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POPE WINS HIS SECOND BILL PEIRCE MEDAL

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POPE WINS HIS SECOND BILL PEIRCE MEDAL

Andrew Thomson

Forward turned midfielder Val Pope has won his second Bill Peirce Medal for Western Magpies AFC Best and Fairest player in 2015. Pope adds the medal to the one he won in 2008 which underlines the excellence of his football over many years at the Pies. His 2008 medal was won in a premiership season and this year's medal was won with the Pies finishing second on the ladder--this underlines the class act that he is to win the prestigious medal  when he had plenty of competition from a very good line up of players.

In a voting system of 3 cards with 5-4-3-2-1 voting, Pope polled 101 votes to win from young defender Doug Lawrence on 88 votes with QAFL Grogan Medallist Callum Carseldine finishing third on 81 votes. The other top vote getters were Matt Davis (79),  Luke Scott (71), Richard Wenham (62) and Drew Mitchell (60). The next best vote getter was 29 votes. 

After 12 rounds Pope and Lawrence both trailled Davis and Carseldine was way back in sixth place. Both Pope and Carseldine finished the season strongly. 

The top four vote getters did not quite mirror the QAFL selectors as all but Lawrence  were  named in the QAFL Team of the Year. Lawrence failed to gain a vote in the Grogan count but his value to the Pies was reflected in his runner up B & F placing. 

Pope missed 2 matches during the year but he was a consistent performer in the remaining 16 matches with his clean ball handling and ability to scoop the ball up on the run without slowing a highlight. His ability in the air catches many opponents out and his balance and goal kicking ability are second to none. He kicked 34 goals which is a good return for a high forward who played more in the midfield this season. Pope was named number 33 in the QAFL top 50 which many in the know would consider far too low. 

Bill Peirce presented the medal named in his honour to Pope and commented that he enjoyed watching Pope play and he was a worthy winner.

Doug Lawrence  was superb in the key defensive position and his hardness at the contest was a highlight. He was rewarded with a mention in the QAFL top 50 this season. 

Grogan Medallist Carseldine has been lauded for his in and under work at the contest as well as his leadership this season. His achievement on winning the Grogan Medal was honoured by the crowd at the Presentation Night. 

Fourth  place getter Matt Davis was also named in the QAFL top 50 and his first half off the season was top shelf but injury resulted in several missed matches and on his return he struggled to regain some of his earlier form. His marking and run out of defence were a highlight. Davis was presented with the Joe Schaffert-Kevin Garner Trophy for Most Consistent Player.

Other trophy winners were Callum Carseldine who was awarded the BG Award and presented by Tim McEvoy who commented on his leadership both on and off the field and inspiration in coming back so strongly after a knee reconstruction last season as well as his Grogan Medal win. 

Drew Mitchell had a consistent season with hard work in the midfield and running hard to create and link with the forwards. He was rewarded with the Coach's Trophy.

The Barry "Phantom" Johnstone Award was won by Matt Garland for his contribution to the team in a difficult year for him, injuring his knee in pre-season then forcing his way back into the first grade team at year's end. He contributed off the field while injured which impressed his teammates and officials.

Best Team-man was awarded to Mitchell Stallard, who was only able to play half a game this year before succumbing to a foot injury which has since had surgery. The 2014 Rising Star's onfield contribution was missed this year but he was at training every night and on match day did statistics and any other job asked of him to be a much loved player at the club.

The Rising Star award was awarded to both Riley Easton and Sam Copland and it was fitting they could not be split because as 16 year olds both have big futures at the club. The other factor is they both travel significant distances to train and play, Easton from Dalby and Copland from Toowoomba.   

Leading Goal-kicker was Alex Dickfos with 60 goals--how he was not named in the QAFL top 50 players is a mystery.

First grade voting for Bill Peirce Medal

Val Pope 101, Doug Lawrence 88, Callum Carseldine 81, Matt Davis 79, Luke Scott 71, Richard Wenham 62, Drew Mitchell 60, Sunny Anett 29, Ben Jaenke-Cain 25, Brady Allen 22, Tim McEvoy 21, Tyler Jones 20, Tom Ielasi 18, Luke Mitchell 18, Chris Hunt 17, Alex Dickfos 14, Dom Beer 13,  Aaron Maricic 12, Joel Workman 10, Tom Michael 10, Sam Copland 10, Sean Mewing 9, Lachlan Woods 5, Riley Easton 5, Matt Hockley 3, Matt Thompson 3, Jak Williams 2, Jack Goodall 2.