By Beth Newman
Grogan Medal : Paul Shelton (Morningside)
There’s a couple of things that Panthers co-captain, Shelton, is yet to achieve in footy. Being a premiership captain and winning a Grogan medal. One of the NEAFL’s prolific midfielders in 2013, the 30 year-old finished fourth in the award last year. He’s a ball winner and has been thereabouts in recent seasons. The main thing holding him back could be that he might lose votes to his teammates if Morningside’s season lives up to the pre-season hype.
Other contenders: Steve Brittain (Wilston Grange), Nathan Kinch (Morningside), Ryan Davey (Labrador)
Ray Hughson Medallist: Kent Abey
He’s recovering from a broken leg, but Abey has been one of the state’s premier forwards for a while now. He will kick a few bags, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a two-horse race between him and Labrador’s handy forward pocket, Spida Everitt, who will get plenty of opportunities this year.
Other contenders: Bryce Perry-Bolt,
Rising Star – Bill Pendlebury (Morningside)
Scott will not be the only Pendlebury making waves this season. The Panther youngster, Bill, might not be a relation, but he has enormous potential, and is likely to find his niche in the QAFL. There will be a lot of young talent in the QAFL this season, but I think Pendlebury will find his groove early. He was a part of the state 18s last year and played a lot of senior football for the Lions reserves, and decided to stick with the Panthers this year. He’ll gain some confidence if he starts the year well, and will have no issue adapting to senior footy.
Other contenders: Wiley Buzza (Mt Gravatt), Brad Scheer (Palm Beach), Brandon Chadwick (Broadbeach)
The Paul Chapman – Best recruit of 2014 : Bradie Foster (Wilston Grange)
Grange had a strong ruck department last year, but the addition of Aspley’s Bradie Foster looms as a key for them this year. The 204cm ruck absolutely dominated in pre-season hit out against UQ, admittedly a smaller opposition. A former national volleyballer, Foster was late to join footy, with Aspley his first club in 2012, but he’s a very handy player now, and at 24, will continue to improve.
Honourable mentions: Simon Seddon, Callum Carseldine, Liam Rutledge
The Ivan Maric Cult Figure : Wiley Buzza (Mt Gravatt)
He’s got the name, a glorious mane and cuts an intimidating figure for a teen – you’re not likely to forget this kid quickly. He will be one of Mt Gravatt’s most important players and hard to miss. It’s hard to believe he is only 18 this year, and this season will give him a strong foundation to develop his footy. He’ll get plenty of game time and he’ll be the one that people talk about once the final siren has gone.
Honourable mentions: Matt Thompson, Spida Everitt, Michael Cunningham
The Dustin Fletcher Golden Oldie – Simon Fenton (Surfers Paradise)
He’ll hate being dubbed a veteran, but Surfers’ Simon Fenton has been around a while. He played his 250th match last year in a season and was an integral part of the side. Noisy plays a selfless game, which has earned him the respect of teammates and opponents alike. In what looks to be a very youthful competition this season, Fenton’s experience will be invaluable. Age aside, he is still one of the most important people on and off the field for the Demons, so they’ll be more than glad to have him around for another season.
Honourable mentions: Kent Abey, Scott Hines, Peter Everitt