Brain storms to Pearce Medal win

Southern Riverina news - - SPORT -

Blighty mid­fielder-for­ward Jed Brain won the Pi­cola Dis­trict Football League’s Pearce Medal af­ter polling 26 votes on Mon­day night.

Brain be­gan the sea­son in scin­til­lat­ing fash­ion, claim­ing votes in eight of his side’s first nine games, be­fore even­tu­ally polling in 10 of his side’s 17 games.

The for­mer Bendigo Pi­o­neers prod­uct notched five best-on-ground per­for­mances in the first six weeks be­fore fin­ish­ing ahead of Strath­mer­ton’s Daniel El­lis (22) and Pi­cola’s Adam Jor­gensen (20).

It was the 21-year-old’s de­but sea­son in the north-west di­vi­sion af­ter stints with Fin­ley, which lost the grand final last sea­son, at Noosa AFC in the Aus­tralian Football League Queens­land and also at Rochester in the Goul­burn Val­ley League.

The ath­let­i­cally gifted tal­ent also man­aged to kick 54 goals in 17 games from the mid­field, while on nine sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions he kicked three or more goals, in­clud­ing back-to-back bags of six.

Brain said it was a hum­bling feel­ing to claim the medal.

‘‘I didn’t win it on my own, it was the play­ers around me that made me look good,’’ Brain said.

‘‘When you have guys like Sammy Sin­gle­ton, Lenny Clarke and Lachie Mac­Don­ald pro­vid­ing sup­port, they’re al­ways go­ing to make my day eas­ier.

‘‘I played ju­niors with Blighty so it’s a pretty good achieve­ment for my first year back.’’

Iron­i­cally, on Satur­day Brain’s Redeyes were elim­i­nated in the pre­lim­i­nary final, but it was the Pearce medal­list who had the op­por­tu­nity to tie the game with a kick af­ter the siren.

The Redeyes were a goal be­hind when Brain marked the ball 47 m out on a slight an­gle with just three sec­onds left on the clock.

The mid­fielder then went back as the siren sounded and with all eyes on the soon-to-be Pearce medal­list, his shot dropped a me­tre short send­ing Strath­mer­ton into the grand final.

‘‘I just didn’t have the dis­tance in me. There was a bit of a breeze in my face and I was pretty tired by that stage of the game,’’ Brain said of his at­tempt on goal.

Ber­ri­gan’s Thomas Irvine was also pre­sented with a medal at Mon­day’s vote count af­ter win­ning the se­niors’ goal-kick­ing with 60 reg­u­lar sea­son goals.

Tocumwal’s Paul Quick claimed the re­serves best-and-fairest with 19 votes, polling two more than Strath­mer­ton’s Lance Crowe.

Pi­cola United leader Jon Var­coe was awarded the pres­ti­gious Se­nior Coach of the Year award af­ter guid­ing United to a first placed fin­ish and back-to-back grand fi­nals.

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