Saint, Grasshopper mark historic HDFNL award wins


HEATHCOTE midfielder Liam Jacques and Colbinabbin’s mid-court star Olivia McEvoy have capped historic award wins in the 2023 Heathcote DFNL season.

A key player in Heathcote’s run to finish the home-and-away series on top of the ladder, Jacques has earned the Sam Cheatley Medal as the seniors fairest and best player.

He is the first Saint in 25 years to win the coveted award.

A tally of 23 votes in Wednesday night’s count clinched a medal win from Lockington Bamawm United ruckman Tyler Phillips on 21 votes.

The Cheatley medallist in ’21 and ’22, Phillips would have been the first in league history to claim a hat-trick of senior champion player awards.

McEvoy’s dominance through the mid-court in many of Colbinabbin’s matches has earned a third Esther Cheatley Medal.

Both of the award winners will be in action across this weekend’s semi-finals.

Jacques and his Saints’ team-mates will take on White Hills in Saturday’s second semi-final at Colbinabbin’s M.J. Morgan Oval.

At stake is being first to the September 16 grand final at Huntly’s Strauch Reserve.

The Saints’ line-up includes  the brilliant Braden Padmore whose play as a ruck-rover, ruckman and attack caught the umpires attention in voting for the Sam Cheatley Medal.

Padmore was third on 20 votes after being joint runner-up a year earlier.

After stints at Bridgewater and Golden Square, Jacques returned to Heathcote this season.

He will be a key factor in the Saints bid to win their first senior premiership since 2010.

Mount Pleasant co-coach Adam Baird and Leitchville Gunbower ruckman Jobee Ward were equal fourth on 14 votes.

White Hills midfielder/forward Liam Bartels was next best on 13.

On Sunday, Baird and his Blues’ team-mates take on North Bendigo in the first semi-final at Elmore.

Mounts will be aiming to regain co-coach and gun forward Ben Weightman from injury.

A tally of 16 goals in 16 matches earned Weightman this season’s goalkicking award.

Bartels and the rest of the Demons team take on the Saints in Saturday’s second semi-final.

White Hills has not won a senior premirship since it beat Stanhope in 1988.

The Demons were runners-ups in 2004 and ’05.

A superb fightback by Warde and the LG Bombers this season was ended in last Sunday’s elimination final, but it was a superb run from being wooden spooner in ’22 to a fifth-place finish.

Jacques joins Damian Willox, ’98; Wayne Bell, ’89; Peter Safstrom, ’80; Tony Audley, ’76; and Warren Elsbury, ’67, as Heathcote players to have won the Sam Cheatley Medal.

On the netball court, Colbinabbin’s Olivia McEvoy became a triple winner of the Esther Cheatley Medal as A-grade fairest and best after another brilliant run in ’23 with the green and gold.

McEvoy’s previous medal wins were in 2012 and ’13.

In this season’s award race she polled 32 votes.

A closely-fought contest ended with Heathcote co-coach and star centre Brooke Bolton was runner-up on 28.

Bolton was the Esther Cheatley medallist in 2021 and ’22.

Third placegetter was Elmore goalshooter and co-coach Gabe Richards on 24.

For McEvoy the focus is firmly on Sunday’s first semi-final against Mount Pleasant at Elmore.

Defeat will put the Jen McIntyre-coached Colbinabbin or Carine Comer-coached Mount Pleasant out of the premiership race.

On Saturday, Richards will again play a key role in the goal circle as Elmore faces White Hills in the second semi-final at Colbinabbin.

All top four placegetters in the race for the Tom Morgan Medal in reserves football will be in the semi-finals.

Jayden Sheean from White Hills was a runaway winner of the reserves award on 26 votes.

Huntly team-mates Lachlan Watson and Taylor Smart were next best on 17 and 11, as North Bendigo’s Zaiyden Richards was joint third on 11.

A tally of 45 goals in 15 matches by North Bendigo’s Jonas Somerville earned the goalkicking trophy.

After the final card was called for the David Roulston Medal in under-18s footy, North Bendigo’s Nathan Anderson and Heathcote’s Thomas Johnson were locked on 20 votes.

