Williams wins his way into NGFNL folklore

The Williams name is synonymous with success at Churchill Football Netball Club and is now etched in North Gippsland Football Netball League folklore, following Chris Williams’ win at last night’s Cel Burley Medal count.

The 22-year-old Cougars captain polled 25 votes to win the senior best-and-fairest award ahead of Sale City midfield-forward Jacob Schuback (21) and Yarram midfielder Griffin Underwood (19).

Williams’ late father David “Crocka” Williams won two senior premierships with Churchill and his uncle, Greig, three, but neither achieved the league’s ultimate individual honour.

“There’s a few flags there prior to me (but) no league medals in the family,” Williams said.

“My old man might have come runner up one year in a low count but I’m the first.

“I thought Schuback and (Woodside’s Rob) Michaelides would take it out, those goal-kicking midfielders, so it’s a massive surprise.”

A promising junior, Williams bolted through the ranks at Churchill and made his senior debut as a 17-year-old in 2011.

Despite his tender years, the gutsy ball-winner and silky ball-user was quickly identified as a future leader and handed the captaincy of the Cougars’ senior side in 2013.

He led the club to premiership glory in 2014 and is already a three-time club senior best-and-fairest.

Williams proudly wears the number 13 jumper in honour of his father, who played 223 senior games and was awarded the best-on-ground medal in the 2002 grand final, before passing away suddenly in 2011, aged 35.

He said winning the medal was “bittersweet” given his side’s disappointing end to the season, but was proud of the achievement.

“As much as it is a good achievement it’s all about winning finals footy and we weren’t able to do that this year,” he said.

“I’m still stewing on that a little bit and pretty dirty on the fact we got knocked out in straight sets, so we’ll have a big pre-season with the boys and we’ll be back bigger and better next year.

“I’ve grown up around the club watching the footy from two years old until now so the club means everything to me. The people there and everything about it is my whole life pretty much so success at that club means a lot to me and my family.”

Woodside goaler Andrea Foat won the A grade netball best-and-fairest award, after polling a staggering 51 votes from a possible 90 to finish 15 clear of Rosedale’s Ella Bertacchini.

Heyfield’s Josh Neille claimed the Lloyd Schacht Medal as reserves best-and-fairest, while teammate Dylan Bolton won the leading goal-kicker award.

Jacob Davis from Yarram took out the George Bland Medal as thirds best-and-fairest, with Heyfield’s Jay Woodland collecting the leading goal-kicker award.

Heyfield’s Amanda Tyquin was the B grade best-and-fairest and Rosedale’s Caitlyn Passalaqua scooped the C grade award.

Kelly Smithson from Glengarry won the D grade award, Rosedale’s Emma Grunwald and Yarram’s Chloe Finn were the 17-and-under and 15-and-under winners.

Rosedale full forward Brandon McDonald was the senior leading goal-kicker, while Rookie of the Year awards went to Glengarry netballer Emily Whitty and Woodside footballer Cameron Whiteoak.

Chelsea Smith from Yarram was the Netball Umpire of the Year and Sale Umpires Association’s Chris Malone was named the Jim Hood and Family Football Umpire of the Year.