Whittle claims Harding Medal as league’s best

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Whittle claims Harding Medal as league’s best

GUN midfielder Harry Whittle has capped his first year at Newbridge by winning the Frank Harding Medal as fairest and best in the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley Football Netball League’s senior footy competition.

Although the Maroons were victorious in two of 11 matches, Whittle’s skill caught the umpires’ attention as he racked up 15 votes, ratio of 1.36.

Captured in action by the Bendigo Advertiser, Whittle earned the maximum three votes in Newbridge’s wins against Inglewood and Calivil United and the round nine clash with Marong.

Because of Covid lockdowns the season was reduced by five rounds.

Awards were determined on a ratio basis in which votes were divided by number of matches the team played.

“I am shocked, but incredibly proud,” Whittle said after the Bendigo Taxis-backed vote count had been called on radio station Fresh fm 101.5 on Monday night.

“Our coach (Luke Freeman) was texting me during the vote count.

“I didn’t believe him at first, but then the phone calls started coming through.”

In a closely-fought contest, Whittle took medal honours ahead of Bears Lagoon Serpentine ruckman Nathan Twigg, 13 votes, 1.18 ratio.

A joint winner of the Michelsen Medal when at Eaglehawk in 2001, Lucas Matthews capped another brilliant season for Mitiamo to score 14 votes, but the Superoos played one more game than the Bears.

A Harding medallist in 2017, Marong’s Corey Gregg scored 13 votes, 1.08 ratio, as did Bridgewater’s Alex Powell, who was ineligible because of suspension.

Recruited by Newbridge from Huntly to be an assistant coach, Whittle was runner-up for the Sam Cheatley Medal to clubmate Ryan Semmel as the Heathcote DFNL best and fairest in 2016.

“Being an assistant coach for the first time was a great challenge, but incredibly rewarding,” Whittle said of working with Freeman and the rest of the coaching staff.

“It was a tough season because of Covid, but also because of injuries to quite a few players.

“Our depth was tested a lot, but the guys gave their all,” he said of a squad in which at least a dozen were first-year senior players.

Whittle mainly played in a midfield or onball role, but also spent quite a lot of time in the defensive zone.

“As an assistant coach I learnt a lot, and know there’s a lot more to learn.

“Playing for Newbridge was something I had always thought about,” Whittle said of joining a club his dad, Rod had played for.

“Coaching is a pathway I have thought about and the club gave me an opportunity.”

Whittle, 26, said the next few months will be crucial in terms of recruiting.

“Like a lot of teams, we are after some bigger key position players, but we also know the younger players will keep working and improving.”

Whittle became the fifth Newbridge player to win the Harding Medal and first since Steven Cox in 2003.

Other stars from the Maroons to claim the league’s prestigious award were Bert McIvor, 1992; Peter Lewis, ’82; Noel Watson, ’80; and Ian O’Shea in 1959.

It will be another busy summer for Whittle, not only preparing for another footy season, but also leading United’s division one team in the Emu Valley Cricket Association.

It was a medal-winning double for Maiden Gully YCW in the Loddon Valley reserves and under-18 football awards.

Tom Harrington clinched victory in the race for the John Forbes Medal by claiming three votes in the final round of the reserves competition.

A tally of nine votes and ratio of 0.82 was enough for the Eagles to join the John Forbes Medal honour board.

Three way tie for runners-up with Marong’s Lachlan Frankel, Pyramid Hill’s Nathan Moon, and Bridgewater’s Tyler Estrada on eight votes, ratio of 0.67.

The under-18s was a runaway victory for Cody Riddick.

Named best on ground in five matches, Riddick scored 21 votes, ratio of 1.50 to earn the Stephen Dowling award.

Runner-up was Marong’s Tom Wilson, 16 votes on 1.23.

A great season for the Ben Dyett-coached Maiden Gully YCW Eagles included Oscar Keogh scoring 15 votes, 1.07, to be third in the medal race.

 

