2016, averaging 30 disposals, six tackles and five marks.

2016 Essendon best and fairest top 10
1. Zach Merrett (378 votes)
2. Joe Daniher (273)
James Kelly (273)
4. Brendon Goddard (269)
5. David Zaharakis (257)
6. Mitch Brown (245)
7. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (236)
8. Orazio Fantasia (229)
9. Matt Dea (228)
10. Darcy Parish (224)