By Tricia Mifsud
WALLAN Football Netball Club’s impressive season this year has been backed up at the Riddell District Football Netball League awards, with the highlight midfielder Ricky Schraven winning the Bowen Medal.
Schraven finished the senior football best and fairest count to win the Bowen Medal on 11 votes, just one clear of Romsey’s Aaron Paterson and Nathan Hoy who finished equal second with 10 votes.
Schraven’s coach Daniel Nolan, who was named RDFNL’s coach of the year at the awards night, said Schraven always had the potential to be one of the best midfielders in the competition and the award recognised his hard work over the past 12 to 16 months.
“Ricky and I had a pretty honest conversation about 12 to 16 months ago about where he was at with his ambitions and what he wanted to achieve,” Nolan said.
“He openly said that he wanted to get better, and he trained extremely hard over the preseason and put in the effort and the results were clear.
“Ricky did step up over the last 12 months as a vice captains so he really did put more time and effort on and off the field for his preparation.
“I was really excited he was awarded the Bowen Medal because he truly deserved it.”
Nolan commended Schraven for his ability to step up when his side needed it most this year.
“I think he stood up against the good teams and that’s what great players and leaders do, is that they step up when it counts,” he said.
“I can always trust him and lead the way but he is in the presence of some other great midfielders and they feed off each other.”
In response to his own award, Nolan said he was humbled to be recognised as coach of the year among many other worthy coaches in the RDFNL.
“It’s been one of the great joys of coaching and getting to know the other coaches on the personal level,” he said.
“After a game, we’ll have a quick drink together and analyse the game together. I also know how much they put into planning and preparation for their own games.”
Nolan thanked Wallan’s committee for its hard work once again this year, and acknowledged his award was a testament to the work they did, as well as the assistant coaches of the senior side.
“Thank you to the committee, Steve Sheppard, Neal Langbourne, Helen Mahoney and Jenni Wood. It was pleasing that on the league presentation night we were able to achieve so much as a club, across both football and netball and all the divisions and it’s a credit to the work they put in,” he said.
“As for the coaches award, I’m nothing without my assistants Spence Mathieson, Matty Huy, Damian Bonner and runner Stevie Bell – the award is just as much theirs as mine.”
Wallan had eight footballers named in the team of the year including Schraven, Brenton Cox, Michael Mannix, Jesse Davies, Shaun Stewart, Corey Grindlay, Steven Boyall, Matthew Perri and Corey Viani. Romsey’s Matthew Burkett, Jack Jedwab and Nathan Hoy and Lancefield’s Thomas Waters were also named in the side.
Meanwhile, Wallan’s Chloe Gray, Tahnysha Salanoa, and Gemma Grimmond were named in the netball team of the year.
Wallan’s Liam Birch and Damien Korp finished first and equal second respectively in the reserves count, and Brian Lawrence, Brodie Gilchrist and Callum Birch tied in second in the under 19.5 count.
Wallan’s Eve Gregor and Shannon McLean finished second and third respectively in the netball B grade count, and Angelique Ross finished second in the 19 and under count.