Brain storms to medal win

September 09, 2017

Deni Rovers’ Raymond Murphy (runner-up) and Tocumwal’s Tom Barker (winner) at the league’s fourths best and fairest vote count.

Blighty midfielder-forward Jed Brain won the Picola District Football League’s Pearce Medal after polling 26 votes on Monday night.

Brain began the season in scintillating fashion, claiming votes in eight of his side’s first nine games, before eventually polling in 10 of his side’s 17 games.

The former Bendigo Pioneers product notched five best-on-ground performances in the first six weeks before finishing ahead of Strathmerton’s Daniel Ellis (22) and Picola’s Adam Jorgensen (20).

It was the 21-year-old’s debut season in the north-west division after stints with Finley, which lost the grand final last season, at Noosa AFC in the Australian Football League Queensland and also at Rochester in the Goulburn Valley League.

The athletically gifted talent also managed to kick 54 goals in 17 games from the midfield, while on nine separate occasions he kicked three or more goals, including back-to-back bags of six.

Brain said it was a humbling feeling to claim the medal.

‘‘I didn’t win it on my own, it was the players around me that made me look good,’’ Brain said.

‘‘When you have guys like Sammy Singleton, Lenny Clarke and Lachie MacDonald providing support, they’re always going to make my day easier.

‘‘I played juniors with Blighty so it’s a pretty good achievement for my first year back.’’

Ironically, on Saturday Brain’s Redeyes were eliminated in the preliminary final, but it was the Pearce medallist who had the opportunity to tie the game with a kick after the siren.

The Redeyes were a goal behind when Brain marked the ball 47m out on a slight angle with just three seconds left on the clock.

The midfielder then went back as the siren sounded and with all eyes on the soon-to-be Pearce medallist, his shot dropped a metre short sending Strathmerton into the grand final.

‘‘I just didn’t have the distance in me. There was a bit of a breeze in my face and I was pretty tired by that stage of the game,’’ Brain said of his attempt on goal.

Berrigan’s Thomas Irvine was also presented with a medal at Monday’s vote count after winning the seniors’ goal-kicking with 60 regular season goals.

Tocumwal’s Paul Quick claimed the reserves best-and-fairest with 19 votes, polling two more than Strathmerton’s Lance Crowe.

Picola United leader Jon Varcoe was awarded the prestigious Senior Coach of the Year award after guiding United to a first placed finish and back-to-back grand finals.

■ In the junior league vote count last month, Tocumwal fourths onballer Tom Barker’s incredible season saw him claim the Smith Medal, polling a whopping 44 votes out of a possible 48.

Tom claimed top votes in 13 of his 16 games, closely followed by star Deni Rovers onballer Raymond Murphy who polled 39 votes (claiming top votes in 12 of his 15 games).

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