Midfield maestro wins Clune
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.
Kim Schofield won the 2017 JJ Clune Medal.