Plenty in contention for Betty Thompson Medal


THERE’S plenty of netballers in contention for the Betty Thompson Medal awarded to the A-grade competition’s fairest and best in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL for ’23.

Counting of votes and medal presentation will be held on Sunday night from 6pm at the Bendigo Club in Park Street, Strathdale.

The night includes the presentation of awards to the champions in all other grades of netball which were announced during last Monday night’s broadcast on Radio Fresh fm.

Unbeaten in its pursuit of a fifth consecutive A-grade premiership, Sandhurst has had many players star across the 18-round home-and-series.

Whether it was on its court at Queen Elizabeth Oval or away the Tamara Gilchrist-coached Sandhurst had plenty of contributors in its winning streak.

Among those likely to poll well for Sandhurst are Meg Williams, Kelsey Meade, Bec Smith, Shae Clifford and Charlotte Sexton.

The team in maroon and blue also had Heather Oliver, the Betty Thompson medallist of 2015 and ’17 back in action.

Gisborne was another pacesetter as a 15-5 record meant the Bulldogs finished the home-and-away series in second place.

The Tarryn Rymer-coached Gisborne is likely to garner plenty of votes.

Key players in the run by the red, white and blue included Zoe Davies, Kiralee Collings, Kirby Elliott, Charlee Kemp and Claudia Mawson.

The Thompson medallist when at Eaglehawk in 2019, Ashley Ryan had had a superb season for Kangaroo Flat.

This season the Jayden Cowling-coached Kangaroos achieved a 14-6 record in the home-and-away series.

Consecutive defeats in the finals series put the Roos out of the running for the title after being runner-up last season.

Those to have starred for the Kangaroos in ’23 include Milly Wicks, Lou Dupuy, Abbey Ryan and Chelsea Sartori.

It’s been another superb season by Castlemaine which finished the home-and-away series in fourth place, but progressed to a preliminary final.

Highs for the Fiona Fowler and Gary Cooke-coached Magpies included a 16-goal win against Kangaroo Flat at Camp Reserve, and 28-29 loss on Gisborne’s court.

Players likely to poll well for the Magpies are Fiona Fowler, Montaya Sardi, Tara Ford ad Jane O’Donohue.

South Bendigo marked another finals appearance.

The Jannelle Hobbs-coached Bloods drew with Castlemaine in the final round at Kennington’s Harry Trott Oval, but were outpointed by the Magpies in the elimination final.

Stars for the red and white in a season of nine wins, seven defeats and two draws included Alicia McGlashan, Chloe Gray, Olivia Mason  and Chloe Langley.

Biggest high for the Bloods was the 32-28 victory on Gisborne’s court at Gardiner Reserve in the 17th round.

The sixth-placed Strathfieldsaye has some players who could surprise in the vote count.

The Steph Freemantle-coached Storm ended the season on a win-loss tally of 8-9, and a draw.

Key players for Strathfieldsaye included Ava and Caitlyn Hamilton, Ella Flavell and Claudia Collins.

At Kyneton the highest vote-getters for the Dianne Guest-Oakley coached team in yellow and black could be Lauren Anglin, Brooke Mangan, Claire Oakley and Tilly Shepherd.

Was a tough season for the Kylie Piercy-coached Eaglehawk which did spring some surprise results, including a 44-41 victory against South Bendigo on the Canterbury Park court in the 10th round.

Stars for the Borough this season included Tiarni Baxter, Kate Clow, Amy Ryan and Gabrielle Marlow.

It was a 3-15 tally for the Jordan Macilwain-coached Maryborough.

Top vote-winners for the Magpies are likely to be Tori Chandler, Keely Hare, Tali Chadwick and Amanda Durbridge.

Was another tough season for the Benita Swatton-coached Golden Square.

The blue and gold were outgunned by the league’s best, but also put in some strong performances against Maryborough both times.

Cassidy Humphrey may feature in the votes for the blue and gold.

This Sunday night is the 31st presentation of the A-grade best and fairest.

Inaugural winner in 1991 was Irene Kline from Northern United FNC.

Names etched on the honour board include Maryborough’s Carol Sing, 1992 and ’96; Sandhurst’s Kris Greene in 2002 and ’03; Maryborough’s Alicia Cassidy in 2005; and Lauren Cowling, nee Bowles when at Kangaroo Flat in 2008.

Dual winners of the medal include Sandhurst’s Brianna Dalrymple-Monro, and Gisborne’s Maddy Stewart.