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Harry Grant wins Rising Stars medal – but Bryce misses out


Harry Grant, the 2017 TA Wharton medalist for best and fairest in the Rising Stars grade.


AFL Canberra’s night of nights, the 2017 Mulrooney Medal, had it’s fair share of emotion for the Queanbeyan Tigers.

It was highlighted by Harry Grant taking out the TA Wharton Medal as best and fairest player in the Rising Stars grade.

Harry, still eligible for U16s football, had an outstanding season. He was a runaway leader at the top of the board after total votes were shown at the 17 round mark – and he wasn’t in danger of being caught as the final rounds of votes were read out.

In a very articulate speech Harry thanked the Tigers, his team mates, his coaches, and the GWS Academy for the support, opportunities and development he received this year. He also thanked his parents, Sharon and Dan. Dan, a former Tiger, was there to witness the win and also didn’t go home empty handed after picking up a signed GWS jumper in the lucky door prize draw.

Harry’s 20 votes consisted of four best-on-ground three votes and four second best two votes. He becomes the Tigers eighth winner of the TA Wharton medal with Renato Res taking out the first award back in 1965, followed by Jim Black in 1971 and again in 1972; Matt Weickhardt in 1996; Sam Daniel in 2008; Jake Oram in 2010; and most recently Jack Carroll-Tape in 2015.

Adding to the league medal, Harry was named in the back pocket in the Future Stars team of the Year where he was joined by Anthony Lo Pilato (back pocket), Christian Palombi (wing), and Reed Stevens (rover).


Hannah Dunn (left) and Ella Ross (right) were both named in the AFL Canberra Women’s Team of the Decade – 2018-2017.


2017 represents the 20th anniversary of AFL Canberra Women’s football. To mark the occasion a Team of the Decade (2008 to 2017) was announced with Hannah Dunn (forward pocket) and Ella Ross (interchange) selected in the team. Criteria for consideration in the team included having played at least 60 games and/or three years and at least one year of representative football.

Hannah and Ella also returned to the stage when announced in the Women’s Team of the Year. Hannah was selected on the half forward line while Ella was named on the half back line. They were joined in the team by fellow Tigerettes Carly Res (back pocket) and Megan Godfrey (forward pocket).

Unlucky to miss selection in the team of the year, Kate Reid was runner-up in the Broadbean Catering Women’s Player of the Year which is voted on by coaches after each game. Kate polled votes in 10 of the 18 rounds.

In the Broadbean Catering Men’s Player of the Year, Josh Bryce also finished runner-up, just four votes shy of eventual winner James Bennett.

In a very tight and low scoring Second Grade vote count, first year Tiger Hugh McKenzie, who joined us this season after graduating from Marist, fell just one vote short of the lead. Ainslie’s Andrew Thompson and Charlie Boyton tied for the medal, resulting in Hugh finishing equal third.

In the Mary Anne Bainrot Medal for Best and Fairest in the Women’s competition, Ella Ross was our leading vote winner. Ella finished fourth, only four votes in arrears of fellow GWS Giant Britt Tully who won back to back medals.

The Tigers will also lay some claim to the Division 4 medal win, with former Tiger, and brother of Kate, Billy Reid taking out the medal for Goulburn. Billy played in the Tigers 2015 First Grade premiership team before returning to his home town for work reasons and to reduce travel.

In First Grade, Jordan Hedington (half back), Alex Page (forward pocket) and Josh Bryce (rover) were all named in the Men’s Team of the Year.


Alex Page (left and Jordon Hedington (right) display their Men’s Team of the Year jumpers with Josh Bryce (centre) who was equal highest vote winner in the Mulrooney Medal but missed out through suspension.


But in a disappointing end to the night, the Mulrooney Medal vote count ended in controversy with Josh Bryce, equal leading vote winner, missing out on becoming a Mulrooney Medalist after being ruled ineligible through suspension. Josh was reported in the final round of the year, a game where he polled one vote to join Belconnen’s Beau Walker at the top of the leaderboard. It left many in the room gutted that Josh had missed out.

To his credit, Josh took the disappointing result in his stride, noting that individual awards might be nice to look back on in retirement, but team success is what he plays for.

Beau Walker becomes the fifth Mulrooney Medal winner in a row from Belconnen. Beau played with the Tigers in the NEAFL in 2013 before a horrific ankle injury sustained in the Foxtel Cup win over NT Thunder ended his season. He returned home to country NSW for a few years before close friends drew him to Belconnen.

Beau is a quality person and a great player. The Tigers congratulate him on his win.

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