By David Nagel
SOUTH EAST FOOTBALL NETBALL LEAGUE
2017 PRESENTATION NIGHT
Berwick skipper Madi Andrews will be hoping history repeats itself after claiming his second Norm Walker Medal for best and fairest in the South East Football Netball League.
Andrews took ‘Normie’ home in 2015 before leading the Wickers to a drought-breaking premiership win against Cranbourne. He will lead the Wickers into battle once again against Narre Warren in Saturday’s SEFNL grand final at Holm Park Reserve.
On what was a great night for past winners, Andrews polled 28 votes to win by eight from three-time winner Scott Meyer.
The Beaconsfield ruckman was a surprise leader after Round 5, polling a near-perfect 14 votes to lead by five from Doveton’s Russell Gabriel, and eight from Tooradin’s Aisakie O’hAilpin and Berwick pair Bryce Rutherford and Andrews.
The Berwick skipper drew within one of Meyer after Round 10, the pair on 19 and 18 votes, well clear of Gabriel and O’hAilpin on 12, and Rutherford on 10. Andrews charged to the lead after Round 16, his 25 votes finding him five clear of Meyer, his only pursuant.
The remainder of the top five – Gabriel on 23, and O’hAilpin and Raru on 15 – were all ineligible after transgressions throughout the season.
Andrews, who finished equal-second last year, despite playing only eight games, said he thoroughly enjoyed a full season of footy in 2017.
“I had a bit of time off last year, and I think doing that really worked well for my footy,” the 26-year-old said.
“I just wanted to get away and I think doing that really re-energised my footy and I just feel a lot more motivated this year. I just felt like I needed to get fitter to move with the game, and I probably felt like I was getting a little bit too heavy and the game was going past me a bit.
“I just wanted to take my fitness to the next level and that’s helped my footy a lot.”
Andrews said his new fitness levels had opened the door for some significant opportunities on the footy field.
“Fitness has played a big part in me becoming a better footballer,” he explained.
“I’m getting to a lot more stoppages and now I’m able to break free of packs, which I wasn’t able to do in the past. I wasn’t fit enough to change the course of a game and that’s something I wanted to improve on, and I feel like I’m doing that.”
The midfield gun said the appointment of Stewart Kemperman had brought a new approach to Edwin Flack Reserve this year.
“He has brought a lot of footy brains to the club and has a lot of structure and direction and knows where he wants to go and the game style that he wants to play,” Andrews said.
“Rooey (former coach Rhys Nisbet) was a coach who went a lot by emotion and backed us in because of the ability we had. We were a team, don’t get me wrong, but the team aspect pretty much dominates our game plan now.”
Andrews is widely regarded as the best gut-runner in the business, breaking down opposition tags with an unquenchable work ethic. He said it’s the part of his game that is the key to his success.
“Growing up, that’s what my old man drilled into me the most. I never had the most talent and I just prided myself on working harder than anyone else. That’s the way I play and that’s what I’ll continue to try and do.’
He said it was a huge honour to claim his second medal but his focus was well and truly fixed on helping his side claim its second premiership in three years. He followed that thought with some thank yous.
“It’s a pretty big honour I suppose, but everyone who knows me knows I’m only playing footy for one reason, and that’s to have success with my team-mates. That’s why I’m playing footy and what I love about the game.
“I would like to give a big thank you to the footy club, to Stew for coming on board – he put a lot of faith in me this year – and a really big thank you to my old man (Bruce Andrews).
“He’s played a really big part in my footy career, he’s driven me all the way, and I wouldn’t be half the player I am right now without him.”
And the A Grade netball best and fairest award was also dominated by past winners, with Cranbourne defender Tara Cecil now a three-time winner after a three-vote victory over Narre Warren’s 2014 winner Erin Clark.
Cecil dominated the count from early in the piece, polling nine votes in the first five rounds to hold a three-vote lead over Beaconsfield pair Rylee Nelson and Danielle Cameron, and Tooradin-Dalmore’s Jess Maher and Sara Duncan.
