GIVEN his side didn’t win enough games to make the finals, coupled with previous voting performances, Calivil United ruckman Chris Down certainly wasn’t fancying his Loddon Valley league Harding Medal chances on Monday night.
“I see the league best and fairest normally going to a player from a team that had a few more wins than we did,” Down said on Wednesday.
“And in my first two years in the competition I only polled two and four votes in seasons where I thought I was probably more consistent than this year.
“I didn’t even know the vote count was on Monday night. I played a game of basketball and when I got home it was up to round nine and I was four in front and I thought then that it could be a chance to happen.
“I’m very humbled to have won the medal.”
Despite not giving himself any chance, Down was a clear winner of the Harding Medal with 28 votes, finishing seven clear of his nearest rival, Mitiamo’s Terry Reeves.
He’s the second Calivil United player in a row to win it following Ben Knight’s success last year and only the second player since 2000 – along with Marong’s Corey Gregg (2012) – to claim the Harding Medal in a team that missed the finals after the Demons finished sixth.
Down has just completed his fourth season at the Demons where he has won three best and fairests – potentially a fourth is still to come – a premiership last year and now the Harding Medal.
And in what was one of his biggest thrills, he was the captain of the Loddon Valley inter-league team that defeated Golden Rivers in May.
“I was really proud to be selected captain of that team. I wasn’t picked in my first year and then with there being no team for the past two years, it meant a lot to me to be able to play representative football,” Down said.
However, after being the dominant ruckman of the Loddon Valley, the 24-year-old is now looking forward to making the step-up to the Bendigo league next season.
“I’ve let Calivil know that I’m definitely coming to play in town and the club has been very supportive of that,” Down said.
“I haven’t made any commitments to any clubs yet, but I’ve loved my time at Calivil.
“The club is so supportive and organised and I’ve really enjoyed my time playing in the Loddon Valley league.”
Throughout his four seasons with Calivil United Down played 70 of a possible 71 games, and so consistent has he been he was named among the Demons’ best players 51 times.
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