On-ballers, ruckman to fore in league’s award


ON-BALLERS and ruckmen again dominated most team’s tallies in voting for the Sam Cheatley Medal as fairest and best in the Bendigo Bank Heathcote DFNL senior footy action.

A brilliant return by Liam Jacques to Heathcote was capped by the Saints star polling 23 votes to claim the coveted award.

Jacques became the first Heathcote player since 1998 when Damian Willox was number one.

Focus now for Jacques and the rest of the Andrew Saladino-coached team is on qualifying for the grand final.

The Saints take on White Hills in this Saturday’s second semi at Colbinabbin’s M.J. Morgan Oval.

Heathcote’s tally of 65 votes for the Sam Cheatley Medal included 20 by Braden Padmore to be third overall.

After back-to-back triumphs in 2021 and ’22, Lockington Bamawm United ruckman Tyler Phillips again caught the umpires’ attention.

Phillips polled 21 votes to be this season’s runner-up.

Second and third at the end of the home and away series, North Bendigo and White Hills marked vote tallies of 65 and 65 in the medal race.

Best for North Bendigo were Nathan Newlan, 12, and Jordan Ford, 10.

Bulldogs’ captain Aarryn Craig polled 11 votes in a season where he copped a one-match suspension.

The Rob Bennett-coached North Bendigo was unbeaten at the halfway mark of the season, but finished with a 13-3 record.

After being beaten in the qualifying final by White Hills the heat’s on the Dogs to stay in the premiership race in Sunday’s first semi against Mount Pleasant at Elmore.

The charge of White Hills which is through to the second semi was led by Liam Bartels, 13; Nic Warnock, 11; and Ben Taylor, 10.

A Michelsen medallist in a brilliant stint with Golden Square in the Bendigo FNL, Adam Baird led Mount Pleasant’s voting for the Cheatley Medal.

The Blues’ co-coach polled 14 votes as pacy forward/mid Mitch Rovers scored 12 votes in his first season with Mounts after crossing from Kangaroo Flat.

A Mounts line-up jointly coached by Adam Baird and gun forward Ben Weightman takes on North Bendigo in Sunday’s first semi-final at Elmore.

Leitchville-Gunbower’s run from being wooden spooner in ’22 to this season’s elimination final was reflected in many players earning votes.

The Bombers’ tally of 53 was led by ruckman Jobee Warde, 14; the skiful Caleb Hislop, 8; and key forward Chris Horman, 6.

Club-by-club voting in the Sam Cheatley Medal for the ’23 season:

Colbinabbin, 23 votes:

5 Jed Brain; 3 Ben Barton, Laine Fitzgerald, David Price, 2 William Lowe, Jasper McArdle, Alex Van Ruiswyk; 1 Connor Aldous, Aidan Basile, Nick Knight.

Elmore, 38:

11 Daniel Russell; 9 Dylan Gordon; 5 Rhys Holmberg; 4 Nathan Kay; 3 Daniel Laffy, Jacob Styles; 1 Dylan Friedberger, Jarrad Kyne, Sam McHale.

Heathcote, 65:

23 Liam Jacques; 20 Braden Padmore; 7 Jesse Davies; 3 Callum Birch, Kai Cavallaro, Jordan Marcroft, Codie Price; 2 Corey Grindlay; 1 Connor Hamilton.

Huntly, 18:

5 Steve Kairn, Harry Whittle; 3 Mitch Billings, Matthew Jeffries; 2 Jackson Fry.

Leitchville Gunbower, 53:

14 Jobee Warde; 8 Caleb Hislop; 6 Chris Horman; 5 Hoby Bussey; 4 Austin Windridge; 3 Zach Hislop, Oskar Smartt; 2 Tom Brereton, Josh Hawken, Jye Keath, Shelby Ludlow-Lambrick; 1 Nathan McLellan, Lachlan Sverns.

Lockington Bamawm United, 47:

21 Tyler Phillips; 8 Brodie Collins; 5 Jeremy Mundie; 4 Jesse Collins; 3 Max Johnson; 2 Brock Kennedy, Joseph Wolfe; 1 Baxter Anderson, Anthony McMahon.

Mount Pleasant, 57:

14 Adam Baird; 12 Mitch Rovers; 9 Ben Weightman; 8 Chris Down; 5 William Wallace; 3 Pat O’Brien; 2 Tyler McNamara, Zebb Murrell; 1 Jaxson Nihill, Fletcher White.

North Bendigo, 67:

12 Nathan Newlan; 11 Aarryn Craig; 10 Jordan Ford; 7 Dylan Klemm, Nic Waterson; 5 Jake Hall, Jeremy Lambden; 3 Ben Knight; 2 Tim Devereaux, Shane Harris, Hakeem Johnson; ; 1 Cody Riddick.

White Hills, 65:

13 Liam Bartels; 11 Nic Warnock; 10 Ben Taylor; 9 Kaiden Antonowicz; 5 Eli Pearce; 4 Jake Pallpratt; 3 Patrick Eefting, Blake Hogan; 2 Ryan Walker; 1 Tom Brereton, Brady Childs; Mitch Dole, Rhys Irwin, Jake Miller.