Sharp’s history-making Medal win

Lachlan Sharp with the Michelsen Medal. Picture: NONI HYETT
Lachlan Sharp with the Michelsen Medal. Picture: NONI HYETT

Related – LIVE Michelsen Medal coverage

LACHLAN Sharp’s remarkable comeback season from a knee reconstruction continued on Sunday night when he won the Bendigo Football-Netball League Michelsen Medal.

The dynamic Strathfieldsaye forward polled 18 votes to become the first Storm player to win the BFNL’s highest individual honour.

Sharp finished four votes clear of Golden Square’s late bolter Jack Geary, who polled 14 votes, despite missing five games with a fracture below his right eye.

There was a five-way tie for equal third as Eaglehawk’s Ben McPhee, Golden Square’s Tom Toma, Kyneton’s Rhys Magin, Sandhurst’s Andrew Collins and South Bendigo’s Kieran Strachan all polled 12 votes.

In the A Grade netball, Sandhurst star Heather Oliver won her second Betty Thompson Medal after outlasting Gisborne’s Maddy Stewart in a thrilling count.

Oliver – who also won in 2015 – polled 33 votes, edging out Stewart (32) by one.

Sharp has made a stunning return to the field this year after he suffered a season-ending knee injury in round three last season, with his Michelsen Medal now going alongside the Ron Best Medal he has already won after topping the league goalkicking with 124.

Sharp joins only Eaglehawk’s Greg Kennedy in 1971 and Rochester’s Ray Willett in 1962 to complete the Michelsen-league goalkicking double in the same year.

He also has the chance to achieve the trifecta next Saturday by adding a premiership medal, with the Storm set to face Eaglehawk in the grand final.

In a competition that has become notorious for forwards being overlooked on Michelsen night, Sharp – a foundation player with the Storm in 2009 – polled votes in nine games. 

Half of his 18 votes came with a trifecta of best-on-grounds in rounds three, four and five when he kicked 31 goals against Eaglehawk (10), Gisborne (7) and Maryborough (14).

As well as two votes in round nine when he kicked five goals against Kyneton, Sharp – who faced the tribunal during the year on a careless striking charge, but was cleared – also polled a pair of twos and three ones between rounds 13 and 17 to take his tally to 18.

Strathfieldsaye was the club that polled the most votes with 86, followed by Eaglehawk (83).

The Hawks’ spread of 19 players to poll votes was the most in the competition.

……………………………………………………

LEADERBOARD

18 – Lachlan Sharp (Strathfieldsaye)

14 – Jack Geary (Golden Square)

12 – Ben McPhee (Eaglehawk)

12 – Tom Toma (Golden Square)

12 – Rhys Magin (Kyneton)

12 – Andrew Collins (Sandhurst)

12 – Kieran Strachan (South Bendigo)

11 – Travis Baird (Golden Square)

11 – Josh Govan (Kyneton)

11 – Ben Weightman (Kyneton)

……………………………………………………

• Club vote leaders:

Castlemaine – Kalan Huntly (10).

Eaglehawk – Ben McPhee (12).

Gisborne – Ryan Baker (8).

Golden Square – Jack Geary (14).

Kangaroo Flat – Jonathan Lanyon (10).

Kyneton – Rhys Magin (12).

Maryborough – Coby Perry (8).

Sandhurst – Andrew Collins (12).

South Bendigo – Kieran Strachan (12).

Strathfieldsaye – Lachlan Sharp (18).