FOR the first time in its 64-year history, three players have shared Gippsland League football’s highest individual honour, the Trood Award and Rodda Medal.
In a dramatic final round of Monday night’s count, Sale’s Kane Martin polled three votes and Moe’s James Blaser one to draw level with Wonthaggi’s Jack Blair on 21 votes and ensure a three-way tie.
All three were first-time winners of the award.
Blair, 24, was best-on-ground in seven of the 14 games he played and missed the last month of the season after his stellar form earned him a recall to Collingwood’s VFL team.
Blaser, 28, was the most consistent performer, with the Lions player-coach polling votes in 10 of the 17 games he played, while Martin, who turned 29 on Tuesday, polled in eight of his 18 games, including two best-on-ground performances in the last two games of the season.
Martin has become the fifth Sale player to win the Trood Award and Rodda Medal, following Bob Mason, John Nix, Adrian Cox and Luke Collins.
Martin was named captain of the football team of the year, with Blaser coach. Martin’s Sale teammates Jordan Dessent and Michael Todd were also named in the side.
Todd shared the most valuable player award, voted by the coaches, with Wonthaggi’s Aidan Lindsay.
Grand finalist Maffra had four players selected in the team of the year, Sam Pleming, Jack Johnstone, Danny Butcher and leading goal kicker Mitch Bennett.
The A grade best-and-fairest count was more straightforward than the senior football, with Drouin’s Stacie Gardiner securing her second Joe Hutchison Medal.
Gardiner, who first won the award in 2012, was best on court 10 times, including five games in a row between rounds six and 11 and the final four of the season.
The goal attack won with 34 votes, 10 clear of runner-up Nicola Marriott of Leongatha.
Leongatha’s Kasie and Chris Rump claimed an incredible husband and wife double, taking home the Dawn Pearce Medal and Rex Hartley Medal as B grade netball and reserves football best-and-fairest respectively.
Fellow Parrot Kathy Reid added the Karen Proctor Medal to her B grade award from 2015, as C grade best-and-fairest.
Traralgon’s Matthew Williams and Maffra’s Sam Berry scooped the Bruce Wilkinson Medal and Shaw-Carter Medal as under 18 and under 16 winners.
Maffra rising star Emma Allman made it back-to-back best-and-fairest awards, winning the under 17s medal, having won the under 15 equivalent last year.
Wonthaggi’s Zali Anderson and Drouin’s Lucy McKellar walked away with the under 15 and under 13 awards respectively.