Carlton skipper Chris Judd has won his second Brownlow Medal after holding off favourites Dane Swan and Gary Ablett.
Collingwood superstar Swan looked set to pinch the medal from Judd late in the count before back-to-back three-vote performances in rounds 19 and 20 saw the Blues champion snuff any chance of being overtaken.
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Judd finished on 30 votes, with Ablett second on 26 and Swan third on 24.
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After a slow start, pre-count favourite Swan polled 12 votes from a possible 18 over rounds 12 to 17 to shoot to 21 votes - just two behind Judd on 23.
But Judd earned seven votes in the final four rounds.
Judd set up his second Brownlow triumph, following his 2004 victory with the West Coast Eagles, with a stunning run of five consecutive best-on-grounds from rounds four to eight.
Amazingly, the Blues captain missed the first three matches through suspension and played in just 10 victories for the year - seven less than Swan and six less than Ablett.
A frustrating early run of single votes saw Ablett fail to make the most of his hot early-season form.
The Geelong champion and defending Brownlow Medallist was awarded the maximum votes in five games - including two in the final three rounds to see him finish in second place.
Swan was surprisingly named best afield just twice over the entire season.
Collingwood and Geelong young guns Scott Pendlebury and Joel Selwood finished equal fourth on 21.
Early in the night, Fremantle giant Aaron Sandilands looked capable of pulling off an upset as he shot away to an early lead before fading to finish on 20 alongside Western Bulldogs midfielder Matthew Boyd.
"It's a huge honour, I'm still pretty excited about it," Judd said as he accepted the award.
"It was a big decision to come to Carlton after six years at West Coast.
"I've really enjoyed playing with a new club, and a good crew of blokes."
"It's a huge spinout for me, and probably a lot of people in the room, but I'll take it.
Judd is the 13th multiple Brownlow Medallist and only the fourth player to win AFL's highest individual honour with different clubs.
But the Carlton skipper was keen to put his victory into perspective.
"When you've seen something like what Jim Stynes is going through, football is make believe, it's a self-indulgent pastime," he said.
"You look at what Jim Stynes is doing, and that's real life. People like Jim are the real heroes in society.
"Jim was one of my heroes on the football field, but his public battle with cancer has made him more if an inspiration."
2010 Brownlow Medal - Top 5
Chris Judd (Carlton) - 30
Gary Ablett (Geelong) - 26
Dane Swan (Collingwood) - 24
Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood) - 21
Joel Selwood (Geelong) - 21