Close calls for Bendigo JFL champion player awards


THERE were close calls in the IGA-backed Bendigo Junior Football League’s fairest and best awards across the under-18 and under-16 girls, and under-16 competitions for the ’23 season.

Votes were called on Wednesday night.

After the final card was called, Eaglehawk’s Isabel St Clair and Woorinen’s Samantha Johnston were declared joint winners of the under-18 girls award on 13 votes.

St Clair played 10 matches and gained votes in six of them.

Umpires awarded her the maximum three votes in three matches.

The Hawks finished the home-and-away series in fourth place and were beaten by Golden Square in the first semi-final.

A tally of 39 goals by Johnston included 11 as the Woorinen Tigers took on Sandhurst in the 14th round.

Johnston played 14 games and earned votes in six matches.

She was adjudged best afield in three matches.

A big season for Johnston included playing three games for Woorinen in the Champions IGA-backed CVFL senior women’s football competition.

Focus for her and the Tigers’ under-18s team is on this Sunday’s preliminary final against Golden Square.

The winner will meet White Hills in the grand final.

Under-18 girls:

13 Samantha Johnston, Woorinen.

13 Isabel St Clair, Eaglehawk.

11 Gabrielle Drage, Golden Square.

10 Brydi Lewis, Woorinen.

9 Issy Boulton, Woorinen.

9 Sasha Pearce, White Hills.

8 Tahlia Kendall, White Hills.

7 Jayda Lockwood, Golden Square.

An unbeaten run by Sandhurst in the under-16 girls competition had Lacey Nihill star in many matches for the maroon and blue.

Nihill polled votes in 10 of the 12 games she played to earn the league fairest and best on 25 votes.

Five best afield performances included a season-best of nine goals against Castlemaine in round three.

Nihill has kicked 54 goals and will play a crucial role for Sandhurst in a grand final showdown with Golden Square or Strathfieldsaye.

A big season for Nihill included representing the Latrobe University Bendigo Pioneers in the Coates Talent League.

Runner-up for the league award was Sandhurst’s Georgia Clark on 20 votes.

Under-16 girls:

25 Lacey Nihill, Sandhurst.

20 Georgia Garlick, Sandhurst.

14 Gemma McPhee, Golden Square.

14 Hannah Cochrane, Sandhurst.

12 Tessa Skipper, Strathfieldsaye.

10 Chloe Butcher, Castlemaine.

10 Olivia Lacy, Sandhurst.

10 Evie Nuttall, Strathfieldsaye.

Best afield in seven matches, Maryborough’s Zac Cicchini took out the under-16 seniors fairest and best on 26 votes.

The 15-year-old polled votes in 11 of the 15 matches he played for the Magpies.

A season tally of 31 goals included six against South Bendigo in the 15th round.

Cicchini represented the Bendigo JFL in inter-league matches against Ballarat, Goulburn Murray, and Murray.

Maryborough finished the home-and-away series in third place and will take on Golden Square in this Sunday’s preliminary final in the Latrobe University Bendigo-backed finals series in the BJFL.

Among Maryborough’s opponents will be Riley Dillon who earned 23 votes to be runner-up for the league fairest and best award.

It will be the Magpies or Bulldogs who take on Sandhurst Maroon in the Septemberw 16 grand final at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Under-16 seniors

26 Zac Cicchini, Maryborough.

23 Riley Dillon, Golden Square.

23 Gus Hay, Sandhurst Maroon.

20 Lachlan Joyce, Rochester.

17 Logan Howell, Maryborough.

17 Alex Wingrave, Strathfieldsaye.

16 Oscar Cail, Sandhurst Maroon.

16 Xavier Grant, Golden Square.

15 Noah Willits, Sandhurst Navy.

13 Mitchell McKnight, Castlemaine.

11 Darby Brown, Maiden Gully YCW.

Kangaroo Flat was to the fore in the under-16 reserves, division one award.

A tally of 20 votes clinched victory for Xavier Coghill from Kangaroos’ team-mate Ray McNamara on 16.

Coghill’s run included five best-on performances and votes in eight of the 11 matches he played for the green and white.

He also represented the BJFL against Goulburn Murray and the Murray league teams.

Coghill also stepped up to play three matches for Kangaroo Flat in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL under-18s competition which is sponsored by SportsPower.

The season is not over for Coghill, McNamara and their Kangaroos’ team-mates as they take on Strathfieldsaye in the under-16 reserves, division one preliminary final this Sunday.

The winner will take on White Hills in the grand final.

Under-16 reserves, division one:

20 Xavier Coghill, Kangaroo Flat.

16 Raymond McNamara, Kangaroo Flat.

13 Ben Miller, Huntly.

11 Joey Mizzi, White Hills.

9 Tajh Blythman, Kangaroo Flat.

8 Ollie Lowndes, Kangaroo Flat.

8 Caleb Tobin, White Hills.

7 Liam Cummings, White Hills.

7 Tarrant Gloury, Kangaroo Flat.

An unbeaten run by Lockington Bamawm United in the under-16 reserves, division two competition included hot form by James Brentnall.

Four best afield performances and votes in seven of 15 games he played gave Brentnall a tally of 18 to be the fairest and best.

Runner-up was LBU Cats team-mate  Nicholas Mitchell on 14.

A tally of eight goals against White Hills in the fourth round was among the season highs for Brentnall.

The 15-year-old finished the home-and-away series on 38 goals.

Brentnall represented the Bendigo JFL in the Goldfields Challenge with Ballarat JFL.

The LBU Cats have marked their first season in the Bendigo JFL by winning through to the grand final where they will meet Maiden Gully YCW Eagles or White Hills in the grand final.

Under-16 reserves, division two:

18 James Brentnall, Lockington Bamawm United.

14 Nicholas Mitchell, Lockington Bamawm United.

13 Steven Neervoort, Maiden Gully YCW.

11 Mitchell Lines, Maiden Gully YCW.

10 Patrick Keele, Lockington Bamawm United.

10 Harry Arnett, Marong.

8 Noah Hadden, Maiden Gully YCW.

8 William Hann,  Lockington Bamawm United.