DARLEY’S Jake Edwards reigned supreme as the Ballarat Football League’s premier footballer last night, winning the Henderson Medal in a thrilling vote count in Melton.
It was not until the last vote of the night that Edwards found out he had won the medal, pinching the Ballarat Football League’s highest individual award from Redan’s Tom Lamb.
Lamb had shocked many to poll 20 votes for the year with five best on ground performances, but it was the former AFL player and VFL premiership winner that prevailed in the end, registering three votes in the last game of the year against Melton South on the back of five goals.
In doing so, Edwards became just the second Darley player to claim the medal, with Shayne Ward the only other winner in 1999.
Edwards came back to Darley Park at the start of last year after spending four years on Carlton’s list, as well as winning a VFL premiership in an undefeated season at Port Melbourne.
In what has been a breakout year for the forward flanker/onballer, Edwards kicked 45 goals and polled in seven of the first nine games of the year.
He only recorded three best on ground performances for the season, but his consistency all year saw him given the nod in the eyes of the umpires.
Edwards said he had not entered the vote count with any great hope of winning and that he had actually asked his girlfriend if she wanted to leave before the vote count.
“Traditionally I don’t get a lot of votes off umpires, that’s just the way it’s been,” he said.
“I thought either myself or Nathan (Jackel) had it in the end but I’m glad they read my name out.
“I thought I had a quiet day in the last round but kicked five goals in the last quarter.”
“Maybe it was the green boots I wore this year.”
Fellow Devil Nathan Jackel also threatened to claim the medal throughout the count, holding a one-vote lead heading into the second-last round.
East Point’s Dan Jordan received the highest amount of best on ground matches, recording six in total.
However, he polled just 18 votes; those games were the only matches he polled in.
Jordan was easily one of the standout performers of the night, named coach of the year, claiming mark of the year, Tony Lockett Medalist and The Courier player of the year.
For Edwards, he said he would give in his medal to see his side playing in the BFL grand final on Saturday.
Darley dropped out in a semi-final to North Ballarat City.
“Football is a team game, I’d trade this in for a premiership medal any day of the week,” he said.
Travis Stephenson from Darley won the reserves best and fairest.
More on the BFL best and fairest pages 36,37