GOLDEN Square centre half-forward Ben Doherty has been rated the number one player in the All Seasons Bendigo Football League.
Doherty was the clear winner of an exclusive Advertiser poll, which asked the BFL's nine senior coaches to name their standout opposition player for the 2003 season.
Remarkably, in what is often viewed as a highly contentious exercise, Doherty was nominated by no fewer than five opposition coaches.
Peter Foster (Kyneton), Phil Carman (Kangaroo Flat), Neville Massina (Maryborough), Derrick Filo (Eaglehawk) and Peter Tyack (South Bendigo) all rated the athletic 22-year-old as the best of the best.
The only other player who was mentioned by more than one coach was Kyneton on-baller Michael O'Brien, who record two votes.
Few players have made a bigger impact on Bendigo football than Doherty, and none in a shorter space of time.
In only 11 senior appears, the former Brisbane Lions rookie has kicked 46 goals and is a firm favourite to take out the Michelsen medal for the league's fairest and best player.
``Pound for pound I think he (Doherty) is the best going around at the moment,'' Foster said.
``He's a guy who stands 6'3'', can run better than most of the midfielders in the league and also takes a good grab.''Despite his impressive form, Doherty has only managed to record two appearances for the Bendigo Bank Bombers this season, he's club of first choice.
Behind Doherty and O'Brien, other names mentioned included established stars Ben Sexton and Jamie Bond, Sandhurst on-baller Leigh Gathercole, Gisborne premiership player Matt Fitzgerald and South Bendigo full forward David McCormick.