Lee strikes to win Bendigo Gold best and fairest award 

A FIRST-YEAR player at Bendigo Gold, Brendan Lee was last night crowned the Nick Carter medallist at the Victorian Football League club.

Lee polled votes in 11 of the 13 matches he played for Gold.

Runner-up for the club champion award was co-captain Ben Duscher.

An exciting vote count ended with Lee on 190 and Duscher on 185.

Recruited by Essendon at No. 78 in last year’s rookie draft, the solidly-build onballer was promoted to the senior list and played two AFL games.

The 25-year-old headed to Windy Hill after starring for East Perth.

Injury meant Lee could not play for the Hayden Skipworth-coached Gold in the elimination final against Williamstown.

Bendigo Gold general manager Graham Pratt said Duscher’s performance after winning the Nick Carter Medal in 2011 was an incredible one.

“Because of injury, Ben only played 12 VFL games, but he polled votes in 11 of them,” Pratt said.

After missing seven games, which was a nine-week break,  Duscher polled in the top two in the last two games.

Votes for the Nick Carter Medal were cast by the three matchday coaches. Eight players could earn votes, maximum of 30 per game.  

Selected in the VFL Team of the Year for a third time, Matthew Little kicked 52 goals to win Gold’s goalkicking award. 

The most courageous award was presented to Henry Slattery.

A premiership-winning player with Hawthorn in 2008, Rick Ladson’s season involved being a development coach at Essendon and also playing for Gold.

The former Golden Square and Bendigo Pioneers wingman earned Gold’s team player award.

Most improved went to South Bendigo’s small forward Steven Stroobants.

The Graham Warfe Memorial Award for best first-year player went to Ben McPhee. From Rochester, McPhee was one of the young guns who kicked on with Gold after playing for the Bendigo Pioneers in last year’s TAC Cup.

Alan Stevens earned the Best Clubman award.

With Gold’s alignment with Essendon now over, the Aussie Jones-coached Gold will now focus on its build-up to being a stand-alone club in the VFL in 2013.

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