GUN players in the engine room, Strathfieldsaye’s Jake Moorhead and Gisborne’s Maddy Stewart have earned the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s highest individual honours for the ’22 season.
Moorhead’s victory in the Michelsen Medal capped Sunday night’s awards ceremony at the Bendigo Club.
Earlier in the night it was Stewart who became a dual winner of the Betty Thompson medal for A-grade netball.
It was a close call for the Michelsen Medal in senior football.
A maximum of three votes in four matches and votes across nine matches gave Moorhead a tally of 19 votes.
Victory in the vote count kicked off what could be a big week for Moorhead and his Storm team-mates as they face Gisborne in this Saturday’s grand final at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Joint runners-up on 15 were Gisborne on-baller Brad Bernacki and South Bendigo coach Nathan Horbury.
Also well in the running were Sandhurst’s Lee Coghlan, Castlemaine’s Tommy Horne, Gisborne’s Flynn Lakey, and Strathfieldsaye’s Callum McCarty locked on 14 votes.
From the victory dais, Moorhead praised Brad Bernacki and Storm team-mate Kallen Geary on a high number of votes in a season where they missed many matches either through VFL commitments or injury.
After votes from the 15th of the 18-round season had been called, Moorhead led on 17 votes from Horne, 14; Bernacki and Eaglehawk’s Billy Evans, 13.
One vote in the 17th round and again in the 18th, which was the final card to be called, were enough to clinch victory.
“I owe everything to Strathfieldsaye Football Netball Club,” said Moorhead.
“I have been at the club seven or eight years now, and their support is incredible.”
Now living and working in Melbourne, the medallist also thanked his fiancé, Shania for her amazing support.
Moorhead became the second Storm player to claim a Michelsen Medal.
The first was Lachlan Sharp in Storm’s premiership-winning year of 2017.
Moorhead and Sharp will be aiming to add to their medal tally when Storm tackles Gisborne in this Saturday’s grand final at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
A star in mid-court, Maddy Stewart joined an elite group in the 31-year history of A-grade netball in the Bendigo FNL.
A tally of 29 votes meant Stewart earned a second Betty Thompson Medal.
The Gisborne champion earned the medal in 2018 and joined the likes of Maryborough’s Carol Sing, Sandhurst’s Kris Greene and Heather Oliver as a dual winner of the BFNL award.
Brianna Dalrymple-Monro won the medal when at Sandhurst in 2011, and five seasons later for Strathfieldsaye Storm.
At the end of a closely-fought contest for the 2022 award, Stewart’s feat to earn maximum three votes in six matches played a key role in being the number one player.
“I am so shocked to have won this award,” said Stewart.
“It’s an amazing competition that has so many talented players.
“I love playing in the Bendigo FNL,” Stewart said of Gisborne’s run to the preliminary final where it was beaten by Kangaroo Flat last Saturday.
Stewart has played the past 13 years at Gisborne and become an integral part of a team coached by Tarryn Rymer.
“The club is so special.”
Runner-up for the award was Kangaroo Flat’s Chelsea Sartori on 26 votes.
At three rounds to go of calling of cards by Kylie Ellis it was Stewart, 24 votes; Kangaroo Flat’s Ash Ryan, 22, and Sartori, 20, who led.
Two votes in the 16th round and three in the 18th were enough for Stewart to finish three clear of Sartori as Sandhurst’s Meg Williams, 24, was third, and Ryan was fourth on 22.
As Stewart basks in the glory of another medal win, Sartori, Ryan and Williams will take to the court at Queen Elizabeth Oval for Saturday’s clash to decide the ’22 premiers.
Earlier in the night, Stewart was presented with a trophy by coach Jayden Cowling as best player in the league’s open representative team.
Among the highlights of the league’s award function was the presentation by league chair Carol McKinstry of life membership to Kristen Wilson.
In 2022, Wilson made her way back from a breast cancer diagnosis to take to the court for Golden Square and reach the 300-game milestone.
A brilliant netball career for Wilson began with Castlemaine in 2002 and she was a member of Storm’s inaugural A-grade team in 2009.
The talented defender also racked up multiple premiership wins in her time with Golden Square.
“There have been many highs along the way,” Wilson said of playing in a grand final with Castlemaine, and the A-grade premiership with Golden Square in 2008.
Team-mates in her 200th game for Golden Square included daughter, Keely.
“Just to be back on court meant so much to me,” said Kristen Wilson.
In thanking team-mates, opponents, league and club officials, umpires and volunteers, Wilson also reflected on the importance of family and their support.
Bendigo FNL award winners for the 2022 season:
Workforce XS inter-league netball team awards:
17-under association championship finalists: Amaya Schmidt, Kangaroo Flat.
Open association championships: Maddy Stewart, Gisborne.
Bart ‘n Print Rising Stars – Hamish Yunghanns, Kyneton; and Shae Clifford, Sandhurst.
Coffee Storm champion netball goalshooting award: Sandhurst, 5047.
Coffee Storm goalkicking awards:
Ron Best medal, seniors: Joel Brett, Golden Square, 92.
Reserves: Jasper Stewart, Sandhurst, 43.
Under-18s: Harry Luxmoore, Gisborne, 64
David McCann Champion Club: Gisborne.
Alan McDonald Medal, reserves football: Jacob Murphy, Gisborne, 18; and Boyd Nalder, Gisborne, 18.
George Symons Medal, under-18s football: Macey Eaton, Golden Square, 26 vote.
Jenni Holborn Medal, A-reserve netball: Sarah Nash, South Bendigo, 28; Ella Wicks, Kangaroo Flat, 21.
B-grade netball: Briona Giddings, Sandhurst, 30; Zoe Magnusson, Kangaroo Flat, 20; and Tia Reaper, Eaglehawk, 20.
B-reserve netball: Isabelle Whiteley, Sandhurst, 28; Hannah Schmidt, Golden Square, 25.
Carol Sing Medal, 17-under netball: Tori Skrijel, Gisborne, 28; Emily McDonald, Gisborne, 23.