BFL Henderson Medal: past victors among favourites

PAST victors headline the most likely contenders for this year's Henderson Medal.

Four-time medallist Jarrod Edwards of Redan, and reigning league best and fairest Jason McNamara (North Ballarat City), are among the probable front-runners for the Ballarat Football League's equivalent of the AFL's Brownlow Medal, which will be presented at a red carpet function at the Mercure tonight.

This year's Henderson Medallist may also come from Sunbury, which has enjoyed another impressive season, East Point, Darley or Ballarat.

Midfielders have traditionally dominated the medal count, which is awarded on the basis of 3-2-1 votes provided by the officiating umpires at each match.

Apart from Edwards and McNamara, other onballers likely to poll well tonight include McNamara's teammate Ayden George, Sunbury pair Jay Cheep and Jamie Lobb, Ballarat's Ash Baker, and Jason Delaney from East Point.

Rarely in recent years has the Henderson Medallist come from outside the top six (or, previously, the top five).

Footballers who may buck that trend include: perennial vote collector Tyson Shea from Bacchus Marsh, last year's The Courier BFL Footballer of the Year Ben Taylor, and rugged Melton South onballer Doug Thomas.

Ruckman Pat Cariss is perhaps the best chance among the big men.

The last ruckman to claim the award was Scott Winduss (Daylesford) in 2001-2002.

Then Lake Wendouree, now North Ballarat key position player Paul McMahon claimed the medal in 2010.

Prior to that, the last key forward to win the medal count was East Point's Dan Jordan, who tied with Edwards in 2006.

Jordan and 2002 Henderson Medallist Mathew Sutton were the league's top two goalkickers this season, so would be among the best chances among the forwards.

Backmen have fared even worse than forwards.

Versatile Sunbury defender Brett Chambers may buck the trend, while Sebastopol full back Malcom Niblett has had an outstanding season.

When The Courier BFL player of the year voting went into camera after round 15, McNamara led with 37 votes, from teammate George (33) and Edwards (32), although, with a 5-4-3-2-1 voting system, The Courier award often delivers a different result to the Henderson Medal, which is presented on the same night.

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