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Genuine Garage Door Solutions - Thrilling Bill Peirce Medal Count comes down to the wire

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Genuine Garage Door Solutions - Thrilling Bill Peirce Medal Count comes down to the wire

Andrew Thomson

The Bill Peirce Medal for the Western Magpies Best and Fairest was jointly won by midfield workhorse Gareth Crawford and captain Drew Mitchell.

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In an exciting count, Crawford polled votes in the final 2 rounds to reel in the early leader in Mitchell, who missed games late in the year through injury.  Mitchell and Dave Lewis shot out of the blocks before injury put an end to Lewis season while Crawford came from the clouds late in the year to run down the early season leaders.

The voting system has 3 cards of 5-4-3-2-1, with all votes completed by members of the coaching staff, the maximum votes in any one match was 15 votes, with Tom Ielasi the only player to achieve a perfect score of 15 in the final round vs Morningside, while Crawford polled 14 once and 12 twice.

Mitchell led 64 votes to 48 voters with 2 rounds to play but Crawford polled 12 votes in the second last match against Labrador and then another 4 votes in the final match at Morningside to tie up the count.

Mitchell had a purple patch from round 6 to 10 where he polled 31 votes to open up a 22 vote lead after round 10.

It is the first time there has been a tie in the Bill Peirce Medal Count.

For Mitchell it is his First Senior Best and Fairest but he comes from Sherwood/Western Magpies royalty with his father Steve and uncle Rob premiership players at the Pies and his grandparents Ray and Flo Lang both Life Members of the club.

Crawford has a distinguished football resume in the western border area of Victoria, winning a Western Border League Best & Fairest and also a Best & Fairest at Hamilton Kangaroos in their first season after amalgamation of bitter rivals Hamilton and Hamilton Imperials several years ago.   

The medallists were presented their Medal by Bill Peirce himself. Peirce was the Magpies first Grogan Medallist, was a seven time captain, two time coach and two time B & F for Sherwood as well as playing in several premierships and close to 300 senior matches for the club in addition to over 150 reserves outings.

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Runner-up in the voting was silky mid-fielder Tom Ielasi, who polled 58 votes. Young ruckman Aaron Highlands was next with 49 votes, a superb effort in his first season in the top grade. Other votegetters in the mix were Logan Murray (46), Harry Marshall (45), Brenton Saunders (44), Jack Goodall (38), two time Bill Peirce Medallist, 200 game player and new Life Member Val Pope (36) and leading goalkicker Jake de Winter (35).

Ruckman Aaron Highlands took out the much coveted BG Award for Courage and Commitment and was also won the Rising Star Award, highlighting what a big future he has in the next few years.

2014 Bill Peirce Medallist Ben Jaenke-Cain was named as the Joe Schaffert-Kevin Garner Memorial Trophy Most Consistent Player after another solid season.

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Best Team Player Award was shared by youngsters in midfield hard-nut Logan Murray and consistent defender Harry Marshall and Coach's Trophy was awarded to the unlucky David Lewis, who contributed all year despite a season-ending PCL tear in round 10.

Jake de Winter was the Leading Goalkicker with 39 goals, averaging 3 goals per match.

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