Open race for 2017 BFNL Michelsen Medal

COULD it be a goalkicking midfielder who played a leading role in Eaglehawk finishing on top of the ladder?

Could a Strathfieldsaye star pull off a win for not just himself, but on behalf of all forwards in the competition?

Could Kyneton have its first winner for more than 30 years?

Could a Kangaroo Flat ball-magnet replicate Castlemaine’s Wayne Schultz of six years ago and win it from a lowly team?

Could a tenacious Golden Square on-baller become the first Bulldog this millenium to win it?

Sandhurst's 2016 winner Kristan Height.

Sandhurst's 2016 winner Kristan Height.

They are some of the scenarios that lay ahead on Sunday night when the Bendigo Football-Netball League holds its Michelsen Medal count.

In what has been a season where many of the league’s stars have spent time on the sidelines injured, it appears the race to win the Michelsen Medal is wide open.

A logical starting point when looking at top contenders is who has been prominent for the best team in the competition.

The best team has been Eaglehawk and on-baller Ben McPhee, with the added string to his bow of kicking 33 goals in the home and away season, its standout.

Eaglehawk's 2015 winner Brodie Filo.

Eaglehawk's 2015 winner Brodie Filo.

If McPhee was to get up he would become the latest addition to what has been a successful Michelsen run by the Hawks this millenium.

Eaglehawk players – including current coach Josh Bowe in 2010 – have won six Michelsen medals since 2000.

Strathfieldsaye is yet to have a winner of the Michelsen since joining the league in 2009, but the Storm look to have several leading candidates.

Sandhurst's 2014 and 2013 winner Tim Martin.

Sandhurst's 2014 and 2013 winner Tim Martin.

Last year’s runner-up Kallen Geary is a proven vote-getter, Trent Donnan, in the first half of the season in particular, has impressed, while could Lachlan Sharp defy the odds and win it as a forward?

If Golden Square’s Grant Weeks couldn’t win it in 2012 when he kicked 148 goals you’ve got to wonder whether a forward ever will again.

Sharp ended the home and away season with 124 goals, which included five bags of 10 and four more of at least seven. Surely Sharp has to be in the mix.

Kyneton is long overdue for a Michelsen Medal as the Tigers have the longest drought of current clubs since their last winner – Shane Muir in 1985.

Gisborne's 2012 winner Scott Walsh.

Gisborne's 2012 winner Scott Walsh.

Perhaps midfielder Rhys Magin could be the player to end the Tigers’ drought.

Kangaroo Flat’s Jonathan Lanyon falls into the category of can the superstar player in a struggling side attract enough votes to win?

Castlemaine’s Wayne Schultz did so in 2011 in a team that won just two games.

The Roos fared two better than Schultz, winning four games, with Lanyon adjudged their best player 12 times. If the umpires also valued his performance he could be one to watch.

Castlemaine's 2011 winner Wayne Schultz.

Castlemaine's 2011 winner Wayne Schultz.

Castlemaine’s Kalan Huntly and Maryborough’s Ethan Crackel are in similar positions of being ultra-consistent, but in teams that battled, whereby votes will be harder to come by.

Golden Square is a club that has enjoyed plenty of team success, but the Michelsen Medal has eluded the Bulldogs since Paul Frew won it in 1998.

Tom Toma finished third last year and has backed it up with another consistent season that should again come under the attention of the umpires, while team-mate Travis Baird – albeit as a key forward – could also poll well before his season ended in round 15.

Elsewhere, other potential leading vote-getters for their sides could include the Sandhurst duo of captain Blair Holmes and Andrew Collins, who did spend a period sidelined with a hamstring injury, Gisborne captain Jarrad Lynch and South Bendigo’s Mitch Rogerson.

Eaglehawk's 2010 winner Josh Bowe

Eaglehawk's 2010 winner Josh Bowe

• Addy selections

Luke West – Ben McPhee (Eaglehawk).

Adam Bourke – Rhys Magin (Kyneton).

Kieran Iles – Kallen Geary (Strathfieldsaye).

Richard Jones – Ben McPhee (Eaglehawk).

Michelsen medallists:

CASTLEMAINE – 7

Kevin Delmenico (1965), Derek Cowen (1966, 1967), Derrick Filo (1991), Luke Adams (1999), Paul Eyles (2001), Wayne Schultz (2011).

EAGLEHAWK – 9

Greg Kennedy (1971), Alan Williams (1974), Des English (1978), Reece Langan (2000), Lucas Matthews (2001), Kain Robins (2006), Shannon Milward (2008), Josh Bowe (2010), Brodie Filo (2015).

ECHUCA – 3

Sandhurst's 2009 winner Lee Coghlan.

Sandhurst's 2009 winner Lee Coghlan.

Eddie Jackson (1954), Bob Vagg (1963), Bill Serong (1965).

GISBORNE – 5

Matt Fitzgerald (2003, 2007), Simon Elsum (2004), Luke Saunders (2005), Scott Walsh (2012).

GOLDEN SQUARE – 8

Tony Southcombe (1972, 1975), Eric Pascoe (1979), Greg Williams (1982, 1983), Colin Dowsett (1986), Derek Percival (1994), Paul Frew (1998).

KANGAROO FLAT – 3

Damien Saunders (1990), Ron Wicks (1993), Chris Giri (1997).

KENNINGTON – 1

Rod Southon (1988).

KYNETON – 7

Cliff Deacon (1958), Clive Philp (1959), Kevin Parks (1960), Ian Burt (1964), Graham Clark (1977), John Watts (1980), Shane Muir (1985).

MARYBOROUGH – 2

Jamie Bond (1996), Matt Aston (2002).

NORTHERN UNITED – 1

Eaglehawk's 2008 winner Shannon Milward.

Eaglehawk's 2008 winner Shannon Milward.

Gary Mountjoy (1984).

ROCHESTER – 5

Frank Fitzpatrick (1956, 1957), Frank Maxwell (1961), Ray Willet (1962), Kevin Shinners (1970).

SANDHURST – 15

Kevin Curran (1952), Noel Evans (1953), Jim Byrne (1955), Brian Walsh (1969), Bruce Reid (1976), Peter Tyack (1979), Michael Lenaghan (1981), Brendan Hartney (1987, 1989), Simon McLean (1992), Frank Coghlan (1995), Lee Coghlan (2009), Tim Martin (2013, 2014), Kristan Height (2016).

SOUTH BENDIGO – 4

Colin Rice (1968), Bernie McCarthy (1973), Marty Graham (1984), Robin Keck (1997).

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