In 2009, Daniel Girdham won the Radio Rentals Footballer of the Year and went in as favourite for the Mail Medal but was pipped at the post by his team-mate “Harry” Wait.
Some three years on Girdham has had another outstanding season having won the 2012 Radio Rentals Footballer of the Year and again goes in as one of the top fancies.
The only known certainty is that his mate “Harry” Wait won’t stitch him up this year as “Harry” has saved his best playing for South Australia.
The Radio Rentals Footballer of the Year is always a good form guide and there is good form coming out of the Mypolonga camp.
The Tigers have had a big year with Joel Albrechtsen and Daniel Bartlett having big seasons but the dark horse is 2010 winner Adam Eckermann who had a slow start but has come home with a rush, but I reckon he will be giving the leaders a fair start.
Apart from Girdham, Imperials will have a sprinkling of players sharing centre stage as they dominated the first half of the season and expect Phil Smith, Adam Davey, Luke Harrowfield and “Harry” Wait to be all amongst the votes.
Rambler’s best chance appears to Matthew Thompson.
Thompson was runner-up last year and is a vote catcher and an absolute certainty to pick up the best under 21 player in the competition.
His team-mates Matthew Altmann, Liam O’Neil and Joel Kay have all had their moments and will pick up votes, but not enough of them.
Mannum’s Chris Hall got his season away to a flyer and will pick up a lot of votes in the first half of the season where he was a standout.
Andrew Pech and Michael O’Malley will get their share but don’t expect to see them near the top of the table.
Meningie’s Matthew Brunoli has finished the season strongly and he is a former winner of the division one amateur medal so he has pedigree, but he will strike opposition from team-mates Stuart Ferenci, Rodney Cunneen and Dale King who have all had consistent seasons.
Tailem Bend’s Jake Bowen is the premier big man in the competition and he should pick up the Eagles best and fairest but Tailem Bend haven’t won enough games for Bowen to get the big score.
It’s difficult to see anyone from Jervois getting the nod but Chris Ladhams has played some big games but I’m not sure if the umpires love him enough to give him votes.
I expect a low count, therefore several players come into contention, but expect the winner to come from Matthew Thompson, Chris Hall or Daniel Girdham.
I don’t reckon Girdham will get the big votes required to get him over the line, with dark-horse Adam Eckermann and the smoky, the big man from Tailem Bend, Jake Bowen.
Don’t be surprised if there is more than one winner.
Reserves - Lokan Medal
Three years ago I wrote an acceptance speech for “Wombat” Matthews as he went in red hot favourite for the Lokan.
For three years the “Wombat” has had it in his back pocket but I am suggesting he get it out change the date and start rehearsing.
The Lokan Medal can be a bit of a lottery at times but it’s been won by some experienced players in recent times.
Players who have dropped back from outstanding senior careers such as Evan Smith and Damien Garrett have helped guide younger players into senior football.
I would expect Imperials to dominate the count with Matthews, Dale Leech, Craig Pearson, “Flex” Caire and Brett Williams to pull a lot of votes.
Sean Ridley and Paul McNicol from Meningie always poll well and Todd Elliott from Jervois is expected to be around the mark.
But it is the year of the “Wombat” - Daniel Mathews to get the money from Paul McNicol and Todd Elliott not far behind.