Report: JEFF STEPHENSON
THE question is: Can Adrian Williams win his second successive Dowling Medal and become only the fifth player to make it back-to-back best and fairest awards for Redland?
Willo has had another consistent season in a difficult year and has continued to stand tall in a defence that has had to withstand some harrowing onslaughts during the year.
The strong marking tall defender has rarely lowered his colours and in the process has taken on some of the best players in the competition.
Willo ran away with the award last season winning by a staggering 38 votes from Clay Cameron.
The last player to win back-to-back medals was Phil Carse, who achieved the rare honour in 2009-10.
Phil, who now coaches Camperdown in the Hampden League in country Victoria, won three Dowling Medals during his career with the Bombers – the most by any play in the club’s history.
This year’s battle might not translate to such a wide margin.
Leading NEAFL goalkicker Matt Hammelmann will be one player to provide a challenge.
Matt’s early season form was particularly dominant and while he had a quiet patch mid-season has been a quality focal point as evidenced by his 60 goals, which earned him the NEAFL Leading Goalkicker award.
Jack Rolls will also challenge as he should considering the impact he’s had on games throughout the season.
The talented youngster – a NEAFL Rising Star nominee again this year – plays the game one way and that’s straight at the ball.
His season average of 26 disposals, 12 contested possessions and five tackles a game are impressive and are statistics that matter.
Key forward, Jackson Paine, has been in scintillating form towards the latter half of the season and will collect a goodly portion of votes.
Jackson’s tally of 31 goals had him finishing in seventh place on the NEAFL goalkicking ladder.
Ruckman Craig Malone powered his way to the top of the ranks with some fine early season form, but a knee-injury three weeks ago brought his run to an untimely halt.
Before the injury “Tiny” was sitting in second place on the statistical ladder narrowly trailing Aspley’s Jake Spencer with his average of 41.2 hit-outs of which 11.2 were to advantage.
Good luck to all players. The Dowling Medal will be staged at Victoria Point Sharks Sporting Club on Friday September 7.