Pekin, Pay hon­oured

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY SARAH SCULLY

Har­row-bal­moral play­ing coach Nick Pekin and No­rad­juha-quan­tong de­fender Brooke Pay are the toast of Hor­sham Dis­trict Foot­ball Net­ball League after win­ning the com­pe­ti­tion’s pre­mier in­di­vid­ual ac­co­lades for 2018.

Pekin polled 19 votes to win the Del­lar Medal for the se­nior best and fairest player at a pre­sen­ta­tion cer­e­mony in Hor­sham’s Holy Trin­ity Lutheran Col­lege hall on Mon­day night.

Pekin played 15 of 16 games this season and polled in eight, in­clud­ing four best-on-ground per­for­mances.

He won the accolade from Na­timuk United coach Sam An­son, who col­lected 15 votes in 10 matches, with La­harum’s An­gus Martin, 14 votes, named best un­der-21 player.

Pekin is a mul­ti­ple Wim­mera league pre­mier­ship player and for­mer Vic Coun­try cap­tain. The Del­lar Medal is his high­est in­di­vid­ual hon­our.

“You don’t play footy for in­di­vid­ual ac­co­lades but to have one of these medals wrapped around my neck… I’m very proud of that,” Pekin said.

The hard-work­ing mid­fielder said he be­lieved coach­ing had brought out the best in him.

“When it comes to things like this you’re only as good as what you’re sur­rounded by,” he said.

“To be sur­rounded by 20 good mates – and hope­fully we go all the way this Satur­day – that cer­tainly helps in play­ing your best footy.

“While I’m proud of the achieve­ment, like I said, I’d trade this in any day for a pre­mier­ship medal around my neck.”

Pekin has an op­por­tu­nity to add a pre­mier­ship medal on Satur­day when his South­ern Roos take on Kal­kee at Hor­sham City Oval.

Pekin said he was con­fi­dent of his side’s chances.

“You’ve got to be con­fi­dent – if you don’t have con­fi­dence there’s no point go­ing in,” he said.

“The boys re­ally de­serve it. Some of those guys have played in five los­ing grand fi­nals over that time. It would be re­ally pleas­ing and de­serv­ing for those guys to win one.”

A Grade

The A Grade net­ball count was a thriller, with Pay pick­ing up 26 votes to pip last year’s win­ner Caitlin Story, of La­harum, by a sin­gle vote.

De­fend­ers Casey Vanstan, Na­timuk United, and Ebony Sal­ter, Har­row­bal­moral, were hot on their heels on 22 votes. Eden­hope-ap­s­ley de­fender Alex Lang, 15, won the best un­der-21 player award.

Pay en­joyed eight best-on-court per­for­mances in 2018, polling in 10 of the 13 games she played in.

“You don’t play for ac­co­lades but when you put in week after week, to get some recog­ni­tion is nice,” she said.

Pay thanked her No­rad­juha-quan­tong team-mates and sup­port­ers for stick­ing to­gether through a tough year.

“Our girls have had a year of ad­ver­sity and I’d say bad luck, but the op­por­tu­nity to step out on the court each week and keep it to­gether for those girls and act as a leader out there when times were tough is what has made me the player I am this year,” she said.

“Play­ing net­ball is about get­ting out there on the court, be­ing strong, de­ter­mined women and achiev­ing some­thing to­gether.

“We might not have made fi­nals, but we’ve had a great year.”

Other awards

Har­row-bal­moral also cel­e­brated wins in re­serves foot­ball, with Ben Deutscher claim­ing the Richie Dun­lop Me­mo­rial award for the best-and­fairest player.

Deutscher picked up 25 votes to win from Kal­kee’s Bren­dan Hobbs, 25.

Hobbs’ club-mate Jay­den Kuhne won the se­nior lead­ing goal-kicker award on 64 goals, while Har­row­bal­moral’s Quentin Will­mott topped the re­serves count with 59.

South­ern Roos mid­courter Janelle Knight scored an im­pres­sive win in B Grade, tri­umph­ing with 26 votes. The race was tight for run­ner-up hon­ours, with goalies Lucy King, No­rad­juhaquan­tong, and Lana El­lis, Pimpinio, tied on 21 votes.

In C Grade ac­tion, No­rad­juhaquan­tong’s Jess Rein­heimer went one bet­ter than last year, tak­ing out the grade’s top hon­our. The mid­courter polled 26 votes, fin­ish­ing two votes ahead of La­harum shooter Car­men Dri­dan.

Pimpinio’s Ma­ree Thompson came out of re­tire­ment to win C Re­serve, polling 28 votes to win ahead of Har­row-bal­moral’s El­iz­a­beth Hage, 24.

League lead­ers pre­sented sev­eral other awards on the night, with Tay­lors Lake’s Adam Hill and Har­row­bal­moral’s Pekin win­ning coach­ing awards and Swifts’ Ben Tay­lor judged best op­po­si­tion player.

Jenny Kirch­ner won a dis­tin­guished ser­vice award, Kal­kee’s Heath Martin was ad­min­is­tra­tor of the year and Na­timuk United won the 2018 club cham­pi­onship.

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