Gina caps off a debut season to remember
TWELVE months ago Gina Cardillo had never pulled on a football boot.
Now the super fit midfielder is the toast of the AFL North Coast women’s competition after winning the League Best & Fairest award.
Cardillo’s ability to get from contest to contest better than anybody else in the competition and extract possessions in busy traffic clearly caught the umpire’s eye and her superb debut season playing AFL was capped off with the prestigious prize.
The victory was set-up when Cardillo polled eight votes in rounds 8, 9 and 10 to build a seven vote lead over last year’s winner, Cassidy Ronalds from the Coffs Breakers, with Lismore Swans pair Amy Keen and Lilli Hutchings a further vote back.
The votes for the final four rounds of the season were counted in a live Facebook video on Friday night and in the closing stages Cardillo’s votes dried up as those behind her started polling votes that almost saw the gap closed.
The Breakers had the bye in the final round but in the minor premier’s last three matches, Ronalds polled six votes to finish runner-up while Bella Crawley polled eight votes to race home to finish in a tie for third position with Keen.
WOMEN’S BEST & FAIREST
17 – Gina Cardillo (Northern Beaches)
15 – Cassidy Ronalds (Coffs Breakers)
14 – Amy Keen (Lismore Swans)
14 – Bella Crawley (Coffs Breakers)
13 – Lilli Hutchings (Lismore Swans)
‘Melba’ streets the field
IT was a runaway victory in the Reserves Best & Fairest for Sawtell/Toormina veteran Daniel Pritchard.
The win came as little surprise as the final leaderboard released showed ‘Melba’ had already built an eight vote lead.
The win was assured when Pritchard polled a further five votes in the final four rounds of the season to win by a large margin.
The Saint wins the Paul Sheldon Medal, named after the late Port Macquarie administrator and reserves player who contributed so much to reserves football, particularly at the Magpies when they won eight reserves premierships in nine years under Sheldon’s watch.
It’s believed having four runners-up for the one award is unprecedented in AFL North Coast history. Tim Ebbs (Port Macquarie), Travis Maloney and Will Chadwick (both Coffs Breakers) and Will Lloyd all tied for the runner-up position on six votes.
PAUL SHELDON MEDAL
19 – Daniel Pritchard (Sawtell/Toormina)
6 – Tim Ebbs (Port Macquarie)
6 – Travis Maloney (Coffs Breakers)
6 – Will Lloyd (Sawtell/Toormina)
6 – Will Chadwick (Coffs Breakers)
Luxton best of talented group of Under-17s
GRAFTON young gun Michael Luxton was voted as the best Under-17s player of 2021.
The midfielder polled 19 votes in just nine home and away games for the minor premiership winning Tigers.
When the leaderboard was shown after Round 10, Luxton held a three vote lead over Sawtell/Toormina’s Hamish Anderson with Terrone Roberts-Potter from the Coffs Breakers a further vote behind.
That lead stretched to five votes in Round 11 when Luxton polled three votes in the match against the Saints while Anderson polled one. Roberts-Potter was awarded two votes on the same day in the Breakers’ match against Inverell.
When Luxton polled another vote in the next round against the Breakers the lead stretched further and his victory became assured.
UNDER-17s BEST & FAIREST
19 – Michael Luxton (Grafton)
12 – Terrone Roberts-Potter (Coffs Breakers)
10 – Hamish Anderson (Sawtell/Toormina)
10 – Beau Guthrie (Coffs Breakers)
8 – Nicholas Wheaton (Grafton)