Report: JEFF STEPHENSON

STAR defender Adrian Williams has joined an elite group of Redland players to win back-to-back Dowling Medals when he grabbed the 49th edition of the coveted award with a thrilling last-vote victory at the Bombers’ awards night.

After careering away to a big win last season, Willo trailed Matt Hammelmann by six votes coming into the final game against Southport.

He polled eight votes from the coaching panel to clinch the medal by two votes from Matt – his fellow NEAFL Team of the Year member.

Willo wasn’t quite as confident this year as last, but still considered he would have a big say in the outcome.

“I’d gotten a lot of confidence from last year,” he said.

“To win the medal once is great, but to do it back-to-back means plenty to me.”

He joins four other players to go back-to-back – the last of whom is the celebrated Phil Carse in 2009-10.

Willo is not the type to be unduly affected by nerves, but says he suffered from a bout of them before the Southport clash.

It had nothing to do with the outcome of the match.

His father, Peter, made one of his rare trips across to the mainland from Tasmania to see his son perform and Adrian admitted the occasion “got to me”.

He needn’t have worried about his performance, though.

He pulled out another big game against the hot-shot Sharks at centre half-back to earn himself a second Dowling Medal.

Willo said he was “pretty happy” to have played so well given it sealed his victory in the medal, but also considering his dad was there to see him play well.

While winning two Dowling Medals ranks up there in his career highlights, there’s another huge event in his life fast approaching.

His wife Vicki is due to give birth to the couple’s first child on Boxing Day.

It’s fair to say he’s had some memorable moments on the field, but the one fast approaching will supersede anything the 28-year-old has experienced in footballing terms, that’s for sure.

Once he and Vicki’s little girl is born it will then be back to footy as he prepares himself to notch up his 100th game for the club in season 2019.

Matt’s effort in finishing just four votes behind is indicative of his outstanding talent.

He won the club’s goalkicking award with 60 goals – also winning the same award as the competition’s leading goalkicker.

Jackson Paine – the third of our NEAFL Team of the Year selections – finished third in the voting with 51 votes.

Next in line was Mr Consistent, Jack Rolls, with 46 votes and then followed Scotty Miller on 28.

The top 5 votegetters:

54 – Adrian Williams

52 – Matt Hammelmann

51 – Jackson Paine

46 – Jack Rolls

28 – Scott Miller.

Other awards: Club Person of the Year – Brian Osland; Rising Star (Oxley/Thomas Award) – Luke O’Sullivan; Best Clubman – Aaron Christensen; Runner-up (Peter Gregory award) – Matt Hammelmann; Leading Goalkicker – Matt Hammelmann; Most Professional – Jai Lyons; Player’s Player – Adrian Williams; Bombers’ Brotherhood Award – Jackson Paine; Most Consistent – Jack Rolls; Coaches Award – Mitch Stallard; 150 games – Tom Salter, Adam Boon; 50 games – Aaron Christensen.

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