VOTE COUNT

Round 1

Marong 143 d Calivil United 2

3 Corey Gregg, Marong

2 Kain Robins, Marong

1 Nathan Devanny, Marong

Mitiamo 73 d BL Serpentine 50

3 Dylan Clohesy, Mitiamo

2 Ryan Wellington, Mitiamo

1 Darcy Poulter, BLS

Pyramid Hill 181 d Inglewood 14

3 George Bailey, Pyramid Hill

2 Billy Micevski, Pyramid Hill

1 Braidy Dickens, Pyramid Hill

Maiden Gully YCW 103 d Newbridge 22

3 Natnael McLaren, Maiden Gully YCW

2 Chris Howgate, Maiden Gully YCW

1 Harry Whittle, Newbridge

Bridgewater bye

Round 2

Calivil United 36 lt Maiden Gully YCW 135

3 Natnael McLaren, Maiden Gully YCW

2 Luke Gray, Maiden Gully YCW

1 Brayden Aitken, Maiden Gully YCW

Mitiamo 181 d Inglewood 15

3 Lee Dale, Mitiamo

2 Brent Downie, Mitiamo

1 Nathan Twigg, Mitiamo

BL Serpentine 70 lt Bridgewater 132

3 Josh Martyn, Bridgewater

2 Alex Powell *, Bridgewater

1 Nathan Twigg, BLS

Newbridge 50 lt Pyramid Hill 101

3 Billy Micevski, Pyramid Hill

2 Harry Whittle, Newbridge

1 Braidy Dickens, Pyramid Hill

Marong bye

Round 3

Bridgewater 229 d Inglewood 22

3 Lloyd Needs, Bridgewater

2 Harry Symons, Bridgewater

1 Liam Jacques *, Bridgewater

Mitiamo 97 d Newbridge 19

3 Tyrone Downie, Mitiamo

2 Lucas Matthews, Mitiamo

1 Kyle Patten, Mitiamo

Pyramid Hill 151 d Calivil United 4

3 Trent Barri, Pyramid Hill

2 Bailey George, Pyramid Hill

1 Brad Driscoll, Pyramid Hill

Maiden Gully YCW 40 lt Marong 131

3 Ben Gregg, Marong

2 Adrian Pappin *, Marong

1 Chris Howgate, Maiden Gully YCW

BL Serpentine bye

Round 4

Calivil United 23 lt Mitiamo 205

3 Lee Dale, Mitiamo

2 Ryan Wellington, Mitiamo

1 William Spicer, Mitiamo

Marong 78 d Pyramid Hill 75

3 Trent Barri, Pyramid Hill

2 Nathan Devanny, Marong

1 Simon Weekley, Marong

BL Serpentine 129 d Inglewood 45

3 Darcy Poulter, BLS

2 Nathan Twigg, BLS

1 Tynan Hywood, Inglewood

Newbridge 36 lt Bridgewater 144

3 Harry Symons, Bridgewater

2 Joseph Mayes, Bridgewater

1 Alex Powell *, Bridgewater

Maiden Gully YCW bye

Round 5

Bridgewater 202 d Calivil United 23

3 Alex Powell *, Bridgewater

2 Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Bridgewater

1 Lloyd Needs, Bridgewater

Mitiamo 95 d Marong 51

3 Lucas Matthews, Mitiamo

2 Luke Lougoon, Mitiamo

1 Lee Dale, Mitiamo

Pyramid Hill 115 d Maiden Gully YCW 42

3 Bailey George, Pyramid Hill

2 Billy Micevski, Pyramid Hill

1 Scott Mann, Pyramid Hill

Newbridge 59 lt BL Serpentine 82

3 Ryan Prendergast, BLS

2 Harry Whittle, Newbridge

1 Darcy Poulter, BLS

Inglewood bye

Round 6

Marong 77 lt Bridgewater 97

3 Alex Powell *, Bridgewater

2 Nathan Devanny, Marong

1 Darren Clutton, Bridgewater

Inglewood 30 lt Newbridge 100

3 Harry Whittle, Newbridge

2 Ryan Burt, Newbridge

1 Mitch Hocking, Newbridge

Maiden Gully YCW 56 lt Mitiamo 103

3 Dylan Mutu, Mitiamo

2 Brent Downie, Mitiamo

1 Lee Dale, Mitiamo

BL Serpentine 102 d Calivil United 61

3 Brady Childs *, Calivil United

2 Nathan Twigg, BLS

1 Chris Lewin, BLS

Pyramid Hill bye

Round 7

Calivil United 120 d Inglewood 36

3 Brady Childs *, Calivil United

2 Zac Clark, Calivil United

1 Tynan Hywood, Inglewood

Bridgewater 112 d Maiden Gully YCW 61

3 Liam Jacques *, Bridgewater

2 Alex Powell *, Bridgewater

1 Zeb Broadbent, Bridgewater

Marong 123 d BL Serpentine 64

3 Corey Gregg, Marong

2 Kain Robins, Marong

1 Nathan Twigg, BLS

Mitiamo 107 d Pyramid Hill 69

3 Lee Dale, Mitiamo

2 Michael I’Anson, Mitiamo

1 Tom Brennan, Pyramid Hill

Newbridge bye

Round 8

Inglewood 4 lt Marong 240

3 Brandyn Grenfell, Marong

2 Richard Tibbett, Marong

1 Kain Robins, Marong

Pyramid Hill 85 lt Bridgewater 86

3 Thomas Dowd, Bridgewater

