Jordan Pidgeon wins Gray Medal – Holroyd-Parramatta Goannas

Last Saturday the Goannas capped a brilliant 2017 season as they hosted the Annual Gray Medal & Presentation Night. 150 special guests, Members, supporters, players, friends and family filled the Swan Room at the Merrylands RSL Club (Major Partner of the Goannas) to find out who would win the awards for the Goannas four teams.

Hosted by larrikin Russell “Ralph” Barwick, a Goannas player himself some 30 years ago, the crowd boasted Chris Bowen, the Shadow Treasurer of Australia, Hugh McDermott, the State Member for Prospect, Greg Cummings, newly elected Mayor of Cumberland, Ron Hand, President Merrylands RSL Club, Bryn Miller, CEO Merrylands RSL Club and Eric Michelmore, Board of Merrylands RSL Club.

Also in attendance was Ken Gray, whose Family the Seniors Medal was named after, 1990 Premiership players Neil Brunton, Shane Salmon and Peter Rickett, Michael Bright of the very successful Greystanes Goannas Junior AFL Club, 10 Life members, which became 11 later in the night and 5 previous Gray Medalists.

The under 19’s Best & Fairest was won by Co-Captain of the Joint venture team, Duanne Hevers. He had a great season, and lead the voting from start to finish. Duanne scored 45 votes playing in 12 of the 15 games and also played 4 Division 1 games, reward for his hard work. Duanne was the leading goalkicker for the Under 19 team with 21. Runner up was Nathan Penna on 32 votes, followed by Hatem El-Daraj (2016 winner) on 23 votes, Grant Clarke 15 votes, Jack Putt 13 votes and Kevinn Duong 13 votes.

The under 19 team were also presented with their playing jumpers as appreciation for their efforts during the Season in forming the joint venture and also making the finals.

A difficult year for the Thirds (Division 5) as they struggled to fill a team each week, however, Tim Watson was adjudged Best Player in 2017. It was a popular choice for a guy who never gives up, except when injury gets him! Timmy finished the season in the Reserves (Division 3), playing 14 games all up, including his 150th for the Goannas v Balmain in Round 9.

The Reserves Best & Fairest wasn’t decided until the Final Round, when skipper Kane Radford snared a best on ground performance to pip the colourful Miguel Limson by 1 vote. Limson lead the voting for most of the night in a low scoring tight affair, and looked the winner until Radford played a blinder v Campbelltown in Round 16. Radford received 23 votes, with Limson on 22 votes, followed by Mark Pettit 19, Anthony Tassone 17 and Keegan Sears 16.

Peter & Christine Rickett were presented with the John “JB” Barker Clubman of the year award for their tireless work with the Canteen, Coaching and various other duties around the Club. Their effort in ensuring the Sydney AFL Finals Canteen went smoothly over 4 consecutive weekends at 3 different venues was amazing. Truly worthy winners, who not only won the award in 2001, but could easily have won it every year since. An emotional “Bear” thanked the Club and spoke about sticking together in good times and bad.

Kristin Carville was awarded Life Membership for his efforts since arriving at the Goannas back in 2005. As a player, Committee person and Coach, he has been inspirational with the Club for a sustained period of time and fully deserved to join the list of Life Members.

The Gray Medal count was also very exciting, with Jordan Pidgeon winning his second Gray Medal with a “best on” performance in Round 18 to snatch victory from skipper Brody Crane. Brody led every round after a BOG performance in Round 1 v Sydney University, except the last v Western Magic, when Jordy picked up 5 votes to win by 2. “Pidge” spoke humbly after collecting his Medal from Ken Gray and Chris Bowen, and rather than reflecting on the past, he spoke positively of the future, and is already looking forward to 2018.

Once again, the Merrylands RSL Club and staff laid on a magnificent meal in the Swan Room, and were the icing on an already enjoyable cake.

Shane Jorgensen was announced as Club Coach of the Goannas for Season 2018 and received popular applause from everyone in attendance. “Jorgo” previously coached the Goannas for 4 years (2001 – 2014) taking them to the finals on each occasion. He briefly spoke to the audience on the night, and said he felt the Goannas was “his home” and has some great ideas for the Club in the future.

A special presentation was made during the evening to the Altorjay Family. Life member and Senior Team Manager, Robert Altorjay passed away in April this year, and his framed 1980 jumper was unveiled and presented to his family. His son Shannon, who also played with the Goannas for many years, emotionally responded and spoke of his father’s love of his family and all things football, especially the Goannas and Carlton.

All the Award winners on the night were:

Club Leading Goalkicker – Sam Zikman

John Perry Rising Star – Luke Mansour

100 Games Milestones – Brody Crane, Clive Sharp & Harry Spiteri

Under 19 Coach’s Award – Kevin Duong

Under 19’s Most Consistent – Hatem El-Daraj

Under 19’s Most Determined – Joshua Isaac

Under 19’s Runner Up B & F – Nathan Penna

Under 19’s Best & Fairest – Duanne Hevers

Reserves Coach’s Award – Keegan Sears

Reserves Most Consistent – Mark Pettit

Reserves Player’s Player – Anthony Tassone

Reserves Runner Up B & F – Miguel Limson

Reserves B & F – Kane Radford

John “JB” Barker Clubman – Peter & Christine Rickett

Seniors Coach’s Award – Matthew Cahill

Seniors Most Consistent – Arin Rickett

Seniors Player’s Player – Luke Mansour

Seniors Runner Up B & F – Brody Crane

Seniors Gray Medal – Jordan Pidgeon

Player Volunteer Award – Harry Spiteri

Life Membership – Kristin Carville