Coaches tip rival ruckmen to collect Maskell Medal

A RUCKMAN is being tipped to win the Hampden league’s highest individual honour for the third consecutive year tomorrow.

Cobden big man Levi Dare, who is chasing his second Maskell Medal in three years, and North Warrnambool Eagles ruckman Jordan Dillon are the names on many pundits’ minds, including rival coaches yesterday.

Terang Mortlake coach Shane Threlfall is predicting a ruckman quinella, suggesting Dare and Dillon could fill the first two spots in the best-and-fairest award, as judged by umpires.

He said Dare’s midfielder brother Joe and Camperdown star Sam Chapman would also be in contention.

“History says Levi polls pretty well,” Threlfall said.

“He dominates games and Joe was good in a lot of games, too.”

Threlfall said Koroit midfielder Ben Goodall should also attract attention from the umpires.

He said the Bloods’ best chance was likely to be key forward Stephen Staunton.

Camperdown coach Bernard Moloney is predicting Dillon could give the Eagles another Maskell win.

“I just reckon he might win,” Moloney said.

“He’s such a dominating ruckman, but around the ground as well. He gives North first use of the ball quite often and he’s a good clearance performer.”

Moloney suggested the Dare brothers would be close to him in the count.

Outgoing Koroit coach Chris McLaren said he was sticking with his pre-season tip of Magpies midfielder Chapman, with the Dare brothers “pushing him”.

He said Koroit’s best hopes would be Goodall and the versatile Ben Dobson, who had a number of roles during the season, including in the midfield, across half-back and in the forward line.

Minor premier Warrnambool’s hopes of consecutive winners in the award rest with midfielder Tim Hunt, while key forward Jason Rowan, after 102 goals in 17 home-and-away games, should attract votes but history will be against him, with midfielders dominating the honour in recent memory.

Camperdown captain Adrian Murray enjoyed a productive season and he, along with Chapman, should lead the Magpies’ tally.

South Warrnambool midfielder Brad Miller and James Hussey should poll well.

Injuries could play a big part in the result of the A grade netball best-and-fairest count, with the race wide open.

Midcourter Maddie Smedts was a standout for the Bombers, but a back injury late in the season that saw her sidelined for a month could be criticial to her chances.

Coach Jacqui Bowman and goal attack Marissa Chapman were consistently good for the Saints and should figure in the voting.

Terang Mortlake defender Jess O’Connor has enjoyed a brilliant year and should lead the Bloods tally. 

Minor premier Camperdown is likely to have a posse of players in the votes, including coach Rachel Rodger, goal attack Kate Wilson and stalwart Leah Sinnott, but they are likely to take votes off each other.

Port Fairy coach Nicole Dwyer has been dominant for the Seagulls, while South Warrnambool goal shooter Eliza Dwyer has had a breakout year.

Warrnambool is another club that had several key players either away or injured during the year, but Sarah Hearn and co-captain Emma O’Keeffe can expect votes.

North Warrnambool Eagles can expect captain Jaime Barr and goal attack Skye Billings to be prominent.

The count, to be held at City Memorial Bowls Club tomorrow, starts at 12.45pm.

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