Young gun Lachlan Maples capped a successful year at Sydney Uni’s 2015 Cec and Bunty Champion Presentation Night claiming the Harvey Gordon Medal for the best and fairest Premier Division player. In just 14 games, Maples was best afield on three occasions and amongst the best a total of seven times. Producing his most consistent season for the Students, the 19-year old showed leadership through the midfield and will be one to push for NEAFL selection in 2016 and beyond.
The evening began as players from the club’s Sydney AFL grades made their way into St. Andrews College with anticipation high to see who would take out the night’s awards. Opening with the Division 5 Platinums, Cameron Farmer took out the leading goal kicker award while inspirational team captain Curtis Judge took out the Division 5 Coach’s Award. The best and fairest was a close race with Dale Halliday taking home the honour with league convert and first year player Byran Larkings finishing runner-up.
Up next were the Division 4 Golds. Lachlan Godfrey was impressive in front of goal all year and claimed the Division 4 Leading Goal Kicker Award, and James Hunt’s consistent play earned him the Coach’s Award. Jake Utech took home runner-up best and fairest, with the top gong going to big ruckman and forward, Michael Fogarty, who also finished top four in the Phelan Medal Night voting for Division 4.
Led by Captain Riordan Lee and Coach Sam Power, the Reds impressed all year with the side claiming the Division 3 Premiership against rivals UTS by 18 points. Trent Milsteed impressed with his hard attack on the football this season and was honoured with the Coach’s Award, and Gabriel Robbie took home both the Leading Goal Kicker Medal and the runner-up best and fairest. But it was Riordan Lee who claimed the Fintan O’Connor Medal for the best and fairest player, following a brilliant season in which he also took home the McFarlane Medal as the best and fairest player in Sydney AFL Division 3, as well as gaining Green and Gold national selection at the Australian University Games.
As anticipation grew to see who would win the Division 1 Blues and the Premier Division best and fairest awards, it was time for some club-wide awards. The first was for the Best First Year Player. With so many great players playing their first year of AFL there was plenty of competition for the award. John Walsh of the Division 3 Reds took out the award. In his first year of AFL, John was selected into a very competitive Division 1 side on four occasions, and he averaged a goal a game as a midfielder and was named amongst the best in five of his games.
The next club award was the James Carter & Peter Ramus Best Player in Finals. With our NEAFL, Premier Division side, Blues and Reds all playing in finals this year there was strong competition for this award. Michael Higgins, who accumulated 21 of a possible 24 best on ground votes through the finals took out the award.
Luke Hayward, having taken an impressive step forward in his football this year, claimed the Most Improved Player of the Year Award. Luke improved every area of his game this year and went from a Division 5 Player to playing Division 3 for the majority of the year, just missing out on grand final selection. Michael Fogarty took home the Col Keeble Most Consistent Player award to cap a dominant season.
The Will Macbeth Trophy for the Young Clubman of the Year went to Ben Hawtin. Ben is not only an outstanding Premier Division player but also a fantastic member of the club as a whole. It is not unusual for Ben to spend his entire Saturday helping out the lower grades before playing for the Premier Division side. 2015 Outstanding Contributions were also awarded to Liz Hawtin, Isaac Martin and Tom Elkington for their services throughout the year.
Another highlight of the night was the recognition of club legend Michael Murray, who was awarded Life Membership to SUANFC. His services across over 10 years of involvement with the club were recognised with the great man joining the company of the red-jumpered SUANFC elite.
Sam Power was awarded the 2015 Cec & Bunty Club person of the year for his services across many seasons. Well done Sam!
The Division 1 ‘Blues’ made history this season completing their third premiership in a row across 2 grades of Sydney AFL. To make this feat even more impressive they finished the home and away season in fifth and stormed home to beat Pennant Hills in the grand final by 1 point. Chris Kendrick was dominant in front of goals for the year taking out the Leading Goal Kicker Medal, and Ben Fitzpatrick took home the Coach’s Award. Sam Ryan completed a successful first year at SUANFC to claim the runner-up best and fairest behind Michael Higgins, who took home the Laurie Kirwan Medal.
Our Premier Division side had a good year. Showing signs of the potential ahead, many players emerged as genuine talent. The Premier Division Leading Goal Kicker went to Tom Elkington, who despite missing 6 games, was a presence in front of goal. Sam Sleigh played some brilliant football this year before being brought down with a serious knee injury late in the season. A well-liked and respected member of the playing group, he was awarded the Premier Division Players’ Player Medal. The Coach’s Award was awarded to Alex Hawtin for his fantastic season of football after playing Division 2 for the majority of last season. Lachlan Maples won his First Harvey Gordon Medal for the Premier Division best and fairest over Dan Frawley who finished runner-up.
Well done Lachlan and all award winners on the night!