FIRST it was Rochester’s Ray Willett in 1962, then Eaglehawk’s Greg Kennedy in 1971 and now Strathfieldsaye’s Lachlan Sharp in 2017.
They are the only three players to capture the Bendigo Football-Netball League’s Michelsen Medal and league goalkicking award in the same season.
The fact the Michelsen Medal has been awarded since 1952 and Sharp is only the third player through that time to win it in the same season as he topped the league goalkicking helps put into perspective his achievement on Sunday night.
The Michelsen Medal hasn’t been kind to the star forwards of the competition throughout its 66-year history – the likes of Grant Weeks, Steven Oliver and Ron Best immediately spring to mind – but on Sunday night Sharp got his due reward for a stunning home and away season in which he booted 124 goals by winning with 18 votes.
However, Sharp’s win is far more meritorious than simply the fact he defied the notion that pure forwards are too easily overlooked when it goes to the distribution of Michelsen votes, or that he is the first Strathfieldsaye player to win the BFNL’s top individual honour since the Storm joined in 2009.
What makes Sharp’s accomplishment all the more noteworthy is that given his impact on the competition this year, it could be easy to forget 2017 is his comeback season from a knee reconstruction.
Early in the pre-season the Storm weren’t anticipating Sharp to be available until sometime in May at the earliest, yet he took to the field in round one, kicked four goals in a 13-point win over reigning premier Sandhurst and hasn’t looked back.
One of the people Sharp will be keen to share his good news with is his surgeon Julian Feller, whose advice earlier this year was to “trust the job I’ve done, trust yourself and get back out there and go flat out.”
Advice Sharp has certainly heeded.
- Luke West, sports reporter