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Coopers - Nipperess Medal Preview (Woodsmen Best & Fairest)

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Coopers - Nipperess Medal Preview (Woodsmen Best & Fairest)

Andrew Thomson

Our first preview of the week will be the Nipperess Medal, which will again be awarded to the Woodsmen Best & Fairest on Friday night.

The Nipperess Medal is named in honour of Laurie Nipperess, Craig Nipperess and Dean Nipperess. Laurie played all his junior football at Sherwood, but a promising career was cut short by 2 knee reconstructions before his 21st birthday. He then spent the next 20+ years serving in various roles at the Sherwood Footy Club including team manager for the soe of the great Magpie sides of the 70’s and 80’s. Laurie was instrumental in getting 3rds football going at the club again in 2007 and was the founding President of the Woodsmen when AFL Queensland forced the formation of a 2nd club to keep the 3rds team going. Craig Nipperess was a 3rds player in 2007 and 2008, however the promising junior soccer star suffers from a dehabilitating back injury that has since put him in the ‘break glass in case of emergency’ box, racking up 5 or 6 appearances over the last 7-8 years. However from 2009 to 2018, Craig has been a constant of the Woodsmen, missing less than 10 matches over that time as the trusty team manager, volunteer coordinator, runner, scoreboard attendant, goal umpire, boundary umpire, umpires escort…you get the picture, you name it, he’s done it! Some coaches over the years may say calling him the runner is generous, preferring ‘yeller’ or ‘walker’, but the message eventually makes its destination! Finally, younger brother Dean was the star footballer that preferred to simply play 3rds with his mates. Dean was a star Colts player at the Magpies, then had approximately 5 seasons of 3rds footy where he was a dominant force in the forward line before giving the game away in his early 20’s. Kicking bags of 10+ on a regular basis, including 8 in the 2007 Grand Final and a potent 1-2 combo with Magpie Legend Adam Gillespie in the 2009 Premiership side.

Yet another first time winner is likely from a strong field of contenders, with perhaps Sam Curtis as the only former winner in the picture after 3 consecutive top 2 finishes including a win in 2016. Curtis again had a solid and consistent year in midfield, but this season was joined by a significantly improved midfield depth to lighten his load. This support came from ball magnet Chris Judson in his first season with the Woodsmen, who played more than a supporting role in what was an outstanding season that should see him in the mix at the pointy end of the season. While Ben Ness should poll well, particularly on the back of a late season surge in form.

Up forward, Matt Hockley was a consistent performer to win the league goalkicking award with 50 snags, while Shayne Baldwin was superb, but like Sam Banim, will likely be hurt buy missing several games during the year.

Another consistent performer and proven vote winner is Chris Davis, with several placings in recent years along with Club President Andrew Thomson who was runner up to Gerard Moore in 2017. Both Davis and Thomson poll well with the umpires and will be looking to win their first Nipperess Medal on the night.

The two biggest darkhorses of the night will be the ever reliable and consistent Tommy Roderick and the old warhorse David Jackson who should poll several BOG performances. Both will also be hampered by missing several games early in the season.

It’s a strong field, and should be an exciting count. Interestingly, there are no dual winners of the award to date, so Curtis could set a new benchmark if he takes home the gong.

Last 5 winners:

2017 - Gerard Moore

2016 - Sam Curtis

2015 - Chris Mihalopoulous

2014 - Reid Dobson

2013 - Jay Baker