Season 2018 was one of the most even and exciting in recent years, an no doubt the 2018 Ellis Medal count will be just as closely fought. Let's take a look at the leading contenders for the SFNL highest individual honour.
Matt Kreymborg (St Pauls)
The reining Ellis Medallist had another tremendous season in 2018, booting 39 majors from 17 games to finish fifth on the league table. A genuine match-winner, Kreymborg’s dominance in the front half of the ground was a large part of his side’s success this season. Be it in the air or at ground level, the dynamic Dog was near unstoppable on his day, and his ability to win the hard ball, take strong grabs and produce stunning goals both thrilled crowds and sparked teammates. However, a big drawback for Kreymborg is the all-round evenness of this St Pauls side, which could see a few votes lost to some of his teammates. Curtis Murfett and Steve Muller in particular both had their days out during the year, which could see the pair secure a couple of BOGs. That said, Kremborg is a proven vote-winner and a second straight Ellis Medal is a very real possibility.
Chris Carey (East Malvern)
Without doubt the most dominant player in the competition in 2018. Carey, a towering ruckman with elite skills and athleticism, stamped his authority on every game he played and was a key factor in East Malvern’s rise to their maiden Division 1 Grand Final. And his contribution was multi-faceted, in a manner not too dissimilar to Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy. Not did only his prowess in the air gave the dangerous Panthers midfield silver service, but his work around the ground was simply brilliant. Essentially, Carey became an extra midfielder at the contest and his tank allowed his to go all day. He also solidified his standing as a big game player by being named BOG for bother the SFNL Interleague and Vic Metro teams. A genuine superstar that is more than deserving of this year’s Ellis Medal, but will the four games he missed due to Vic Metro and VFL commitments hurt his chances?
Ryan Mullett (East Malvern)
Few players have dominated local footy over the years quite like the highly-decorated Mullett. A three-time Chandler Medallist in the Eastern Football League, the classy Panthers veteran is a huge chance to add the SFNL’s top prize to his extraordinary football CV. Mullett’s silk and consistency this season was a vital asset to East Malvern this season, and of his 16 home and away matches this year, very few of them were off days. The sheer amount of footy he won at Carey’s feet, in addition to his propensity to push forward and impact the scoreboard, means he would certainly have been at the forefront of the umpire’s mind when it came time to do the votes. Even in matches that East Malvern lost, its possible Mullett could sneak in for minor votes, which will certainly help his cause. The Panthers may have several top-line midfield options, but when the game is there to be won, Mullett is head and shoulders above the rest.