IT’S the most dreaded task in modern sport.
Selecting a team of the season is by no means an easy feat, particularly in a league which has been boosted by several classy players.
The Standard’s Warrnambool and District Football Netball League reporter, NICK ANSELL, has selected his pick of the bunch from the season that was.
LUKE WEEL (Nirranda): Weel was the most reliable mid-sized defender in the competition this season. Was tasked with shut-down roles on a number of dangerous forwards, including Jason Rowan, and was rarely beaten. His clean disposal also helped Nirranda’s rebound 50s.
DARYL BEECHEY (Old Collegians): Still the strongest full-back in the competition, taking the opposition’s best forwards. Marking, running and spoiling ability was first-class. Still chasing a premiership after years of service to the Warriors.
DANNY CHATFIELD (East Warrnambool): Reached peak fitness this year after shedding more than 10 kilograms in the off-season. The Bombers’ standout, who capped his season with an interleague call-up. Clean disposal and a genuine hard nut across half-back.
XAVIER BEKS (Merrivale): Classy ball-user who thrived on the physicality of the Warrnambool and District league. Flew under the radar, but settled into life at Merrivale well and looks to be a real find for the Tigers.
JAKE RICHARDSON (Kolora-Noorat): Tall, strong and fearless, Richardson was a defensive linchpin in the Power’s premiership season. Work is potentially underrated outside the club but is a strong prospect at 24 years of age.
BRAYDEN HARKNESS (Nirranda): Cooling influence across half-back for the Blues after spending time in Melbourne’s Eastern Football League. Rarely makes an error with ball-in-hand and is the league’s best playmaker across half-back.
BEN NEWEY (Timboon Demons): Speedy midfielder with the ability to break open a match. Polled well in the J.A. Esam Medal and was the Demons’ most electrifying player when he was fully fit.
JOHN PAULIN (Nirranda): Hit red-hot form this season, impressing coach Shane Threlfall. Battled injury towards the back-end of the season but was a line-breaking midfielder at his best in 2017.
JONO GLEESON (Kolora-Noorat): The Power’s Mr. Reliable on the wing and across half-back. Big game player, who stood tall in the club’s grand final victory.
SAM HARKIN (Kolora-Noorat): Went forward, kicked goals, and wreaked havoc for the Power in his first season at the club. Travelled down to Warrnambool from Melbourne, but chimed in with 55 majors while also creating countless opportunities and drifting into midfield.
BEN FRASER (Kolora-Noorat): Star centre-half forward. Booted 71 goals despite missing a month of football with hamstring and calf troubles. Athletic goalkicker with the ability to win a game off his own boot. Another Melbourne-based player who tore the competition apart when at full fitness.
NICK SULLIVAN (Old Collegians): The Warriors’ classiest midfielder who was responsible for their improvement. Tough, yet classy, Sullivan led the line and provided good service for the club’s forwards. It’s vital for Collegians to retain his services for next season if they are to mount another premiership bid.
NATHAN KREPP (South Rovers): Damaging forward who improved his work rate to become a real threat up forward for the Lions. Slotted 44 majors, finishing sixth in the league’s goalkicking. Also offered run and leadership for South Rovers.
GARY ROBINSON (Nirranda): At 41 years of age, Robinson is still the best out-and-out forward in the competition. Fell just two majors short of cracking the magic 100-goal mark from just 17 games. Traditional goalkicker who loves to stand and mark the ball. Showing no signs of slowing down.
JASON ROWAN (Merrivale): Hampden league legend whose first season at Merrivale was injury-interrupted. Broke the 10-goal mark twice, both against Allansford. Was tricky to play on, due to his elite endurance and running. Clever forward who is among the league’s best when firing. Averaged 4.54 goals per game.
SCOTT LENEHAN (Old Collegians): Massive presence for the Warriors, who dominated with more time in the middle of the ground this season. Capped a stunning season with the J.A. Esam Medal and was the dominant ruckman for the majority of the season.
LEATHAM ROBE (Merrivale): Tigers’ star recruit who amassed several best-on-grounds for Merrivale through the middle of the season. Hard nut who never backs out of a contest, and an all-round solid player.
SCOTT JUDD (Kolora-Noorat): Silky midfielder who possesses the ability to impact the scoreboard. Was a runner-up in the 2016 Esam medal count, and followed up with a standout season. Pinpoint kicking accuracy and good by hand.
BRAD KELLY (Merrivale): Lively forward who benefited from Rowan’s arrival at the club. Booted 31 majors from 14 games.
WILL PAULIN (Nirranda): Big-bodied midfielder who lit up the league after crossing from Warrnambool. Tough ball magnet who took several contested marks.
MARCUS HICKEY (Timboon Demons): Old-fashioned ruckman with skills and strength to boot. Hickey’s influence was outstanding, and he played an important role in the Demons’ rise.
SAM MAHONY (Panmure): Talented onballer who added a layer of class to the Bulldogs’ side. Heartbeat of the side and helped Panmure to improve in 2017.