Luke Matthews claims first Brian Saville Medal
Luke Matthews has capped a fine individual season by being announced as the inaugural winner of the Brian Saville Medal at the presentation function on Saturday night.
Matthews, from the Sawtell Toormina Saints, previously won the League Best & Fairest award in 2010 and becomes a two time winner. He beat Luke Stanford of the Grafton Tigers by just one vote with the result not being decided until the final round of the season when Matthews polled a single vote.
Stanford and Matthews set the pace from the start of the season and were never more than a couple of votes from each other. Matthews had a tremendous back half of the season, polling votes in each of the last seven matches to claim the medal by the smallest of margins.
Matthews paid tribute to his teammates in accepting the medal. “The boys have been great this season in stepping up to the challenges that were put to them. This put the pressure on me to lift my game too so this medal is a reward for everyone’s hard work.”
Jackson Terley of the Port Macquarie Magpies has completed a rare double by claiming Best & Fairest awards in both the Under 18 and Under 15.5 age groups in the same season.
In an almost carbon copy of the Senior award, Terley and Brandon Dorta-Fernandes of Sawtell went head to head across the season with the award being decided by just two votes. The two players were locked together after the penultimate round, Terley polled in the last round where Dorta-Fernandes missed to claim the prize.
In Reserve Grade, Pat Myles (Sawtell) capped an outstanding season with a convincing win in the Best & Fairest. He polled 11 votes to comfortably eclipse the tally of runner-up and club mate Lachlan Draper-Bell.
For the first time an award was presented for Women’s footy, with the players asked to vote in each of the five matches played across the 2017 season. The winner of the Players’ Player Award was Maggie Mills (Coffs), with Alana Hanson (Coffs) and Jordan Speechley (Grafton) being joint runners-up.
The League Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Luke Stanford (Grafton) whose efforts as club Secretary, player-coach, Auskick Co-ordinator, and bus driver for away matches saw him dubbed “Mr Footy”. Capping a great twelve months for Stanford he was also awarded the North Coast Auskick Co-ordinator of the Year to go with his volunteer award, runner-up in the League Best & Fairest, and Paul Sheldon Medal for Best on Ground in the rep match.
Goal kicking awards were claimed by Daniel Pritchard (Sawtell) in Seniors , Lachlan Draper-Bell (Sawtell) in Reserves, and Mitchell Napier (Sawtell) in Under 18.