The Bill Peirce Medal will likely reward consistency this year, in what was a transitional year for the Magpies Senior side. A youthful 2017 team added some experienced recruits and new faces to the 2018 side as the game plan and team structure evolved.
The best & Fairest medal is named after club legend Bill Peirce, the clubs first Grogan Medallist, captain/coach for 2 years, captain for a further 6 years, dual Best & Fairest Winnder and 5 time Premiership Player. Billy is estimated to have played over 800 games representing Sherwood from U/7’s onwards and estimates he won well over 10 Premierships including many undefeated years in a dominant junior side. A he once put it, “I never actually retired, I eventually just stopped getting picked!”
Warm favourties would have to be Ryan Harwood, skipper Drew Mitchell, QAFL Rising Star winner Riley Easton and returning club junior Luca Winton. Four hugely contrasting players given where they came from in 2017.
Harwood in 2017 played 9 of his 81 Senior AFL games for the Brisbane Lions, Magpies skipper Drew Mitchell was the joint winner of the 2017 Bill Peirce Medal, Riley Easton was finding his feet again in QAFL Footy after a tough run with injury and Luca Winton played in a Kedron side who took the Wooden spoon in QFA Division 2 Footy!
Coming from such varied 2017 seasons, ranging from AFL footy to QFA Div 2 wooden spooners - these four were arguably the standouts for the Magpies in 2018. Harwood delivering on what was expected of a prized recruit, Mitchell again leading from the front in the midfield, Easton showing what everyone knew he had before injury struck and Winton the surprise packet as the returning Sherwood club junior cementing himself as one of the first picked each week in a break out season returning to his home club.
Winton in particular was the story of the year, strong pre-season training form and a great attitude demanded an opportunity in practice matches and he just went from strength to strength, arguably not having a bad game all year. Good judgment, clean handling below the knees and a willingess to leave his opponent to go third man up were features of his play.
Meanwhile, Easton slowly found his way early in the year as he worked his way back to full fitness and confidence in his body, before exploding later in the year to be a runaway winner of the QAFL Rising Star and a key player for the Magpies with his work around the ball and tackling pressure and absolute highlight for the Magpie faithful.
Magpie fans where obviously expecting big things from Harwood, and after taking a few weeks to pick up the different tempy of QAFL Footy he began to deliver with some absolute standout games despite getting plenty of close attention and zero protection from the men with the whistles. Also important was that Harwood embraced the club and the Magpies culture to be a hugely popular edition at ‘the Berg’.
Other dark horses in the mix could include David Lewis, while last years 3rd place getter Tom Ielasi likely cost himself a true shot at it due to a mid-season break. Both Jake De Winter and Anthony Corrie were strong up forward, but a comination of missed games through injury and suspension and some quiet weeks may see them competing for a Top 5 place. Kale Reed was consistent hitting the scoreboard, while Jack Goodall will likely suffer from playing too much NEAFL footy for Redlands.
It promises to be an exciting count and a great night celebrating 2018 with other key perpetual awards to be given including:
Joe Schaffert-Kevin Garner Memorial Trophy - Most Consistent
Russell Green Trophy - Coach of the Year
Barry ‘Phantom’ Johnstone - Senior Club Player of the Year
last but not least the prestigious BG Award