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McInnes pips McDonald for Butcher MedalMonday, October 26, 2020 - 4:25 PM - by Chris Pike

PERTH played finals football in 2020. That's right for the first time since 1997 the Demons were there for the business end of the season and as a result it was a thrilling race for the Butcher Medal with a returning favourite claiming the fairest and best award.

It will be a memory etched into folklore for all involved and in attendance when Perth was able to finally find a go-ahead goal in the last round on Saturday night at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park to beat South Fremantle.

That meant that for the first time since 1997, Perth took part in WAFL finals action and the Demons did make a good account of themselves the next week in the first semi-final at Joondalup before a narrow loss to West Perth.

So that drought of no finals football ended for the Demons and as a result it was a fascinating race to see who would claim the Butcher Medal as the club's fairest and best winner for 2020.

And as it turned out it was a battle of the forwards, one who had already played 128 WAFL games coming into the 2020 season and the other who made his debut in Round 1 and took the competition by storm from there.

In the end, it was veteran and versatile big man Fraser McInnes who prevailed on what was his return season to Perth after he left to play with East Perth while listed with the West Coast Eagles. The last two seasons he continued to play with the Eagles' reserves side in the WAFL too.

But he came back to his original WAFL club in 2020 and was outstanding as a key forward target as well as a pinch hit ruckman and that was recognised by him winning the Butcher Medal as the Demons' fairest and best winner for the season.

McInnes finished on top of the vote count with 42 votes but that was only one ahead of the runner-up and that was Logan McDonald who only made his league debut with Perth in Round 1.

By the end of the season, McDonald was seen as a sure fire AFL superstar of the future and a potential No. 1 draft pick on the back of his standout performances in the forward-line for the Demons.

McDonald would kick three goals in an exciting debut against Peel Thunder before adding four in Round 2 against East Perth. He would go on to kick three goals on another three occasions during the season to end up with 21 majors for the home and away season.

That saw him only fall two goals short of winning the Bernie Naylor Medal as the league's leading goalkicker. The fact he was also only one vote off being a fairest and best winner in a team that made the finals speaks volumes of just how impressive he was as well.

Emerging small defender Jacob Coniglio finished third in fairest and best voting with 35 votes ahead of Brady Grey (34), Clayton Giblett (33), Andrew Fisher (31), Marshall Jones (31), Matthew Taylor (30), Jacob Payne (27) and Kieran Delahunty (27).

Highlighting how many players stepped up on a consistent basis for Perth during the season was the fact that experienced players Chris Masten, Michael Sinclair, Brent Edmonds, Brant Colledge and Matthew Rogers all played well but couldn’t find spots in the top 10.

Meanwhile, Tarkyn Brogan-Henry was named Greg Brehaut Medallist as reserves fairest and best winner ahead of Andries Mercer, Brodie Gray, Hamish McFarlane and Nyika John.

And in the colts, Zak Meloncelli won the Jack Ensor Medal as fairest and best ahead of Conor McPartland, Jaiden Hunter and Harry Quartermaine.

Butcher Medal (Fairest and Best): Fraser McInnes
Runner-up: Logan McDonald
Third place: Jacob Coniglio
Redlegs One Percenter Award: Marshall Jones
Players' Player Award: Fraser McInnes
Ron Tucker Memorial Trophy (Leading Goalkicker): Logan McDonald (21 goals)
Doug Buckingham Memorial Trophy (Most Outstanding Young Talent): Logan McDonald

Greg Brehaut Medal (Fairest and Best): Tarkyn Brogan-Henry
Runner-up: Andries Mercer
Redlegs One Percenter Award: Brodie Gray
Coaches Award: Hamish McFarlane
Players' Player Award: Nyika John
Jack Ensor Medal (Fairest and Best): Zak Meloncelli
Runner-up: Conor McPartland
Past Players & Officials Association Encouragement Award: Jaiden Hunter
Spirit of Colts Award: Harry Quartermaine

Vince Pendal Award (Best Clubman): Christian Eyres
Jack O'Dea Memorial Trophy (Club Person of the Year): Simon Jenkins