AT the Henderson Medal night the Ballarat Football League unveiled its team of the year.
Of course, like the old John West Salmon ad goes, it’s the players the judges (in this case, the BFL’s coaches) reject that indicate how good the team is.
Those players include Jay Cheep (Sunbury), Ash Baker (Ballarat), Jarrod Edwards (Darley), Doug Thomas (Melton South), and Ben Taylor (Lake Wendouree), all whom I had in my own BFL team of the year.
Those included in the official one (but not in mine) were: Luke Brennan (Ballarat), Tom Lamb (Redan), Matthew Notman (Melton South), Ross Sleight (Sunbury) and Matthew Bilton (East Point). All five have had very good years.
Bilton, for example, finished third in Monday’s night’s Henderson Medal count behind Jason McNamara and Jarrod Edwards (Redan) with 18 votes.
In the league’s six man backline, Brennan is an outstanding third tall. I went with the versatile but smaller Jarrod Edwards (Darley).
Curiously, three of my selections are direct swaps for their team mates in the BFL’s official team.
Notman or Thomas? Brennan or Baker? Sleight or Cheep? Players for the official team were selected by opposition coaches. I wonder which player Melton South coach Shane Geddes would have had first: the skilful and quick Notman or the strong and brave Thomas? Would Sunbury’s Shane Horwood have Cheep ahead of Sleight? I suspect he would say both.
My most notable omission was Lamb. In hindsight the league’s rookie of the year should be in my team of the year. I’ll take that as a fail.
The official team’s most notable absentee is probably Cheep. He polled the most votes of any Sunbury player at the “Hendo” and was second only to Paddy Cariss in The Courier’s BFL player of the year.
Who was right? Would you have Lamb or Cheep (or cheap lamb)?
I suppose that question will be answered in tomorrow’s grand final.
BFL TEAM OF THE YEAR
B: Luke Brennan (Ballarat) Malcom Niblett (Sebastopol) Brett Chambers (Sunbury)
HB: Nathan Horbury (Redan) Leigh Burke (Melton South) Tom Lamb (Redan)
C: Matthew Notman (Melton South) Jarrod Edwards (Redan) Matthew Bilton (East Point)
HF: Jake Edwards (Darley) Brendan Porter (Darley) Ross Sleight (Sunbury)
F: Mathew Sutton (Melton South) Dan Jordan (East Point) Jamie Lobb (Sunbury)
R: Pat Cariss (Sunbury) Jason McNamara (capt, North Ballarat City) Jason Delaney (East Point)
Int: Michael Powell (Sebastopol), Tyson Shea (Bacchus Marsh), Shaun Lyle (North Ballarat City), Ayden George (North Ballarat City).