East Malvern ruckman Chris Carey has capped off one of the greatest individual seasons in recent history by clinching the 2019 Ellis Medal in an absolute canter on Friday night.
Carey finished with a stunning 39 votes out of a possible 54, including polling in 15 matches with nine best on grounds, to finish 15 votes clear of Dingley winger and 2014 winner Lucas Walmsley on 24.
Two-time reigning Ellis Medallist Matt Kreymborg and ineligible Colt Chris Deluca rounded out the podium with 20 votes each.
The Panthers superstar was runner up to Kreymborg in last year’s count, polling 25 votes despite missing a handful of games through VFL commitments with Port Melbourne. He committed to East Malvern as a full-time playing assistant coach in 2019.
Last month Carey was named captain of the GameFace SFNL Division 1 Team of the Year and added a second consecutive Interleague Best on Ground medallion to his growing collection of personal accolades.
Meanwhile, young Springvale Districts spearhead Matt Wetering was a surprise winner of the Bennett Medal in his just first season of senior footy.
Having crossed to the Districts from Parkdale Under 19s, the 20-year-old key forward took the Division 2 competition by storm, topping the league goalkicking with 67 majors and playing a major role in the Demons’ rise to the Division 2 Grand Final.
His dominance up forward earned him 28 votes from the umpires, while 2018 winner and Doveton premiership star Nick Battle finished second on 23.
Wetering’s Springvale teammate Sam Raru came third, a further five votes behind.
In Division 3, Ashwood’s Patrick Carroll polled 22 votes to secure his second consecutive Flack Medal, despite his side only winning six matches for the season.
The dynamic ball-winner receive maximum votes in six matches, including in two losses, further highlighting his dominance.
Ineligible Clayton jet Chris Morrison polled 19 votes to clinch second place in the vote count, while Hampton Park premiership co-captain Shannon Henwood and Endeavour Hills young gun Nick Gay tied for third.
There was a three-way tie for the Division 4 medal, with South Yarra ruckman Julian Belfrage, Lyndhurst midfielder Charlie Gardiner and Moorabbin skipper Shaun Jackson sharing the honours in a thrilling vote count.
Gardiner headed into Round 16 with 10 votes to his name, however, he was judged best afield in the final three matches to come home with a wet sail and join Belfrage and Jackson atop the leaderboard with 19 votes.
In the women’s footy, Oakleigh District skipper Jordan Mifsud became the first player to win back to back Division 1 Best & Fairest medals, polling 22 votes to edge out Bentleigh’s Lily Fitzpatrick.
It was another dominant season from Mifsud, who this year became the SFNL’s inaugural Women’s Interleague captain among other individual accolades.
Meanwhile, Hallam talisman Natalie Horua took out the Division 2 Best & Fairest by four votes from Doveton Eagles ace Harmony Thomas.
Mordialloc defender Caity DeGaris has continued a remarkable streak in the netball, became the third player in succession to win back to back Division 1 Best & Fairests.
DeGaris polled 18 votes to pip Heatherton mid-courter Beth Wilson for the flagship netball prize by just one vote. Both players were awarded maximum votes in the final round.
Dingley’s Alicia Wise and Heatherton’s Rahni Samason both won Division 1 medals in consecutive years between 2015-17, including sharing the award in 2016.
St Kilda City’s Kate Patterson, Mururmbeena’s Oliva May and Mordialloc’s Tiahn Willis took the honours in Division 2, Division 3 and Division 4 respectively.
2019 SFNL AWARD WINNERS
Best & Fairest Ellis Medal (Division 1 Senior B&F): Chris Carey (East Malvern) Bennett Medal (Division 2 Senior B&F): Matt Wetering (Springvale Districts) Flack Medal (Division 3 Senior B&F): Patrick Carroll (Ashwood) Division 4 Senior Best & Fairest: Julian Belfrage (South Yarra), Charlie Gardiner (Lyndhurst) & Shaun Jackson (Moorabbin) Women’s Division 1 Football Best & Fairest: Jordan Mifsud (Oakleigh District) Women’s Division 2 Football Best & Fairest: Natalie Horua (Hallam) Sparrow Medal (Under 19 B&F): Blake Cochrane (East Brighton) Division 1 Reserve Best & Fairest: Benjamin Smith (Port Melbourne Colts) Division 2 Reserve Best & Fairest: Joseph Bekierz (Keysborough) Division 3 Reserve Best & Fairest: Ahsanollah Ebrahimi (Endeavour Hills) Division 4 Reserve Best & Fairest: Josh Kerrigan (Frankston Dolphins) Thirds Best & Fairest: Jason Griffiths (Keysborough)