A stellar season of football has resulted in Augusta-Margaret River’s Mitchell Lynn claiming the 2018 Hayward Medal with a monumental 31 votes.
The Hayward Medal count turned into a tight race after the first five rounds, with Bunbury’s Jesse Gribble ahead of the pack on nine votes.
After 10 rounds, the race then became a three-way tie between Lynn, Gribble, and Carey Park’s Tim Yarran on 15.
Lynn pulled out in front after round 15, with Eaton’s Graham Jetta moving up to second ahead of Gribble, Yarran, and Donnybrook’s Jace Cormack.
By the end of round 18, Lynn had finished first ahead of Jetta on 24 votes, Gribble on 23, Yarran on 21, and Cormack on 19.
“It feels really good to win, it’s good to be able to receive an award like this,” he said.
“The 21 other blokes I have played with week-in, week-out deserve this accolade as well.
“The players in that top 10 deserve a lot of accolades too, so congratulations to them.”
Previous Hawks’ winners include Jeremy Humm (2012), Justin Cook (1990), Richie Lee (1986, 1985), Peter Ivanoff (1981), Ross Tyson (1977, 1976), and Mick Merritt (1966).
Lynn picked up the highest number of votes since Bunbury coach Jamie Nani collected the award back in 2001 (34).
Gribble did not go home empty handed – scoring the Phoenix Petroleum Player of the Year and BCE Surveying Coaches awards.
Bunbury’s Aaron Mills was named CBA Reserves Player of the Year, Bulldog Thomas O’Brien clinched Express Print Colts Player of the Year, while Kloe Bassett (Bunbury) received the Halifax Crane Hire Coaches Award (Women) Award.
Eaton reserve Jordan Cuxson picked up the Times Medal, Bulldog Kai Luzi was honoured with the Dagostino Developments Medal, and Bunbury’s Carly Allen became the second ever Nola Marino Medal recipient.
Bunbury’s Jayen Farrant (colts), Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault’s Chris Strano (reserves), Bunbury’s Casara Hill (women), Eaton’s Heath Ryder (league – under 19s), and Bunbury’s Brett Peake (league) were all rewarded for their goal-kicking prowess throughout the season.
Ryder was also named Parks Tavern Rising Star, while South Bunbury’s Jed Montgomerie received the Halifax Crane Hire U19 Future Star Award.
Bunbury’s Bob Hislop was given West Australian Country Football League Volunteer of the Year, before the Bulldogs picked up the Club Championship award.
South West Football League legends Rod Atherton, Mayne Coverley, Arthur Hutchins and Neville Millar were applauded for their contributions and inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Special mentions were given to umpire Jason Crowe for his 800th game as well as the Landmark teams for their extraordinary efforts earlier this year.
Umpire Kevin Nettleton gave a speech honouring outgoing South West Football League general manager John Vidos, stepping down from the role after 15 years.
He will be replaced by Simone Nani after the 2018 grand final.
All eyes now turn to Sunday, with Harvey taking on Bunbury in the women’s grand final and Augusta-Margaret River facing off against the Bulldogs in a blockbuster preliminary final showdown.