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Saturday, October 16, 2021 - 9:34 PM by Chris Pike

HAIDEN Schloithe's position in history as one of the best and most decorated players to ever pull on a South Fremantle jumper has been cemented with him taking out the 2021 fairest and best award to become a four-time WJ Hughes Medal winner.

As he nears the 200-game mark in his WAFL career with South Fremantle that started in 2011 on the back of a successful colts premiership winning stint, Schloithe delivered another outstanding 2021 season that was capped off by claiming the Bulldogs' fairest and best award.

Schloithe took out the WJ Hughes Medal in the glittering ceremony held to celebrate the 2021 season at the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle on Thursday night and it further cements what is a remarkably decorated career he is building.

It was also announced on the night that Schloithe has signed on for another season in 2022 as well which will have him on track to become just the 20th player in South Fremantle's history to reach 200 games all things going well.

The 181-game superstar produced one of the best seasons of his career in 2021 and that saw him finish third in Sandover Medal voting, named to the WAFL Team of the Year for a sixth straight time and now winning the WJ Hughes Medal.

Schloithe kicked 24 goals in 22 games in 2021 splitting his time between playing as a forward and midfielder while averaging 24.1 possessions along the way while often copping close attention from the opposition.

Schloithe finished the Hughes Medal vote count with 170 votes to claim the award for a fourth time while premiership wingman turned on-baller in 2021 Tom Blechynden was recognised for his breakout season by finishing as runner-up with 136 votes.

Premiership defender Chad Pearson cemented himself as one of the elite defenders in the competition in 2021 and he finished third in fairest and best voting with 135 votes.

Premiership midfielder Jacob Dragovich had another standout season where he became a 100-game player along the way and finished in fourth position with 127 votes.

Star recruit and versatile key position player Blake Schlensog was next on 122 votes while Noah Strom was sixth with 118 votes, Brandon Donaldson seventh with 108, Nick Suban eighth with 101, Mason Shaw ninth with 95 and Cody Ninyette 10th with 94.

It was a night to celebrate the continued greatness of Schloithe, though, as he added a fourth Hughes Medal to a career that has already included him winning a premiership, becoming a life member, representing WA three times and winning the 2017 Sandover Medal.

By becoming a four-time winning of South Fremantle's fairest and best award, Schloithe joins some elite company in the history of the Bulldogs as well.

The first player at South Fremantle to win four fairest and best awards was the legendary Steve Marsh who won AW Walker Medals in 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1956. 

Stephen Michael then won five fairest and best awards in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981 and 1983 and he is the only player in history to have now won more than the four that Schloithe has received.

By winning a fourth Hughes Medal, Schloithe goes past Kris Miller, Wally Matera, John Todd, Clive Lewington, Frank Jenkins and Arthur Edgar who have all been crowned club champions three times.

Other major award winners on the night included young gun Toby McQuilkin being named Player of the Finals, Mason Shaw winning the John Gerovich Trophy as leading goalkicker and Blake Schlensog being named Best First Year Player.

Jake Florenca made a successful return from a ruptured Achilles and took out the Culver Family Award for courage and perseverance while Ben Rioli was named Best Clubman and received the Warren Medal.

The careers of retiring pair Brock Higgins and Blayne Wilson were also celebrated. Both players were key members of the 2020 premiership with Higgins playing 132 games at South Fremantle after crossing from East Perth while Wilson played 124 on the back of his time with the West Coast Eagles.

The Roy McGuinness Medal as reserves fairest and best was won by Matthew Ward. He won the award with 120 votes to take it out ahead of Jaxon Bellchambers (88), Seaton Thompson (71), Regan Spooner (71), Travis Abbott (67), Jarrad Doney (63), Jack Musika (60), Trent Newton (60), George Wessels (60) and Jarrod Salmeri (59).

Caleb Stephens won the Dave Ingraham Memorial Medal and City of Fremantle Mayoral Trophy to claim the colts fairest and best award for 2021.

He won with 164 votes to take out the award ahead of Lochlan Bloomer (87), Chase Bourne (56), Aaron Drage (47), Caden Turnbull (45), Thomas Regan (42), Julian Hulten (41), Jacob Plunkett (35), Lawerence Winmar (30), Toby Dodds (22), Mitch Sinnott (18), Jesse Motlop (11), Regan Ward (11), Jonas Brown (11) and Tyler Pizzola (10).

WJ Hughes Medal (Fairest and Best): Haiden Schloithe
N MacDonald Memorial Trophy (Runner-up): Tom Blechynden
Past Player & Officials Trophy (Third place): Chad Pearson
Player of the Finals: Toby McQuilkin
John Gerovich Trophy (Leading Goalkicker): Mason Shaw (52 goals)
Shearer Family Trophy (Best First Year Player): Blake Schlensog
Culver Family Award (Courage & Perseverance): Jake Florenca
Warren Medal (Best Clubman): Ben Rioli
Quest Outstanding Performance Award: Haiden Schloithe

Roy McGuinness Medal (Fairest and Best): Matthew Ward
Centurion Club Award (Runner-up Fairest and Best): Jaxon Bellchambers 
Harold Harper Award (Third Fairest and Best): Seaton Thompson
Leading Goalkicker: Nathan Spooner (15 goals)

Dave Ingraham Memorial Medal & City of Fremantle Mayoral Trophy (Fairest and Best): Caleb Stephens
L & F Mihaljevich Award (Runner-up Fairest and Best): Lochlan Bloomer
Life Members Award (Third Fairest and Best): Chase Bourne
Len Gilchrist Award (Leading Goalkicker): Julian Hulten (22 goals)
Bob and Sabrina Maumill Award (Best Team Man): Riley Colborne
Best First Year Player: Thomas Regan
Colts Encouragement Award: Mitch Brown
WAFL Coaches Award: Caleb Stephens