Rory Laird has won the 2021 Malcolm Blight Medal after completing his transformation from one of the best defenders in the competition to one of its premier onballers.
The 27-year-old on Saturday night became the seventh player to be crowned Adelaide’s Club Champion for a second time after he claimed his first gold jacket in 2018 while playing in defence.
Laird played all 22 games this season in which the prolific ball-winning midfielder averaged 32 disposals, 6.8 clearances and almost six tackles per game.
He had a season-high 40 disposals twice against Collingwood in Round 12 and in the Round 23 win over North Melbourne last weekend.
Laird polled 123 votes to win by just three from fellow midfielder Ben Keays who has now finished top five in the award in his two seasons at the Club.
Paul Seedsman, who like Laird was nominated in the AFL’s 40-man All Australian squad was third on 105 votes while Brodie Smith, Tom Doedee and Taylor Walker were all equal fourth on 93, and Jake Kelly and reigning Club Champion Reilly O’Brien equal fifth on 90.
Adelaide’s Club Champion award is calculated by coaches rating every player with a score from 1-10 after every game this season.

00:50 Mins
Published on

Club Champion: Rory Laird

Rory Laird has been announced as the Crows Club Champion for the second time.

Published on
Skip Video

Young guns Jordon Butts and Ned McHenry, and Captain Rory Sloane also finished in the top 10.
Laird was rookie listed by the Crows with Pick No.5 in 2011 and made his AFL debut in 2013 when he played 18 games.
His career tally now stands at 182 and in March the two-time All Australian re-signed with the Crows until the end of 2026.
Laird capped a stellar night at the Convention Centre by also receiving the Members’ MVP Award and the Players’ Trademark Award.
Taylor Walker was Adelaide’s leading goalkicker with 48 goals from 17 games this season and young gun Harry Schoenberg – who was nominated for the AFL’s Rising Star Award – received the Mark Bickley Emerging Talent Award.
Tom Lynch was presented the Phil Walsh Best Team Man Award and Ned McHenry the Dr Brian Sando OAM Trophy for professionalism and attention to detail.
Ruckman Kieran Strachan won the SANFL Club Champion Award while Jay Boyle won the Dean Bailey Award for on-field performance, dedication to training and commitment to the team.
Further to Adelaide’s AFLW vote count night in April, Ebony Marinoff was recognised for winning the Club Champion Award for last season from Anne Hatchard and Erin Phillips.
Phillips won the Leading Goal Kicker Award, Hatchard the Players’ Player Award and Sarah Allan was crowned Best Defensive Player.

2021 Malcolm Blight Medal Final Leaderboard:

1. Rory Laird 123 votes

2. Ben Keays 120 votes

3. Paul Seedsman 105 votes

4. Brodie Smith 93 votes

4. Tom Doedee 93 votes

4. Taylor Walker 93 votes

7. Jake Kelly 90 votes

7. Reilly O’Brien 90 votes

9. Jordon Butts 88 votes

10. Rory Sloane 86 votes

10. Ned McHenry 86 votes