2 Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Bridgewater

1 Gavin James, Pyramid Hill

BL Serpentine 77 d Maiden Gully YCW 76

3 Nathan Twigg, BLS

2 Travis Mercadante,  Maiden Gully YCW

1 Sean Moyle, Maiden Gully YCW

Newbridge 81 d Calivil United 50

3 Harry Whittle, Newbridge

2 Logan Dixon, Newbridge

1 Brady Childs *, Calivil United

Mitiamo bye

Round 9

Bridgewater 32 lt Mitiamo 69

3 Lucas Matthews, Mitiamo

2 Doug Thomas, Mitiamo

1 Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Bridgewater

Marong 186 d Newbridge 32

3 Harry Whittle, Newbridge

2 Brandyn Grenfell, Marong

1 Corey Gregg, Marong

Maiden Gully YCW 178 d Inglewood 1

3 Chris Howgate, Maiden Gully YCW

2 Tori Ferguson, Maiden Gully YCW

1 Connor Logan, Inglewood

Pyramid Hill 94 d BL Serpentine 49

3 Gavin James, Pyramid Hill

2 Nathan Twigg, BLS

1 Brodie Hawke, BLS

Calivil United bye

Round 10

Abandoned

Round 11

Abandoned

Round 12

Calivil United 11 lt Pyramid Hill 141

3 Gavin James, Pyramid Hill

2 Adrian Holland, Pyramid Hill

1 Brad Driscoll, Pyramid Hill

Marong 107 d Maiden Gully YCW 39

3 Corey Gregg, Marong

2 Brandyn Grenfell, Marong

1 Zac Turnbull, Marong

Inglewood 34 lt Bridgewater 174

3 Josh Martyn, Bridgewater

2 Alex Powell *, Bridgewater

1 Tom Broadbent, Bridgewater

Newbridge 40 lt Mitiamo 120

3 Lucas Matthews, Mitiamo

2 Brent Downie, Mitiamo

1 Harry Whittle, Newbridge

BL Serpentine bye

Round 13

Inglewood 1 lt BL Serpentine 249

3 Justin Laird, BLS

2 Nathan Twigg, BLS

1 Brodie Hawke, BLS

Bridgewater 107 d Newbridge 61

3 Boden Alexander *, Bridgewater

2 Joseph Mayes, Bridgewater

1 Logan Dixon, Newbridge

Mitiamo 153 d Calivil United 19

3 Tyrone Downie, Mitiamo

2 Ryan Wellington, Mitiamo

1 Nathan Twigg, Mitiamo

Pyramid Hill 25 lt Marong 108

3 Brandyn Grenfell, Marong

2 Ben Gregg, Marong

1 Richard Tibbett, Marong

Maiden Gully YCW bye

Round 14

Abandoned

Round 15

Abandoned

Round 16

Inglewood 46 lt Calivil United 166

3 Sam Green, Calivil United

2 Brady Childs *, Calivil United

1 Jaxon Billett, Inglewood

Maiden Gully YCW 39 lt Bridgewater 99

3 Boden Alexander *, Bridgewater

2 Caillum Brady, Bridgewater

1 Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Bridgewater

Pyramid Hill 39 lt Mitiamo 90

3 Brent Downie, Mitiamo

2 Doug Thomas, Mitiamo

1 Ben Bacon, Mitiamo

BL Serpentine 61 lt Marong 144

3 Adam Ward, Marong

2 Darcy Poulter, BLS

1 Justin Hynes, Marong

Newbridge bye

Round 17

Abandoned

Round 18

Inglewood 45 lt Maiden Gully YCW 211

3 Wayne Mitrovic, Maiden Gully YCW

2 Chris Howgate, Maiden Gully YCW

1 Sam Barnes, Maiden Gully YCW

Mitiamo 106 d Bridgewater 65

3 Lucas Matthews, Mitiamo

2 Jackson Falls, Mitiamo

1 Brent Downie, Mitiamo

BL Serpentine 68 lt Pyramid Hill 82

3 Darcy Poulter, BLS

2 Gavin James, Pyramid Hill

1 Micheal Bateman, Pyramid Hill

Newbridge 7 lt Marong 102

3 Corey Gregg, Marong

2 Jacob Ede, Marong

1 Kain Robins, Marong

Calivil United bye

 

Leader board

15 Harry Whittle, Newbridge, 1.36

13 Nathan Twigg, Bears Lagoon Serpentine, 1.18

14 Lucas Matthews, Mitiamo, 1.17

13 Corey Gregg, Marong, 1.08

13 Alex Powell *, Bridgewater, 1.08

11 Lee Dale, Mitiamo, 0.92

10 Brent Downie, Mitiamo, 0.83

10 Brandyn Grenfell, Marong, 0.83

10 Darcy Poulter, Bears Lagoon Serpentine, 0.91

9 Brady Childs *, Calivil United, 0.82

9 Gavin James, Pyramid Hill, 0.75

Club tallies:

Mitiamo 68; Bridgewater 56; Marong 52; Pyramid Hill 39; Bears Lagoon Serpentine 32; Maiden Gully YCW Eagles 26; Newbridge 21; Calivil United 14; and Inglewood, four.

 

 

Written by Nathan Dole and photo courtesy of the Bendigo Advertiser.

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