O’Brien doubles up to take out second SWDFNL best and fairest

WESTERNS onballer Stephen O’Brien is a two-time winner of the South West District league best and fairest award.

O’Brien claimed his second league honour in two years when he polled 24 votes in the count at Hamilton’s Alexandra House on Monday night.

He finished six clear of Cavendish surprise packet Nathan Curtis, 18 votes. Coleraine’s Josh Vickery and Dartmoor’s Sam Bouwman tied for third with 17 votes.

O’Brien has played much of his career with Westerns but spent the past two seasons with rival Heywood, clinching the league’s top individual honour in 2013.

He returned to Alexandra Park this season, helping the Kangaroos to fourth on the ladder. They take on Tyrendarra in the elimination final on Sunday.

O’Brien failed to poll a vote in the first four rounds and was six votes behind early leader Bouwman at the halfway mark.

But superb late-season form — 16 of his 24 votes came in the final seven rounds — lifted him to the top of the leaderboard.

The reserves best and fairest award went to Coleraine’s James Dyer, who polled 17 votes to edge out Tyrendarra’s Graham Duffy by one.

Cavendish’s Christopher Walsh was third with 13 votes.

Dartmoor spearhead Jason McCrae was the leading goalkicker with 100 while Cavendish forward Troy Duncan led the reserves’ tally with 52.

McCrae brought up his century with two goals in the Giants’ 100-point win against Cavendish at Dartmoor on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Cavendish stalwart Trish Hurley reaffirmed her standing in the league by securing a six-vote win in the A grade best and fairest.

Hurley, who played her 300th match for the Bloods in May, attracted 31 votes. She polled in 13 of the 18 matches, earning best-on-court honours eight times.

Heywood’s Alicia Tavare and Branxholme-Wallacedale’s Megan O’Dowd tied for second with 25 votes. 

Heathmere’s Renee Elijah claimed the A reserve award with 21 votes, two clear of Tyrendarra’s Ash Dyson.

Heywood’s Ally Cannon was a dominant winner in B grade. Her 41 votes came from 15 matches, with Tyrendarra’s Tania Simmonds runner-up with 25 votes.

Two votes in her final match were enough to lift Tyrendarra’s Karen Smith to the C grade award, by one from Branxholme-Wallacedale’s Kim Morrison, 29.

The junior winners were Cavendish’s Sophie Delahoy (17 and under), Branxholme-Wallacedale’s Danielle Vankalken (15 and under) and Tyrendarra’s Laura Dyson (13 and under).

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