It’s a case of third time lucky for Patch Jannings and the Hepburn Medal with the Gibson captain taking out the Esperance Football Association’s top award for 2019.
It was one of the most enthralling finishes to a medal count, with Jannings (25 votes all up) polling the maximum five votes required from the last game of the year against Ports to just eclipse Esperance ruckman Sam Franzone (24) and Kaden Neill (23). Although Patch was dominant around the midfield in that fixture and kicked fix impressive goals, there was some concern that Trav Stewart would pinch the top votes his eight goal.
What makes the feat even more remarkable Jannings missed almost half of the year (five and a half games) due to a knee injury he sustained in round two against Esperance. Similarly, Jeremy Curry (22) provided a pleasant surprise finishing fourth in the medal count despite missing the second half of the year with a hamstring injury.
Sean caught up with Patches after his big Hepburn Medal win for the Breaky Show
Versatile big man Reece Griffiths (20) rounded out the top five. This year was his most consistent year getting the nod from the umpires even if his goal kicking was sometimes wayward.
Franzone was rewarded for his consistent year as the Bulldogs ruckman with the most Hepburn votes from his club. He regularly dominates games. Kaden Neill capped off a stellar year and has probably established himself as the best defender (both lock down and intercept) in the competition. Brendon White (14) polled surprisingly well despite his length injury hiatus in the middle of the year. Braydon Wood (10) is in the top few midfielders in the comp but couldn’t convince the officials to award him more votes.
Jacob Buckley (15) has been an endurance and contested ball bull throughout the year in winning and losing games for Ports. He has asserted himself as one of the competitions best. The next best vote getter for the Blues was Isaac Puna (6).
The best for Newtown-Condinup was Courtney Burnett (10) aka Dozer and Jordan Cummins (10). Lion’s supporters would be excused for feeling despondent about their player’s standings in the medal count with many expecting the umpires to reward their competitive year against the top sides with a couple more votes.
Gibson, the minor premiers, had six players finish about 10 votes. Those aforementioned and Stewart (18), McFarlane (16), McCallion (11) and Bridges (10). Aegon McCallion has won several games off his own boot for the Tigers, he also won the Freddy Curnow medal, voted on week-to-week by the club presidents.
The women’s league capped off an exciting debut season with their first best and fairest winner Sandy Cox from the Esperance Footy Club. She has been a standout throughout 2019.
Jevan Thostrup will need a bigger trophy cabinet, he took out the Colts Best and Fairest, the Great Southern Carnival best player and the Subiaco Rookie of the Year award.
Matt Horley was a class above the rest in the reserves, winning the best and fairest for that grade convincingly.
The night was a beauty and one that all Esperance footballers should pencil in the calendar for next year.