THERE were exciting finishes to many of the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s best and fairest awards on Monday night.
The pre-Michelsen vote count for the reserves and under-18 football, and the 17-under, B-reserve, B-grade, and A-reserve netball was aired on Fresh fm.
Votes for the netball were called by BFNL chair Carol McKinstry, and Sam McGee from the BFNL board called the football votes.
The last of the awards to be called was the Alan McDonald Medal for reserves football.
South Bendigo on-baller Nathan Newlan won the medal for a third time.
Three votes in the Bloods’ final round clash at Gisborne clinched a one-vote victory from Sandhurst on-baller Brodie Montague.
Newlan was adjudged best afield by the umpires in six matches and polled 21 votes.
Winner of the Alan McDonald medal when at Kangaroo Flat in 2015 and ’16, Newlan crossed to South Bendigo during the 2017 season.
He played two senior matches this season and will be aiming to increase that tally markedly in 2019 and beyond.
Montague has played a mix of senior and reserves for the Dragons this year.
He was back in the senior team for last Sunday’s first semi-final and kicked three goals in the Dragons big win against Kyneton.
Gisborne’s Baxter Slater joined a who’s who of Bendigo FNL greats as a winner of the Sportspower-backed George Symons Medal as under-18s best and fairest.
A talented on-baller, Slater scored 17 votes to win the medal as Strathfieldsaye’s Daniel Clohesy was runner-up on 14.
Slater was adjudged best afield in five matches.
His year included a senior match at Strathfieldsaye in round two and six reserves matches.
Slater and his Bulldogs team-mates have won their way to a grand final and will await the winner of Saturday’s preliminary final between Strathfieldsaye Storm and Sandhurst.
A great night for Gisborne FNC included Rylee Connell being named the Jenni Holborn medallist for A-reserve netball.
Connell’s consistency earned votes in 10 of 16 matches and best on court in five games for the red, white and blue.
In the final three games , Connell scored eight of a possible nine votes for a final tally of 23.
Runner-up in A-reserve was Kangaroo Flat goalshooter Annie Spear.
A Bendigo FNL representative and former VNL player, Spear scored 19 votes in the Jenni Holborn medal award.
South Bendigo team-mates Maya Van Es and Morgan Lawson achieved a one-two finish in B-reserve netball.
Van Es clinched victory on the final vote called.
A key player in defence, Van Es was best on court in the last four rounds of the season and earned three votes in seven matches for a tally of 26 votes.
Athleticism and a leap from a volleyball background have played a big part in Van Es being such a crucial player for South Bendigo.
Lawson starred in attack for the Bloods and polled 25 votes.
Sandhurst’s Briona Giddings added another league best and fairest to a record that includes many premiership victories.
A star in mid-court or defence for many years, Giddings was best on court in five matches this season.
A final tally of 25 votes was gleaned from 11 of 18 matches.
South Bendigo’s Emily Bakes capped a sensational season by polloing 20 votes to be runner-up.
There were closely-fought duels for the Workspace Australia leading goalkicking awards.
A tally of 76 by South Bendigo’s Kaiden Antonowicz clinched the Ron Best Medal for senior goalkicking.
Bloods’ clubmate James Pietromonaco kicked 55 goals to win the reserves title.
Sandhurst’s James Vlaeminck won the SportsPower under-18s award on 47 goals.
The finalists in the Bart ‘n’ Print-sponsored Rising Star award for football were Castlemaine’s Riley Pedretti, Kyneton’s Leyton Chisholm, Maryborough’s Lachlan Bond, Sandhurst’s Isaac Ruff, and Strathfieldsaye’s Lachlan Wallace and Lachlan Gill.
A key player in many of Maryborough’s matches, Lachlan Bond is the Rising Star for 2018.
Finalists for the Bart ‘n’ Print Rising Star award for netball were Gisborne’s Tazma Morris, Golden Square’s Bree Heiden, Kangaroo Flat’s Abbey Grindall and Ella Wicks, Maryborough’s Bella Westbrook, and Sandhurst’s Ruby Turner.
The Rising Star for 2018 is Bree Heiden.
A tally of 4525 goals earned Sandhurst the Workspace Australia champion netball goalshooting club.
A point for every victory in football and netball decided the David McCann Memorial champion club.
Sandhurst FNC was victorious again on 113 points.
All of the league’s award winners will be presented at the Michelsen Medal function this Sunday at Bendigo Club.
A big day includes the calling of votes for the Michelsen, the senior footy best and fairest, as well as the Betty Thompson Medal for A-grade netball.