MARONG coach Corey Gregg yesterday capped his first season with the Panthers by winning the Frank Harding Medal as best and fairest in the Loddon Valley Football League’s senior competition.
Recruited to Marong from Eaglehawk, Gregg polled 24 votes to win the prestigious award.
Bridgewater’s co-coach Zac East was runner-up on 18 votes.
Bears Lagoon-Serpentine rover Nathan McNally polled 18 votes, but was ineligible because of suspension.
Among the many highlights at the Bendigo Bank-backed league’s awards presentation was the mother-daughter netball champion wins by Mitiamo’s Raelene Spence, C-reserve, and Laura Spence, A-grade.
The medal-winning run by Gregg included the maximum three votes in five games.
It’s the first league best and fairest he has won in a year where the Panthers achieved a much improved record of eight wins and eight losses.
“It was a really challenging season,” 23-year-old Gregg said of being playing coach.
“To coach a senior team was something I wanted to do for a while. I was rapt Marong gave me the opportunity.”
Gregg was 22 when he signed to be senior coach.
The talented rover’s career includes a premiership win with Eaglehawk seniors in 2008, runner-up with the Two Blues last September, and runner-up at Ouyen United in 2009-10.
Gregg first played in Bendigo in 2007 with Eaglehawk’s under-18s team.
Although the Panthers did not figure in September action, Gregg is confident the climb up the ladder will roll on next year.
“We need a couple more talls at both ends of the ground, but our midfield matched most teams this season,” Gregg said.
The Panthers’ on-field leader was often winning in the packs or the link from defence to attack.
Gregg said the work by assistant coach Lee Franklin and by Brendan Blandford from the sidelines om matchday made his task a lot easier.
The league medallist also thanked girlfriend, Farin for her support.
Away from the football field, Gregg is a builder with Murray Wearne Building.
The highs for Marong included 43-year-old Brendan Blandford being runner-up in the reserves best and fairest award.
Newbridge’s Dylan Gibson was a runaway winner of the John Forbes Medal as reserves champion and will be aiming to cap the year with a grand final win on Saturday.
Inglewood’s Joshua Essex won the Stephen Dowling Memorial award as under-17s best and fairest.
Runner-up was Newbridge’s Owen Frisweel.
The El-Vee award ended in a three-way tie between Newbridge’s Chris Endres, Inglewood’s Joel Stevenson, who earned the Rising Star award, and Corey Gregg on 20 votes.