FORMER Melbourne Vixen Brooke Thompson and quality state leaguer Talei Bari share Ballarat Football League’s top individual netball honour.
Melton’s Thompson and Darley’s Bari tied as senior best and fairests, each in return seasons to the BFL.
Club representatives accepted trophies for both players’ at the BFL Henderson Medal last night.
Centre-courter Bari was at try-outs with Victorian Netball League club Boroondara Genesis and goal defence Thompson, who also plays with VNL club Western Lightning, was in Sydney.
The pair polled 23 votes apiece, with Bari polling one vote in the final round to draw level.
Bari becomes the Devils’ second consecutive league best, following defender Olivia Aughton who claimed the honour last season.
East Point’s Lauren Atkinson (22 votes) edged ahead of Redan’s Sally Riley (20) to claim runner-up.
In a written acceptance speech, read out by Melton netball director Kate Williams, Thompson said it was great to return to her junior club this season. “It’s taken the Bloods a few years to convince me to come back and play at the grass roots level and I must admit, I’m really glad I did,” Thompson said.
Williams said Thompson had always maintained close contact with the club, but having her back on court was definitely something special. Darley captain Christine O’Hanlon said Bari’s experience, likewise, was pivotal to their team as she had played a key role in developing local players.
Bacchus Marsh’s Susan Dalmau topped the senior goal scoring with 630 goals.
Meanwhile, East Point’s relentless attacker Anna Bucknall won the reserves netball best and fairest on 25 votes from Redan’s Emma Blomeley (21). Ballarat Pride-listed Bianca Woods topped the C-grade tally in her comeback from knee surgery.
Woods (Redan) polled in 11 of 16 matches, including seven best on courts, for 28 votes with Darley’s Tenielle Brown runner-up on 24.
Ballarat’s Maddi Quayle was a clear winner in the under-18.5s, improving on a runner-up finish last season. Quayle polled 35 votes with runner-up Demi Geary next best on 25.