HE might have spent time at two AFL clubs and now played 39 WAFL matches with East Fremantle, but a fairest and best award has eluded Jarrad Jansen since 2008 until now – after being named the Lynn Medallist for 2020.
Jansen's last fairest and best triumph came back in 2008 when he was playing in the under-13s at East Fremantle district powerhouse Bull Creek-Leeming, and while he would have preferred more than one win in 2020, claiming East Fremantle's fairest and best award is a source of pride.
Since that last individual accolade 12 years ago, Jansen rose through the ranks at East Fremantle before getting drafted to Geelong in 2013. He spent two years at the Cats before getting traded to the Brisbane Lions where he did play eight AFL matches over the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
But once his time was up at the Lions, he had no trouble deciding to return to East Fremantle and while the team success hasn’t quite been there the past three years, he has been a strong and consistent performer.
He might have missed Round 1 of 2020 through suspension but was outstanding in the remaining seven matches for the Sharks in a variety of roles and that ended up seeing him claim the Lynn Medal as the club's fairest and best winner.
It was a tight vote count from the eight matches in 2020 with Jansen winning with 65 votes just ahead of Milan Murdock (64), Cody Leggett (63), Jordan Snadden (62), Blaine Boekhorst (54), Tom Bennett (52), Matthew Jupp (52), Jonathon Griffin (51) and Dylan Winton (51).
Jansen was happy enough with his individual season and while he didn’t expect to win the Lynn Medal, it's something he is now tremendously proud of.
"I thought I'd be up there but I was coming from a game behind having missed the first game of the season. I knew I might have gone close but come up a bit short so to get over the line was pretty special," Jansen told 91.3 SportFM.
"It was a long wait and then the extra week with the first game definitely extended it, but I think I had a consistent enough year.
"I was thrown around in a few different positions and just kept my head down, and played my role for Bill. That obviously kept him happy enough and it's good to get the result because I haven’t won a fairest and best since the under-13s. So to do it at East Fremantle is pretty special."
One player to really make the leap forward in his football to become a quality league footballer for East Fremantle in 2020 was Milan Murdock.
Now that he's gone so close to winning a Lynn Medal just 24 games into his WAFL career, Jansen is looking forward to seeing how he continues to develop.
"He is a 20-year-old who played a bit of league footy with us last year as well and I think he's got a really bright future," he said.
"He rips into it like no one else in our side and he's so competitive, and can run all day. He's one of those guys who loves to learn about football and really eats it all up. He has a really bright future and I hope to see him up there one day winning a Lynn Medal."
The third-place getter in the vote was Cody Leggett who was supposed to be East Fremantle gun recruit from Perth for 2020, but the Demons played hard ball in attempting to hold him to his contract.
He only eventually received a clearance to join the Sharks on the eve of the season but without any lead up work with his new East Fremantle teammates, he did well on the field and Jansen is looking forward to him being even better now in 2021.
"I think he only joined us two weeks or a week before the season started so to come in and be quite foreign to the structures, and the other players to the side, and have the impact he did was really impressive," Jansen said.
"I think by the time he starts up again in late November it's going to set himself up for an even bigger year come 2021."
East Fremantle will now have a new captain in 2021 as well following the retirement of Jonathon Griffin. While Jansen would be more than happy to do the job at the Sharks, he thinks Matthew Jupp is first in line and he'll happily support him in the role.
"I've always wanted to develop the leadership side of my game and help develop other guys coming through the system. But I do probably see Juppy in that position next year," he said.
"I'll be there to support him all the way through and I'm always looking to develop in that area. Griff has been an absolute legend for our football and I was able to present him with a framed jumper at the Lynn Medal night which was an absolute privilege to do so."
Now it won't be long until East Fremantle return to Shark Park to begin pre-season training ahead of the 2021 season, and Jansen knows nothing but hard work is going to be behind the Sharks' hopeful rise back up the WAFL ladder.
"We just have to make sure that we come back in really good nick and hit the ground running for pre-season," Jansen said.
"I know I'm putting in the work and it's about holding other guys accountable to their running and weights program so we aren’t coming in underdone and playing catch up.
"This year clearly proved that near enough isn’t good enough and we have to make sure we are ready to go come November and then build from there."
LEAGUE AWARD WINNERS
Lynn Medal Winner (Fairest and Best): Jarrad Jansen
Runner-up Fairest and Best (Ray French Memorial Award): Milan Murdock
Third-place Fairest and Best: Cody Leggett
Fourth-place Fairest and Best: Jordan Snadden
Fifth-place Fairest and Best: Blaine Boekhorst
Patrons Rising Star: Milan Murdock
Leading Goalkicker: Lachlan Bailey (8 goals)
Best Clubman (David Spry Memorial Award): Corey Holmes
Left Bank Community Award: Lachlan Bailey
RESERVES AWARD WINNERS
Henry Jeffery Medal (Fairest and Best): Jakob Ah Chee
Runner-up Fairest and Best (Colin Glennie Memorial Award): Reuben McGuire
Third-place Fairest and Best (Jack Bair Memorial Award): Adam Serenda
Fourth-place Fairest and Best: Matthew Burton
Fifth-place Fairest and Best: Cody Smith
COLTS AWARD WINNERS
Len Anderson Medal (Fairest and Best): Finn Gorringe
Runner-up Fairest and Best: Jed Hagan
Fourth-place Fairest and Best: Keanu Haddow
Fifth-place Fairest and Best: Brandon Walker
Rising Star (Pud Beasley Memorial Award): Jed Hagan
Most Dedicated (Mike Mikus Memorial Award): Campbell Tirant
Past Players & Officials Encouragement Award: Lachlan McManus
Best Player in Finals: Finn Gorringe