2018 Bennett Medal Preview

By Will Hunter

Chris Bryan (Keysborough)

By far the most dominant key position player in Division 2, Bryan is a huge chance to take home the Bennett Medal. The former Collingwood and Carlton big man is a proven vote winner, having finished just one vote behind winner Jackson Smith in last year’s count. Bryan spent much more time up forward in 2018, where his height and sure hands made him a genuine match-winner. He topped the Division 2 goalkicking table with 73 majors, 21 more than the second-placed Luke James, and he won several games off his own boot. A 10-goal haul against the Vampires in Round 13 is likely to earn him maximum votes, and all up he slotted six or more goals on seven occasions. While Keysborough won only 12 games for the season, but his performances in those matches should ensure he polls enough votes to feature heavily.


Nick Battle (Doveton Eagles)

In an Eagles midfield featuring plenty of jets, none was more impressive in 2018 than Battle. A classy and quick onballer, Battle landed at the Eagles nest during the off-season from the neighbouring Doves with high expectations and delivered almost immediately. A three-goal masterclass on debut set the tone for a brilliant year, which included 26 goals from 18 games, and help catapult the Eagles into premiership favouritism. A flashy outside player that loves to take the game on, Battle's speed away from the contest and penetrating left foot is sure to be noticed. That the Eagles lost only two matches during the home and away season will be advantageous, so expect Battle to feature prominently come the pointy end of the count. However, with so many superstars throughout this Doveton side, he may have several teammates pinching votes off him.


Michael Callinan (Doveton Eagles)

Another of the damaging Doveton mids is Callinan, who has the potential to steal more than a few votes away from Battle. Callinan rose to prominence after taking home the Meneilly Medal in Doveton’s dramatic Division 3 premiership last season, but he took his game to a new level in 2018. A strong-bodied bull through the midfield, Callinan’s ability to win the footy and execute by hand or foot was exemplary. His strength meant he has rarely beaten one on one, and he was virtually impossible to pin down once in possession. A permanent presence at every contest, the tough-as-nails Callinan never shied away from a hard ball and was constantly in the umpires’ line of sight. Neither he nor Battle had too many quiet games, so the two should battle it out for the bulk of the votes, however, several other Eagles may also be in the mix.

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