Hayward count to be tight

Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Who will claim footy’s big awards on Friday night?
Camera IconWho will claim footy’s big awards on Friday night?

Bunbury ball magnet Jesse Gribble is a warm favourite to win the 2019 Hayward Medal in Bunbury tonight (Friday), with football analysts predicting the medal count to be one of the closest in SWFL history.

Gribble, a distinguished footballer on and off the field, has enjoyed a stellar season for the Bulldogs as they aim for another tilt at bringing home the premiership cup.

However the modest midfielder will have plenty of challengers, including Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault’s Jesse Crichton and Eaton Boomers livewire forward Jarrod Humphries, who are both undisputed match winners in their own right.

Crichton’s dominance during the Lions’ undefeated season has been telling, however one wonders if teammates Jack Fletcher, Kristin Thornton, Sean Bradley and Ben Musitano may pinch votes off him throughout the year.

Another player to keep an eye on in the count is Carey Park’s Rory O’Brien, who was regularly best for his side during key victories.

O’Brien, who won the Sandover Medal in 2013 at WAFL level, typically polls well in all competitions, but whether this has resonated with the SWFL umpiring fraternity remains to be seen.

At Augusta-Margaret River, reigning Hayward medallist Mitch Lynn and Matthew Jukes should finish towards the top end of the count, however Lynn was well held in a number of games towards the end of the home and away season.

Donnybrook ace Jace Cormack should not be discounted from making a late charge, given his role in his team springboarding into the finals, while Busselton’s Mitchell Tenardi could be an outside chance of finishing inside the top 10.

South Bunbury’s Ebony Bilcich could add a new chapter to her family’s impressive football legacy if she is crowned winner of the Marino Medal tomorrow night.

But, has the dynamic Tigers leader played enough games to poll heavily and see off her challengers?

Due to her SBL basketball commitments with the South West Slammers, Bilcich played only eight times during the 13-game regular season. Other favourites include Bulls enforcer Fleur Parker and Bulldogs midfielder Ruby Mahony.

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