Race for prized medal an open one

Solid season: Moe's Kristian Jaksch (right) already has the Gippsland League goal kicking sown up and is expected to poll well in the Trood Award and Rodda Medal. photograph tom gannon

Liam Durkin

WITH the regular season over in the Gippsland League, the awarding of best and fairest medals might become a point of interest for those involved.
Although only 10 home-and-away games will count toward the voting, the Gippsland League has committed to acknowledging players efforts this season.
Sale’s Shannen Lange looks to be a good show of winning the award, and has featured in the Magpies best players seven times this season.
Lange has also topped the votes in the most valuable player award, which is decided upon by the coaches of the match in a 3,2,1 format.
The midfielder secured 11 MVP votes this season, ahead of Traralgon’s Matt Northe and Drouin’s Ed Morris.
Northe has had a terrific season for the Maroons, regularly collecting 30 or more touches a game and showing his ability to impact the scoreboard with 16 goals from his 10 games.
On six occasions this year Northe has been in the top three best players listed for Traralgon, and he has also demonstrated his leadership skills standing in for injured skipper Dylan Loprese from Round 7 onwards.
Kristian Jaksch appears to be Moe’s best chance of claiming the medal, and should attract votes in the games he kicked bags of eight against Leongatha and six against Bairnsdale.
Given he kicked eight of his side’s 13 goals in a losing effort against Leongatha in Round 9, there will be genuine head shakes if he isn’t given the three votes for that performance.
Jaksch, who slotted 36 goals in 10 games this season, has the JC Lawless Award wrapped up for the league’s leading goal kicker – the first Moe player to win the award since Matt Forys in 2002.
Others expected to poll well are Wonthaggi
brothers Jarryd and Jack Blair and fellow midfielder Aiden Lindsay, as well as Leongatha pair Aaron Heppell and Tom Marriott, for whom the award has become affectionately known as ‘Marriott’s Medal’.
Parrots ruckman Ben Willis remains a smokey as for whatever reason, he always seems to place highly in the league vote count stakes.
The reserves vote count will also carry some interest, with onlookers surely keeping an eye on the type of player who ends up winning.
While it is said the Brownlow Medal has become a midfielder’s award, one could argue the Gippsland League reserves best and fairest has become a ruckman’s award. Recent winners have been James Heslop (Moe, 2018), Chris Rump (Leongatha, 2017), Macklin Raine (Maffra, 2015) and Will Joplin (Wonthaggi, 2013) – all ruckman.
The Gippsland League senior best and fairest receives the Trood Award and Rodda Medal, named after former Sale player Victor Trood and Morwell’s Fred Rodda.
Trood, who played 41 games for University in the VFL, donated the award in 1928 and continued to do so for many years.
He went on to become the inaugural president of the Latrobe Valley Football League (Gippsland League) in 1954, and was inducted as a life member of the league in 1959.
Rodda tragically died from internal injuries in 1935, leading the then Central Gippsland Football League to rename its best and fairest award the Rodda Medal the following season.
After the CGFL disbanded and the remaining clubs joined the LVFL, the names Trood and Rodda were enshrined onto the one award.
Traralgon: Noel Alford (1956), Terry Hunter (1966), George Brayshaw (1967), Peter Hall (1977), Peter Hall (1984), Jim Silvestro (1986, 1987), John McDonald (1990), Greg Morley (1992, 1998, 2003), Neil Robertson (1997), Michael Geary (2009).
Morwell: Steve Szabo (1960, 1965), Henri Kornacki (1972), David Vogel (1978, 1982), Rod Kerr (1985), Adam Bailey (2014).
Moe: Lester Ross (1958), Alan Steel (1963), Barry Rowlings (1973, 1974), Lachlan Sim (1988), Jason Shields (2000), James Blaser (2017).
Yallourn Yallourn North: Ric Belford (1962 with Yallourn), Mike Collins (1964 with Yallourn), Ray Mildenhall (1981, 1983).
Trafalgar: Les Hawkin (1968).