MILDURA’S Jacob Chisari yesterday joined an elite group to have won the Neville Strauch Memorial Trophy as the Bendigo Bank Pioneers Football Club’s champion player for the 2012 season.
Chisari’s consistency in his 17 matches was a highlight in his debut season in the AFL Victoria TAC Cup under-18s competition.
After votes for the 17 games had been called at the Epsom-Huntly Recreation Reserve social rooms, Chisari was on 34 votes, with key defender, Sandhurst’s Isaiah Miller on 31 in the race for the Bendigo Advertiser-sponsored award.
Chisari and Miller qualify for next year’s TAC Cup action.
It was at centre breaks and stoppages where Chisari’s skill was often to the fore.
As he reflected on his first season, Chisari also spoke about 2013 and beyond.
His season stats included 345 disposals, 204 contested possessions an, 84 clearances and 104 tackles.
“A goal for next year is to improve my outside running game and spread from the contest,” Chisari said.
“Winning this award means a lot, but I have to keep working to be an even beter player next season.”
A first-year player in the TAC Cup, Chisari relocated from Mildura to Bendigo and started year 11 at Bendigo Senior Secondary College.
On the field the 17-year-old he showed he was a quick learner and hard worker for the David Newett-coached team.
Chisari said the support from his parents, Frank and Wendy, was incredible.
“Before the season started they said they would be at every game I played.”
It meant thousands of kilometres travelling from Mildura to matches in Bendigo and further south.
Another Chisari, 15-year-old Matthew is vying to be in next year’s Bendigo Pioneers under-16s squad.
In early November, Jacob Chisari will be back on the training track as he builds up for TAC Cup action and working toward being a Victoria Country representative at under-18s level.
The Pioneers other major award winners for this season were Cohuna’s Ben Archard, most improved; Echuca’s Oliver Wines, Pioneer Pillars; Leitchville-Gunbower’s Joel Donehue, best team player; Chisari, most consistent; Echuca’s Christian Burgess, most determined; and Strathfieldsaye Storm’s Ben Lester, coaches award.
Yesterday’s function included AFL Victoria high performance manager Leon Harris presenting Oliver Wines with the Victoria Country guernsey he wore in this year’s national under-18 championships.
A superb year for Wines, the Pioneers captain, included being selected in the All-Australian team at the end of the national titles, and TAC Cup Team of the Year selection.
In his comeback from a broken leg which sidelined him for all but the opening round of 2011, Jake Stringer was also named in the TAC Cup Team of the Year.
Pioneers life membership was presented to long-time trainer Geoff Hodge and Central-North Central FL-based development officer Rob Masters.
Involved with football for more than 45 years, Masters has played a key role the past 11 years with the Pioneers.
The former Tyntynder player is a key link in the network as Auskick co-ordinator and in player development.
Another commitment meant Hodge was not at yesterday’s awards presentation.
The John Turner Memorial best clubperson award was presented to Ken Gilbee.
Final tally for the Neville Strauch Memorial club champion award:
34 Jacob Chisari, 31 Isaiah Miller, 26 Oliver Wines, 21 Ben Lester, 20 Jake Stringer, 17 Christian Burgess, 16 Vinnie Flood, Sam Heavyside, 14 Comanche Walls, 13 Samuel Clyne, Harry O’Meara, 12 Jesse Collins, Jordan Mangan, 11 Liam Byrne, 10 Ben Archard, Zack May, 9 Joel Donehue, 9 Luke Marchesi, 8 Alex Hywood, 8 Billy McInnes, 7 Galen Munari, 7 Joel Swatton, 6 Tylah Greetham, 5 Kieren Bell, 5 Nick Mee, 5 Nathan Moffat, 4 Jake Maher, 4 Ben Pollock, 3 Nathaniel Kendell, 2 Devon Pohlner, 2 Codie Price, 1 Peter Cua, 1 Dylan Darby, 1 Daniel Jones, 1 Jake Miller, 1 Gene Palazzo.