Runner-up was Patrick Conlan from White Hills on 18 votes.

All three will play in semi-finals.

Anderson and Conlan will be opponents in Saturday’s second semi-final at Colbinabbin.

Johnson and his Saints’ team-mates will fight to stay in the premiership race in Sunday’s first semi at Elmore against the Harlowe Huntly Hawks.

In a brilliant start to the season, North Bendigo’s Zavier Holmes kicked 77 goals in 10 matches.

Although he opted to return to South Bendigo’s under-18s, Holmes could not be caught in the HDFNL’s under-18 goalkicking race.

Honours across the other six grades of netball were shared amongst four clubs.

Elmore’s Abbey Hay polled 22 votes to win the A-reserve award by a vote from Colbinabbin’s Emily Percy.

It was a medal double for Mount Pleasant as Audrey Gargiulo took honours in B-grade, and Lara Bish in B-reserve.

Colbinabbin’s Grace McIntyre polled 34 votes to win the 17-under award from Heathcote’s Telani Bibby, 30; and LBU’s Remee Christian on 29.

It was a dramatic finish to the 15-under count as LBU’s Candace Major ruled the race on 27 votes from Mount Pleasant clubmates Tarli Nihill, 26, and Juliet Hogan, 22.

Lockington Bamawm United also celebrated victory in the 13-under division as Taya Tamblyn polled 30 votes as the Leitchville Gunbower duo of Sadie Jones and Milla Ryan scored 25 and 24 to be second and third.

Leaders in the Heathcote DFNL fairest and best awards for the 2023 season:

Sam Cheatley Medal:

23 Liam Jacques, Heathcote.

21 Tyler Phillips, Lockington Bamawm United.

20 Braden Padmore, Heathcote.

14 Adam Baird, Mount Pleasant.

14 Jobe Warde, Leitchville Gunbower.

13 Liam Bartels, White Hills.

12 Mitch Rovers, Mount Pleasant.

12 Nathan Newlan, North Bendigo.

11 Aarryn Craig, North Bendigo.

11 Daniel Russell, Elmore.

11 Nick Warnock, White Hills.

Esther Cheatley Medal:

32 Olivia McEvoy, Colbinabbin.

28 Brooke Bolton, Heathcote.

24 Gabe Richards, Elmore.

22 Ella Kerlin, Colbinabbin.

20 Tahnee Cannan, Elmore.

18 Molly Johnston, White Hills.

17 Alyssa Cole, White Hills.

13 Taylor Mann, Huntly.

12 Maddy Keating, Elmore.

11 Amy Morrissey, White Hills.

11 Maeve Tupper, Mount Pleasant.

Tom Morgan medal, reserves footy:

26 Jayden Sheean, White Hills.

17 Lachlan Watson, Huntly.

11 Taylor Smart, Huntly.

11 Zaiyden Richards, North Bendigo.

David Roulton medal, under-18s footy

20 Nathan Anderson, North Bendigo.

20 Thomas Johnson, Heathcote.

18 Patrick Conlan, White Hills.

A-reserve netball:

22 Abbey Hay, Elmore.

21 Emily Percy, Colbinabbin.

16 Ashleigh Ripper, Elmore.

16 Jess Peck, Heathcote.

B-grade netball:

22 Audrey Gargiulo, Mount Pleasant.

19 Jenna Baker, Huntly.

17 Cindy Portwine, Lockington Bamawm United.

B-reserve netball:

25 Lara Bish, Mount Pleasant.

23 Simone Corboy, Huntly.

17 Julia Rosaia, Elmore.

17-under netball:

34 Grace McIntyre, Colbinabbin.

30 Telani Bibby, Heathcote.

29 Remee Christian, Lockington Bamawm United.

15-under netball:

27 Candace Major, Lockington Bamawm United.

26 Tarli Nihill, Mount Pleasant.

22 Juliet Hogan, Mount Pleasant.

13-under netball:

30 Taya Tamblyn, Lockington Bamawm United.

25 Sadie Jones, Leitchville Gunbower.

24 Milla Ryan, Leitchville Gunbower.