SPEEDY North Ballarat wingman Dean Towers has been named the Victorian Football League’s most promising young player.
Towers was last night awarded the Fothergill-Round Medal as the best 23/under player amid the league’s JJ Liston Trophy vote count at Etihad Stadium.
The 22-year-old from Colac said he was shocked and a little overwhelmed to receive such a prestigious medal.
He soon backed up the award with a spot in the VFL team of the year, named on the interchange.
Towers is in his second year with the Selkirk Roosters and worked hard to firm a senior spot after making his VFL debut in last year’s finals series. In an impressive year, Towers was also called up to represent the VFL in an interleague clash against the Tasmanian State League in May
“It’s been good to be able to slowly find my place in the side and play consistent footy,” Towers said.
“It’s been a gradual progression since the Roosters took me on.”
The Fothergill-Round medallist is often considered a key AFL draft prospect.
Past winners include Michael Barlow (Werribee/Fremantle), Robin Nahas (Port Melbourne/Richmond), Michael Hibberd (Frankston/Essendon) and last year’s recipient Ahmed Saad (Northern Bullants/St Kilda).
Towers has already attracted attention from AFL recruiters as an invitee to next month’s AFL national combine.
“At the start of this year I sat down with the coaches to set my goals and that was one of my goals, to get looked at,” Towers said.
“To actually achieve that is pretty exciting.”
The Fothergill-Round Medal continues a remarkable journey for Towers, an Otways Districts junior, who was playing his debut season with in the Geelong Football League two years ago.
A friend encouraged him to try out at the Roosters while studying his physical education teaching degree at the University of Ballarat.
In a break-through season, Towers, along with Rebels graduate Coleman Schache, was named in the inaugural VFL academy, which offered specialist coaching and mentoring through the season.
Towers said the only dampener was a hamstring injury that limited his end to the season.
But Towers said it reinforced how much the club focused on a duty of care to the player in getting him back on the field when he his body was ready.
He enjoyed sharing the Fothergill-Round Medal with team-mates last night.
The Fothergill-Round Medal is named in honour of Des Fothergill (Williamstown) and Barry Round (Williamstown), the only two players to have won both the JJ Liston Trophy and Brownlow Medal.