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Trevor Barker Award: The contenders

Three-time award-winner Jack Steven and reigning club champion Seb Ross are the favourites for this year's count. - St Kilda Saints,Jake Carlisle,Jack Steven,Jade Gresham,Sebastian Ross,Jack Steele,Jarryn Geary,Jimmy Webster
Three-time award-winner Jack Steven and reigning club champion Seb Ross are the favourites for this year's count.

St Kilda has awarded a Best and Fairest since 1914, but it has only been known as the Trevor Barker Award since after the famous Saint’s passing in 1996.

A two-time winner of the club’s Best and Fairest award himself, Barker’s on-field flair and flamboyant personality endeared him to the red, white and black faithful in a turbulent period for the Saints.

But it was his unwavering loyalty to the club as well as his commitment to the community that led to the award being named in his memory.

Only two Saints from the current crop have won the Trevor Barker Award, and the pair looks like leading the charge again in 2018.

Three-time award-winner Jack Steven and reigning club champion Seb Ross are the favourites for this year’s count, with both midfielders enjoying prolific seasons despite a disappointing year on the scoreboard.

Among the chasing group is star half-back Jimmy Webster, who enjoyed his best season in red, white and black, while intercept king Jake Carlisle could also feature heavily in the votes after a strong 2018.

Jade Gresham, Jack Steele and Jarryn Geary will also poll well, with Steele and his captain particularly effective in shutting down opposition stars in the latter part of the season.

Key defender Jake Carlisle had another impressive albeit interrupted 2018, with both concussion and suspension sidelining the ex-Bomber at different points in the season.

In his second season at St Kilda, the 26-year-old once again showcased his elite intercept marking ability, setting up the Saints from the back and thwarting countless opposition forays.

Jack Steven had yet another outstanding season in red, white and black, and with three Trevor Barker Awards to his name already, the 28-year-old would enter truly elite company by winning a fourth.

The explosive midfielder has shown his trademark inexhaustible effort all year, a trait that has endeared him to Saints fans for a decade.

In what was a breakout year for the young star, Jade Gresham’s form saw him named in the AFL’s best 22 under 22 side at season’s end.

Splitting his time between the forward pocket and the midfield, the 21-year-old bagged 35 goals and averaged 6.3 score involvements per game.

READ: Gresham named in 22under22

Reigning club champion Seb Ross was one of the Saints’ most consistent performers in 2018, collecting over 30 disposals on no less than 13 occasions.

The 25-year-old’s numbers speak for themselves, but it was the bullish midfielder’s incredible run home that has him alongside Steven as clear front-runners for this year’s medal.

A spluttering start had Jack Steele on the back foot early in 2018, but his renewed purpose as a “run-with” midfielder since the Gold Coast fixture in Round 13 was telling.

Since then, the big-bodied 22-year-old has taken scalp after scalp, quashing the influence of some of the competitions best players in Andrew Swallow, Clayton Oliver, Oliver Wines and Tom Mitchell.

Captain Jarryn Geary showed his versatility throughout 2018, spending the first half of the year across the backline before moving into the midfield to add his leadership and grunt at the coalface.

The 30-year-old was often entrusted to nullify the opposition’s most dangerous small forward, and his Round 22 performance against one of the top-four Hawks’ most punishing runners in Isaac Smith was a highlight.

Jimmy Webster stepped up to fill the significant void left by the recently retired Leigh Montagna, exemplified best by his confidence with ball in hand coming out of the backline.

At 25 years old, Webster has proved one of the Saints’ most damaging half-backs on the rebound, with his elite left foot able to pinpoint targets from distance.

2017 Trevor Barker Award Top 10

  1. Seb Ross 159 votes
  2. Dylan Roberton 124 votes
  3. Jarryn Geary 121 votes
  4. Jake Carlisle 119 votes
  5. Jack Billings 110 votes
  6. Jack Steven 108 votes
  7. Jimmy Webster 88 votes
  8. Jack Newnes 83
  9. Jade Gresham 81 votes
  10. Nathan Brown 78 votes