She held a five-vote lead over Cameron after Round 10, with Beaconsfield star Jasmine Jones and Doveton’s Mel Webster in hot pursuit. Clark charged through the pack to finish second, unable to catch the 2011 and 2013 winner who didn’t give herself much of a chance heading into the count.
“No to be honest, there’s a lot of amazing players in our league, and I went away for a few games so I honestly didn’t think I was a chance,” Cecil said, before explaining why she loves playing in defence.
“I love playing goal keeper because I play with Sharni Lambden and she is absolutely incredible to play with and I love teaming up with her.”
Cecil said the overall improvement of Cranbourne, who made it all the way through to last week’s preliminary final, had certainly helped her individual performance.
“We’ve got better and better as the years have gone on and I think that’s helped me with my game, just because of the girls around me,” she said.
“We haven’t played finals since 2012 so to go as far as we did was just amazing. Win or lose on that day we were just happy to be where we were.”
Cecil thanked her coach Donna Wilson, the Cranbourne Netball Club in general, and team-mates Lambden and Alanah Hardy for all their support this year.
SEFNL AWARD WINNERS
SENIORS B&F – NORM WALKER MEDAL
Madi Andrews Berwick 28
Russell Gabriel Doveton 24#
Scott Meyer Beaconsfield 20
Sam Raru Doveton 18#
RESERVES – BILL WILLIAMSON MEDAL
Jack Wheeler Narre Warren 13
Jake Stephens Cranbourne 12
UNDER 19A – GEORGE GILMORE MEDAL
Peter Alier Beaconsfield 18
Scott Triffitt Beaconsfield 14
Rhys Simmons Officer SFC 12
Jacob Beswick Pakenham 11
Bryce Rutherford Berwick
Nick Scanlon Narre Warren 61
Mitchell Cowan Narre Warren 36
James McLean Berwick 39
Brayden Carr Pakenham 30
COACH OF THE YEAR
Heath Black Narre Warren
MARK OF THE YEAR
Harrison Money Berwick
GOAL OF THE YEAR
Reece Piper Berwick
Tara Cecil Cranbourne 25
Erin Clark Narre Warren 22
Danielle Cameron Beaconsfield 17
Sharni Lambden Cranbourne 14
Meaghan Winter Pakenham 19
Lesila Seeto Doveton 18
Maddison Maund Narre Warren 26
Jordan Lang Beaconsfield 19
Bev Miller Hampton Park 19
Charli Howe Doveton 21
Taylah Boatwood Narre Warren 21
17 UNDER RED
Caitlin Egan Narre Warren 23
Kacey Maund Narre Warren 22
17 UNDER WHITE
Charli Howe Doveton 29
Mackenzie Little Beaconsfield 22
15 UNDER RED
Ellie Keen ROC 23
Lauren Bechet Narre Warren 18
Mairead Holloway Tooradin-Dalmore 18
15 UNDER WHITE
Tiahnee Sturdy Doveton 22
Hayley Woolfe Narre Warren 16
13 UNDER RED
Holly Moulday Berwick 30
Kasey Gambetta Beaconsfield 29
13 UNDER WHITE
Tayla Ferguson ROC 19
Delylah Loulanting Berwick 17
Alanah Hardy Cranbourne
COACH OF THE YEAR
Kelly Andrews Tooradin-Dalmore
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Shona Wells Tooradin-Dalmore
Championship Club Narre Warren
Best Conducted Berwick
Championship Club Berwick
Best Conducted Beaconsfield
Bryce Anderson (Berwick), Kristy Whitnell, Troy Tharle (Cranbourne), Melinda Wilson (Doveton), Col McNamara (Narre Warren)
Shelley Ziesler (Beaconsfield), Leigh Holt (Cranbourne), Michael Collins (Narre Warren)
Ben Tivendale (Officer SFC), Shona Wells (Tooradin-Dalmore)