The same factors behind East Wagga-Kooringal’s unbeaten season – and flag-favourites tag – are likely to count against them when the Gerald Clear Medal count is held on Monday night.
Hawks stand-in captain, Joe Scott, said it would be an honour to win a league medal after enjoying his best season of senior football, but he and his teammates aren’t getting their hopes up.
“We think it's going to come from outside of us, with blokes taking votes off each other,” said Scott.
“We’ve had such an even spread… blokes like James Creasy, Nathan Scott and Nick Baggio all popping up and getting the best for their few weeks in a row.
“That’s why there’s such confidence in our team, even with two of our better players going down, we haven’t relied on them like last year.”
Part of the Hawks’ crack midfield outfit, Scott is in his second year in the Farrer League, after stints with Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes and NEAFL club, Belconnen.
He said the responsibility of a leadership role with his junior club has brought out the best in him.
“When you’re out there and a bit buggered, you dig in deep knowing your teammates have backed you as vice-captain and you have the responsibility to take it upon yourself… to get those clearances, or be up and about,” he said.
Scott expects Ben Absolum to attract the most votes at the Hawks but would love to see their ruckman recognised.
“Big Nick Hull, there hasn’t been the hype about him but he’s been one of our keys this year,” Scott said.
“That’s why we’ve gone so well in the middle – Nick gives us first use and it doesn’t matter who it is, he’ll put it out in front of you.”
He thinks the standard of the Farrer League has improved this year with quality players at every club and said it could be hard to go past North Wagga’s Kirk Hamblin, who won the league’s player of the year award, which is voted on by the coaches.
Last year’s winner, Coleambally’s Dean Pound, has discounted his chances of winning back-to-back medals, instead highlighting the form of teammate Drew Kenna, and a pair of Magpies.
“Tom Yates, and Mitch Ward – he’s a pretty handy footballer – they’ll go pretty close,” Pound said.
Clear Medal Tips:
Matt Malone: 1 Tom Yates (TRYC); 2 Sam Fisher (Northern Jets); 3 Jeremy Luff (North Wagga)
Peter Doherty: 1 Joe Scott (EWK); 2 Mitch Ward (TRYC); 3 Corey Watt (North Wagga)
Rebecca Fist: 1 Mitch Ward (TRYC); 2 Dean Pound; 3 Jake Robinson (EWK)