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Miscounts and milestones for Seymour Lions

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Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic is a senior journalist for the North Central Review primarily covering politics at all levels and sport with a particular interest in basketball. Since 2019 she has worked for several publications across Victoria including most recently at the Alexandra Standard and Yea Chronicle. She is always keen to hear from local community members about issues they face and has an interest in crime and court reporting.

A miscount of votes and the Seymour Lions’ first dual Morrison medallist were highlights from the Goulburn Valley League’s, GVL, 2023 presentation night last week.

Star Seymour footballer Jack O’Sullivan won the 2023 GVL Morrison Medal following another strong season while A Grade netball captain Sarah Szczykulski won the 2023 A Grade Wellman Family Medal.

However, due to the GVL’s error in tallying votes, Tatura’s Elsie Boyer was declared the winner and presented with the netball medal last Monday night.

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The league was forced to correct their error and make a statement on Wednesday to say that Szczykulski was, in fact, the winner.

Seymour defender Sarah Szczykulski won the 2023 A Grade Wellman Family Medal. Szczykulski was originally declared the runner-up but an audit of votes following the Gouburn Valley League’s presentation night deemed her to be the winner.

However, it didn’t take away from O’Sullivan’s achievement, with the midfielder clinching the best and fairest title with 28 votes – one ahead of Kyabram’s Kaine Herbt.

O’Sullivan, an ex-Assumption College student from Romsey, said it was unexpected.

“It’s pretty surreal. It’s something you certainly don’t expect but it’s nice,” he said.

“The support from the club this season has been massive. There’s always huge support from everyone at the club and it’s a great place to play footy.

“There’s always someone to support you whether it’s your mates, club staff or coaching staff. They’re all amazing and they’ve helped me out a lot.”

He has made Seymour Lions’ history becoming the first dual Morrison medallist after winning the award in his debut season with the club in 2021.

Only two others in GVL have won the award twice.

Seymour Lions assistant coach Jack Murphy said O’Sullivan had been ‘outstanding’ since joining the club in 2021.

“Jack is by far one of the hardest working midfielders in the competition and over the past few seasons he has really dialled himself into becoming a very damaging player,” Murphy said.

“We are rapt for him to take home the league’s highest individual honour and it’s a true testament to the work he has put in.

“His incredible work rate and hunger to succeed has really stood out.

“His buy-in to our program on a whole has been excellent and we as a coaching group have aimed to provide an environment where Jack can excel and play to his strengths every week.

“Our midfield group is very close and at times each player sacrifices for the betterment of the team. Last year we had Ben Rigoni take out this award, it’s a true testament to how strong our midfield brigade is.”

Goal-keeper Szczykulski, a three-time A Grade premiership player with the Lions, was originally announced as runner-up Wellman medallist on 25 votes while Boyer was said to have won on 27.

Boyer was incorrectly credited three additional votes in the final six rounds of the vote count.

An audit of the votes correcting this mistake ensued in the days after the presentation night and Szczykulski was instead announced the winner by one vote.

In a joint statement, AFL Goulburn Murray and the GVL board apologised for the mistake.

“All awards are audited twice throughout the season, mid-season and post-home and away season, and then again just before presentation night,” the statement said.

“The error was not in the votes but in the final tally, and unfortunately, due to human error this was not picked up.

“We have spoken to Elsie, her family and the Tatura Football Netball Club and thank them for their understanding.

“Collectively, they congratulate Sarah on her achievement in winning the Wellman Family Medal in recognition of an outstanding season and the Seymour Football Netball Club.

“We sincerely and unconditionally apologise to Elsie, her family, the Tatura Football Netball Club, Sarah, her family and the Seymour Football Netball Club for this error.”

The GVL will formally present Szczykulski with the Wellman Medal at Seymour Fotbbal Netball Club’s presentation night on Thursday.

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