Johnson and McCormick receive top gongs
Danniel Johnson and Cambridge McCormick were announced as the winners of the League’s two main individual awards at the AFL North Coast Brian Saville Medal function on Saturday night.
Danniel Johnson from Sawtell Toormina Saints took out the Brian Saville Medal for Best and Fairest in the Senior grade after an exceptional season that saw him poll 22 votes. He polled votes in eight of the 15 home and away matches, including six occasions when he was deemed to be the best on ground and took out the maximum three votes.
Danniel received the Woodlock Medal in 2015 as the Best on Ground in the Senior Grand Final and joins an elite group of four other players who have won both of the League’s individual medals in the top grade (joining Greg Jarman, Luke Matthews, Mark Couzens, and Jesse Schmidt).
Danniel finished the season 10 votes clear of runner-up Jesse Schmidt from the Port Macquarie Magpies who is a three time winner of the Best and Fairest award (2012, 2013, and 2015). Jesse led the voting after three rounds before he suffered the first of two separate injuries that saw him miss significant parts of the season. His effort to have polled votes in five matches from eight played is a very impressive achievement.
Cambridge McCormick from Port Macquarie took out the Women’s Best and Fairest award in what was a remarkable individual season. in addition to claiming the Best and Fairest Cambridge was also adjudged to be the Best on Ground in the Grand Final, playing for a losing team.
Due to her studies and returns to home town Brisbane, Cambridge was only able to play in six rounds of the home and away season. In a consistently dominant display, she polled votes in all six matches played, including taking out three votes on five occasions.
Runner-up in the Women’s competition was Cassidy Ronalds from Coffs Harbour Breakers, who delivered her own outstanding season. In addition to being the runner-up in the Senior Women’s competition, 17 year old Cassidy was the Best on Ground for the Women’s rep team and claimed her second consecutive Nikki Wallace Medal for Best and Fairest in the Youth Girls competition.
In the Under 17 age group Dominic Byrne of Port Macquarie can now add the title of League Best and Fairest to Premiership Captain after he took out the individual award by just two votes in a close run contest featuring five players.
Dominic and runner-up Kade Bagnall from the Grafton Tigers had contrasting seasons which ultimately produced a thrilling vote count. Dominic started the season strongly to poll eight votes in the first three matches of the season and had accrued 15 of his season tally of 18 votes by round nine. In stark contrast, Kade polled 11 of his 16 votes from round nine onwards to set up a thrilling finish to the count.
Greg Jarman of Coffs Harbour Breakers added the Reserve Grade Best and Fairest award to the Senior version he won in 2003. As the recipient of the Woodlock Medal for Best on Ground in 2004 he is the owner of a unique set of silverware, the only player in League history to have claimed all three medals.
Runner-up was Zane Sparke of Port Macquarie Magpies. Zane took up AFL for the first time this season at the age of 26 and has experienced a highly successful debut season, capped with this award.
Click here to view the top six in the vote count in each grade.
Goal kicking awards were won by:
- Seniors – Nick Stanlan-Velt, Coffs Harbour Breakers (63 goals)
- Women’s – Keira Basset, Sawtell Toormina Saints (27 goals)
- Under 17 – Ed Smith, Port Macquarie Magpies (38 goals)
- Reserves – Sam Johnson, Port Macquarie Magpies (17 goals)
Off the field, the vital contribution of volunteers was acknowledged in the day to day running of AFL clubs, including the staging of matches at local grounds across the region. Club Volunteers of the Year were acknowledged as:
- Grafton Tigers – Kim Finning
- Coffs Harbour Breakers – Jay Guthrie
- Sawtell Toormina Saints – Scott Jarvis
- Port Macquarie Magpies – Elaine Gillman
Jay Guthrie was awarded the AFL North Coast Senior Competition Volunteer of the Year for his efforts as President of the Breakers club. Jay is on the committees for both Seniors and Juniors, has secured new sponsorship deals for the club, and has been a leading advocate for forging closer links with other Senior clubs.