By Beth Newman
While Taylor Haley has found the goals more times than any other QAFL player this season, it’s generally the midfielders who find their way into the votes in best and fairest awards. Josh Searl has been a standout player for the Cats this year, their most impressive and generally most consistent.
Ryan Davey would almost be an unbackable favourite for the Grogan Medal had it not been for his troublesome path with injury this season. The classy midfielder is a superstar and wins games off his own boot. Certainly one of the standout players of the competition and would likely pick up votes in most games he played. It will be difficult for him to take out his second Grogan Medal after missing so much footy.
The danger with the Panthers is that of any successful team stacked with talented players, rarely does one player dominate the votes in these kinds of teams. Nathan Kinch has had a sensational season and shapes as the standout of the Panthers side, but success could be his individual downfall. He’s already nabbed a Grogan Medal, but he will surely be one of the contenders this year.
Vultures captain, Joe Murphy, would be the pick of the lot for the Vultures. Playing off the half-back flank, Murphy has been pivotal to Mt Gravatt this season and will surely nab some votes. Adam Boon’s form when he played in the QAFL could see him in the running too.
While the Lions have a similar problem to Morningside when it comes to splitting votes, it’s probably not as acute. Wodonga recruit, Todd Bryant, has been a very successful addition to the midfield this season and will likely poll plenty of votes.
There won’t likely be too many votes heading Sandgate’s way, purely because of the way their season panned out. Aden Rutledge was relatively consistent for them through the year, but generally the standout performers were representative players, who missed a lot of footy through state commitments, or NEAFL-listed players, who also were in and out of the side.
Surfers paradise is the hardest to predict, with a rollercoaster season and a constantly changing line-up. Ben Merrett’s purple patch through the middle of the season will garner him a few votes, but his recall to the Southport team and late-season ankle injury. Sean Atkinson had a promising start to the year, when the Demons weren’t going so well. Tayler Rolfe was good as an inside midfielder for a lot of the year and youngster Cassidy Haberfield was amongst the best in most games he played, and would likely have been noticed by the umpires.
Red Lions captain, Michael Stewart, will likely snatch a few votes for the year, though he will be ineligible for the award.
Ben Jaenke-Cain looms as one of the big smokies for the Grogan Medal this season. With few to steal votes off him, except maybe Jordan Bain after one of his goal fests, Jaenke-Cain could certainly be around the mark.
The Gorllas sit in the same camp as the Magpies, as an inconsistent team with a handful of standout players. Playing coach, Matt Trewhella, is one of those and will likely poll well for Wilston Grange. He was the difference in a few games for the Gorillas.
Who will win: Nathan Kinch.
Kinch has been the most consistently brilliant player this year, in my opinion, and should get the gong.
SYD GUILDFORD TROPHY
Again, there’s a number of contenders for this award, which goes to the coaches’ pick of the year.
Morningside’s Paul Shelton is likely to feature among the top contenders, while Davey will be thereabouts. Wilston Grange’s Steve Brittain won the Div 1 MVP despite missing a good chunk of the year last year, so injuries don’t always play as much of a part in this award as in the Grogan Medal.
My tip would be Wilston Grange’s Matt Trewhella.
In a year where there’s been some quality young players emerging in the QAFL competition, Palm Beach’s Brad Scheer has had the most seamless transition into the senior team. Their youngest debutant ever, Scheer was just 15 for most of the year and has earned himself regular inclusion in the side. Wiley Buzza would be a close second, having shouldered the Vultures’ ruck load at only 18 this season.