Mid­field mae­stro wins Clune

Geraldton Guardian - - Football Awards - Justin Fris

In a mem­o­rable sea­son for the Rail­ways Foot­ball Club, it was fit­ting Blues duo Kim Schofield and Mitchell Boyle fought out a thrilling JJ Clune Medal count on Tues­day evening at the Queen El­iz­a­beth II Cen­tre in Ger­ald­ton.

Both men would have been wor­thy of such a pres­ti­gious award but Schofield even­tu­ally over­took his team­mate and ended the count on 37 votes.

With a warm buzz fill­ing the air, Northamp­ton’s Nathaniel Mouram­bine was the early mover in the count, polling 13 votes in the open­ing three rounds.

Oth­ers to poll well early in­cluded Brad Cooper (Bri­gades), Jamie Koric (Rovers) and Boyle, who en­tered as the pre-event favourite.

Schofield made his move to­wards the mid­dle part of the sea­son, a trend iden­ti­cal to the Blues’ for­tunes on the GNFL ta­ble.

Hav­ing pulled 13 votes up un­til round 10, the mid­field mae­stro turned on the gas dur­ing the fi­nal stretch of the sea­son, polling 24 votes across the fi­nal seven rounds.

Boyle polled strongly in most of these matches as well, be­fore a sea­son-end­ing ham­string in­jury scup­pered his chances of vic­tory.

Schofield was warmly re­ceived by the crowd as he made his way up to the dais and spoke about his time at the Recre­ation Ground this sea­son un­der Ja­son Gra­ham.

A tal­ented player who knocked back op­por­tu­ni­ties to play WAFL last year, Schofield said he was lov­ing foot­ball at the mo­ment.

“I def­i­nitely thought about go­ing down for a crack last year,” he told the au­di­ence. “But I guess home is where the heart is and I ended stay­ing with a good job and I’ve got fam­ily here and a good foot­ball club, so I couldn’t be hap­pier to be here.”

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing his medal, Schofield told the Guardian he couldn’t imag­ine play­ing any­where else but the Recre­ation Ground.

“I just love the Rail­ways Foot­ball Club and I wouldn’t be as happy as I am right now if it wasn’t for them,” he said. “They’re the ac­tual rea­son that I am here and I can’t thank them enough.”

Schofield cred­ited Blues coach Ja­son Gra­ham for much of his re­cent pro­gres­sion in foot­ball.

“He’s an un­be­liev­able coach,” he said. “He’s had us for five years now and taught us so much over that time.

“We get bet­ter and bet­ter each year, so hope­fully next year we can stick to­gether as well.”

Schofield said the Blues had tremen­dous faith in each other on and off the field — some­thing which he hopes will help net a premier­ship on Sun­day af­ter­noon against Mullewa in the GNFL grand fi­nal.

Pic­ture: Arc­tic Moon Pho­tog­ra­phy

Kim Schofield won the 2017 JJ Clune Medal.

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