Last night on 96.5 Inner FM the VAFA Vote counts for the senior section best and fairests were completed and we can now congratulate Tom Paule, Tim McKenzie, Jack Gray, Aaron Lendaro, Paul Baranello, Tom Bell on winning the respective section best and fairests.
The Division 4 count was the first count to start the evening and Tom Bell from Manningham Cobras won the OJ Meehan Medal polling 22 votes to win ahead of last year’s winner David Tremewen from Hawthorn on 20 Votes. Bell who is from Western Australia said the Cobras were disappointed not to take it further this year, but he will be back playing for them in 2015 as the club builds towards further success.
In Division 3, Paul Baranello won the Hutchinson Medal with a huge 32 votes, but won by only three votes from Nicholas Morrison-Storey from Aquinas. In a high quality count, every time Morrison-Storey polled three, Baranello seem to follow suit. It is Baranello’s second VAFA Section Best and Fairest after he won the 2008 Fullerton Medal. However despite the win, Baranello said when interviewed on 96.5FM after the count, “Whilst it is a fantastic individual honour, if it meant we could be playing in the Grand Final and could win the premiership then I would probably give it back.”
The first run away winner of the night was in Division 2 for the Fullerton Medal. Aaron Lendaro, captain of Old Eltham Collegians won his first VAFA Section Best and Fairest, polling 26 votes to win by 7 votes ahead of Sidney Jones from St Mary’s Salesian. Lendaro couldn’t lose the medal going into Round 18, but he polled a further two votes to extend the margin of his win out to seven votes.
The Division 1 for the LS Pepper Medal was one of the most exciting of the night. Williamstown CYMS midfielder turned forward Jack Gray came from well back in the field to win the count by one vote from Therry Penola’s Jarrod Egglestone. Gray from Round 15 polled 3, 3, 3 and finished with 2 votes in Round 18 to hold off Egglestone who polled all 3 votes in the Lions last game of the year against Old Mentonians. Both Gray and Egglestone will meet one more time in Sunday’s Division 1 Grand Final at Carlton’s Visy Park.
Premier C provided another fantastic count with Tim McKenzie of Monash Blues winning the Zachariah Medal by two from from perennial vote winners, Jarrod Carlson (Marcellin) and Leigh Fletcher (Hampton Rovers). McKenzie finished on 25 votes to win his first VAFA best and fairest count. His win prevented Carlson from winning a third straight Zachariah Medal and stopped Fletcher from adding a Zachariah to his cabinet to sit alongside his Pepper and Moore Medals.
In Premier B, Old Melburnians skipper Thomas Paule topped off a fantastic individual season to hand on from AJAX’s Josh Ludski by one vote to win the Moore Medal. Paule had a nervous wait in Round 18 as he knew he couldn’t poll as he didn’t play. Ludski did play and needed at least two votes to tie and a best on ground to win, but could only poll the one vote in the Jackers win over Fitzroy. Paule finished on 25 votes, winning his first VAFA Section Best and Fairest after finishing runner up in the Moore Medal last year.
The night commences with the announcement of the VAFA Colts and all the U19 Sections. The winners were: U19 Premier: Jeremy Hannan (Old Xaverians) 21 votes; U19 Section 2 was a tie between Ryan Malt (Whitefriars) and William Blakey (University Blues) on 14 votes; U19 Section 3 was also a tie between Toby Wooldridge (Old Carey) and Jordan Stanton (Old Ivanhoe) both on 17 votes; U19 North was a three-way tie with Daniel Jones (Ivanhoe), Brendan Lee (Yarra Valley), James Vovos (PEGS) all on 14 votes; U19 South had James Moignard (Peninsula) on 22 votes; and in the VAFA Colts, Westbourne Grammarians’ Patrick O’Brien won with 28 votes.
Once again the counts were a great success, with the online stream of Inner FM again being over subscribed. All the medal winners except Tim McKenzie were tuned into the count and the live blog on vafa.com.au was viewed over 5000 times during the night. You can relive all the action from the live blog here. The was also a significant rise in Twitter traffic compared to last year as clubs and players like were live tweeting the counts using hash tags like #VAFAMedals or their respective section like #VAFADiv1.
Each of the Medal winners will be invited to next Wednesday night’s Woodrow Medal and VAFA Awards Night at Crown to be presented with their medals.
You can see the full votes by round of the senior sections and the final leaderboards below.