GANMAIN-Grong Grong-Matong ruckman Jacob Olsson has backed young teammate Matt Hamblin to be a major contender to claim this year's Jim Quinn Medal.
Hamblin and Olsson finished third and fourth respectively in the player of the league award, voted on weekly by coaches, behind Coolamon prime mover Jake Barrett and Leeton-Whitton's Sam Darley.
All four are expected to be at the pointy end of proceedings when the vote count is held online on AFL Riverina's Facebook page on Friday.
Olsson won the player of the year award in 2019 and is yet to win a Jim Quinn Medal. Despite missing the pre-season due to knee surgery, he did enough this year to maintain his reputation as the league's leading ruckman.
But he has his fingers crossed for Hamblin, who is looking to back up winning last year's AFL Riverina Championship best and fairest.
"I've played a handful of half handy games, but I'm just a ruckman who doesn't attract much attention unless I fall over," Olsson joked.
"You can't go past Matty Hamblin and even Ryan Turnbull from Mangoplah. He played a pretty good season as well."
Olsson said Hamblin's superb back half of the season after he was controversially overlooked for Allies selection had impressed his teammates.
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"He's a handy footballer and he's got a good head screwed on his shoulders," he said.
"He was a bit shattered he didn't make the Allies and you can go one of two ways when you're that age, but he's gone the right way about it.
I'm not sure if he's thinking about going away (to play state league football next year) or not. In my eyes he should have been gone (this year), but I'm definitely not complaining."
Unlike the Farrer League, which managed to play all its regular season rounds, the Riverina League was shut down with a round to go.
The Coolamon-Ganmain GGGM clash scheduled for the penultimate round also wasn't played, meaning the Hoppers played one less game than every other team.
"We didn't get to play our last game, I don't know how that will play that out (on Friday night) but it is what it is," he said.
"Jake Barrett would be in contention, he took out the players' player so he'd have to be right up there.
"With one less game that could be a factor, but you never know what would happen in those last games (had we got the chance to play them) anyway."
Daily Advertiser tips
Matt Malone: Sam Darley 1, Jake Barrett 2, Jacob Olsson 3
Jon Tuxworth: Sam Darley 1, Ryan Turnbull 2, Matt Hamblin 3
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