Stanford and Ronalds take out top honours
Luke Stanford and Cassidy Ronalds have claimed the top individual honours of the 2020 season, adding the League Best and Fairest awards to their Premiership medallions.
This is the first time that either player has received the top gong despite having gone close in previous seasons.
Luke was the Runner-up in the 2017 season by just one vote from winner Luke Matthews. This was in a season when the Grafton Tigers didn’t win a match, and included a 200+ point loss to the Byron Magpies where Luke was adjudged best afield.
In that same season Luke was the recipient of the Paul Sheldon Medal as Best on Ground in the annual representative match against AFL North West.
Despite only moving to Grafton in 2016 and joining the Tigers club in that season, Luke has been a consistent stand-out performer within the North Coast competition. This was acknowledged in March of this year when he was named as Captain of the Team of the Decade for 2010 to 2019.
He now adds the Brian Saville Medal for Best and Fairest to a premiership medallion and inclusion as Captain of the Team of the Decade to round out a pretty handy year of footy!
Cassidy Ronalds made the move to AFL from Basketball ahead of the inaugural season of Youth Girls footy in 2017. She was an instant hit in her new sport with the Coffs Harbour Breakers and won the Nikki Wallace Medal for Best and Fairest in that first season.
In 2018 Cass played both Youth Girls and Women’s footy, claiming her second straight Nikki Wallace Medal and adding the Runner-up in the Women’s Best and Fairest. To round out an incredible season she was also named Best on Ground in that season’s representative match against AFL North West.
Last season Cass was once again the Runner-up in the Women’s Best and Fairest.
By claiming the 2020 Best and Fairest Medal Cass not only marks herself as the League’s premier player, but also as one of the most consistent across the three years of the competition’s existence. At just 19 years of age, there’s plenty of time for Cass to add to her burgeoning resume, which now includes Premiership player after the Breakers secured their first title.
In the Under 17 competition, Angus Anderson was awarded the Best and Fairest Medal.
2020 has been a break out year on the local scene for Angus who has played both Under 17 and Seniors all season, and was named Runner-up in the top grade in addition to winning this award.
A home grown product of the Sawtell Toormina Saints, Angus played for both the Eastern Ranges Under 16 team and the Sydney Swans Academy Under 17 team last season. He was a member of the Northern Heat program for 2019/2020 and has been offered a trial with the Southport Sharks later this year.
Jake Hare was one of the shining lights of the re-formed Nambucca Valley Lions and was duly awarded the Best and Fairest Medal in Reserve Grade.
A product of the Koondrook Barham Football Club in the Central Murray League where he played for nine seasons, including four appearances in Central Murray representative teams. Jake moved to the Moama club in 2018 where his efforts were rewarded with a debut appearance in the Murray League representative team, before playing with the Whitsunday Sea Eagles in AFL Mackay in 2018.
Jake returned to Koondrook Barham for the 2019 season but has now found himself a home with the Nambucca Valley Lions.
The Best and Fairest leader boards for each grade can be found below: