THE Bendigo Advertiser's BFNL Team of the Year for season 2012.
Clayton Anderson – only small in size, but has as much courage as any player in the BFL. Has a chance to add another premiership medal tomorrow to the Derrick Filo Medal he won in May as Bendigo’s best player in the inter-league win over Gippsland.
Tim Hill – another consistent season for the tight-checking key defender, who had plenty of work to do, particularly early in the season when Eaglehawk won just three of its first 11 games. Selected in the VCFL training squad.
Sam McGee – a season out of the game last year did the veteran wonders as he came back in 2012 refreshed and was brilliant down back, with those long arms of his thwarting many opposition forward moves.
Tom Hartney – courageous and reliable defender who reads the play well across half-back and does all the little things well. Doing a fantastic job of carrying on the revered Hartney name at Sandhurst.
Travis Baird – arguably the best swingman in the BFL with his capacity to dominate in key positions at either end of the ground. This is typified by the fact he has been named centre half-back in this team, yet was picked on a half-forward flank in the All-Australian team following the Australian Country Football Championships in July.
Aiden Pratt – finished equal third in the Michelsen Medal with 16 votes, which included five best on grounds. Played a mix of midfield and half-back for the Bulldogs and revels in the tough stuff.
Adam Baird – joins his brother, Travis, in the Team of the Year. Particularly dangerous on the bigger grounds, like the QEO, with his pace, and has chipped in with 17 goals, which has him placed second on Golden Square’s goalkicking list, but a distant 143 behind Grant Weeks.
Simon Rosa – another Team of the Year selection for the Golden Square midfield dynamo. Had some injury niggles during the season, which prevented him from representing the VCFL at the Australian Country Football Championships, but really got going in the second half when he lived up to his tag as the Chris Judd of the BFL. Captain of the team.
Jake Hall – a solid second season at the Storm for the wingman, who finished equal third in the Michelsen Medal. Carried his good form into the finals, in which he was in the Storm’s best in each of their three September matches.
Casey Summerfield – first year as skipper of Gisborne and has had another strong season through the midfield. Typifies the simple, but effective, Gisborne ethos of playing hard, tough, contested footy. Could be a premiership captain by 5pm tomorrow.
Tyrone Downie – led Kangaroo Flat superbly in his first season as coach. Was held goalless in round one, but kicked at least one goal in the 17 remaining matches and finished with 63. After the injury woes he has battled in recent years, was great to see him complete a full season.
Sam Mildren – only played 12 games due to a back injury and broken arm, but so good was he when out on the field, has to be selected in the team. Had 49 goals at the halfway mark of the season – which included three-straight bags of eight between rounds two and four – before being struck down by injuries.
Darren Farrugia – one of the most consistent forwards in the BFL for the best part of a decade has been at his best this year. Kicked 63 goals in the home and away season, including six hauls of five or more. Was held goalless just once during the year, against Strathfieldsaye in round three.
Grant Weeks – yet another awesome season from arguably the best player in country Victoria. Kicked 148 goals in the home and away season – the second most in BFL history, and the second most in Australia this year. Twelve times he kicked more than seven goals in a game, including seven double-figure hauls, with his best being 21 against Kyneton in round 15. Second in the Michelsen Medal and an All-Australian following the Australian Country Football Championships.
Ricky Symes – Finished second in the BFL goalkicking behind Weeks with 66 in his first season at Sandhurst. Strong-bodied with a great set of hands and one of the most reliable set-shots in the competition. Seven times he kicked at least five goals.
Tom Waters – the premier ruckman in the competition for the second year in a row since joining Gisborne from Lancefield. Strong in the centre square and has a massive engine.Represented the VCFL at the Australian Country Football Championships and was equal third in the Michelsen Medal.
Blair Holmes – the big-bodied midfielder had a consistent season, but hit his straps in the second half of the year. One of the best grunt onballers in the competition who certainly makes his presence felt out on the field.
Scott Walsh – what a season it has been for the tenacious Bulldogs’ onballer, who polled 23 votes to win the Michelsen Medal. Has a tremendous work-ethic and is ferocious in his attack on the ball, but can also break open games with his ability to run and carry the ball. Was a good player last year, but in the elite of the competition now.
Daniel Anderson – hard-at-it onballer who finished equal fourth in the Michelsen Medal with 15 votes. Always a tireless worker for South Bendigo, who is good in tight at the stoppages and thrives on winning the contested ball.
Joel Malone – returned to Maryborough this season as co-coach and was a picture of consistency throughout. The solid onballer has already won the Magpies’ best and fairest for a season in which he was named their best player seven times.
Anthony Belcher – the high-leaping veteran came back out of retirement last year and has been sensational playing as a tall defender. What a comeback it would be tomorrow if Belcher can cap his return with another premiership medal with Gisborne.
Brady Childs – Bloods skipper who leads his team superbly with his willingness to put his body on the line and win the hard ball, which was also epitomised in Bendigo’s inter-league win over Gippsland.