By TERRY WILSON
GUN midfielder Matthew Payne has become arguably the greatest Grogan Medallist of them all and in the process stamped himself as perhaps the greatest footballer to go around in Queensland.
Payne’s pre-grand final preparations have been boosted by being named Grogan Medal winner for the third time.
He has become only the third player to win three Grogans, joining Jim Davies (Windsor) and Doug Pittard (Taringa and Western Districts) in an elite group.
Whereas Davies won his three Medals with Windsor in 1934, 1935 and 1938 and Pittard with Taringa (1940) and 1946 and 1947 (Western Districts) Payne has now won his with different clubs.
In 2006 he won the Medal playing for Zillmere, in 2011 he was with Southport for his second and now, for his third, he is with Morningside.
That is quite a feat in itself but consider also that he has also won the NEAFL Most Valuable Player award three times, in 2014, 2016 and 2018 with the Aspley Hornets.
But wait, as that famous TV commercial used to say, there’s more.
The now 35-year-old has also added 11 club best and fairest awards – at Zillmere, Southport, Aspley and Rosebud in Victoria.
Such an amazing record has prompted Morningside coach Clint Watts to describe Payne as ‘the best player of our generation up here’.
“He is better than Cameron Ilett (Northern Territory Thunder) who was my favourite player,” said Watts.
“His record is unbelievable – it is AFL Hall of Fame-like.
“But what he has achieved doesn’t surprise me now that I have seen him close-up, how prepared and professional he is to get himself up week by week.”
With Payne on board for a season when Aspley and the NEAFL did not get going, the ball-winning machine gets a shot at only premiership number two on Saturday against Broadbeach in the Grand Final at Yeronga.
His only flag was with Aspley in 2014 when the Hornets beat Sydney.