THERE is no clear favourite for the Toohey medal ahead of the Wimmera league’s best and fairest vote count on Monday night.
A hotly contested season has meant different players stepped up at different times.
Horsham Demons duo Ryan Kemp and Ben Lakin were consistently in their side’s best on the way to the minor premiership. Kemp’s league-high tally of 71 goals was bound to be noticed by umpires, but Lakin and coach Deek Roberts will steal votes along with a number of other contributors through the team.
Wimmera Football League chief commissioner Trevor Albrecht said it could be a matter of whether Roberts was able to get enough votes before he broke his leg in round 14.
“I’d expect he had a few votes up his sleeve before he went down because certainly in the games I saw he was very dominant,” he said.
“Ryan is bound to get a few votes and I’d love to see a backman like Ben win it but they have to fight harder to get their votes at times – there isn’t too many better backs than Ben and Rhona Conboy in the league.”
It will likely be a similar case for the Southern Mallee Giants. The side had little trouble slipping seamlessly into the Wimmera league this season but its has been there team play has impressed the most.
“I really found it hard to identify anyone as dominant but that could be because I’m not as familiar with them quite yet,” Albrecht said.
In two seasons of Horsham District league dominance no Giants’ players attracted more than 20 votes.
Coach Coleman Schache, Sam White and Haydn Drew should all poll well but it could be a matter of how high the winning tally is that could determine whether they stand a chance.
Further down the ladder Ryan McKenzie has been a proven vote winner at the Warrack Eagles. He again regularly featured in his side’s best alongside Shannon Argall and Nick Peters in his first year back at the club.
“Ryan is my tip – I think he’s had a stellar season and he’s just dominant running on his left forward while being able to sneak forward to get some goals,” Albrecht said. “Shannon had a good second half of the season and Nick is always in the mix so that’s a big thing that might stand in Ryan’s way.”
Tom Taurau, Naish McRoberts and Jackson Dark have the potential to attract votes even in Stawell’s losses.
Ararat’s Tom Mills could be a darkhorse as there has been a lot of excitement surrounding his season while Nick and Dan Mendes are also potential vote getters.
The familiar names of Sam Clyne and Luke Fisher have also been raised. The Horsham Saints midfielder do their best work right underneath the noses of the umpires in contested situations and are proven vote winners.