Cameron Ilett has capped off a stellar first season in the yellow and black and collected his second Nichols Medal for being the best and fairest player in the TIO NTFL Men’s Premier League.
One of the most decorated Territory footballers to still pull on the boots, Ilett finished the night on 20 votes, four votes clear of Buffs big forward, Darren Shillabeer and seven ahead of Southern Districts young gun, Sam Smith.
In the TIO NTFL Women’s Premier League division, it was a thrilling last couple of rounds that saw the opposing captains from yesterday’s grand final, Lucy Adam and Lisa Roberts tie for the Gwynne Medal on 21 votes.
Full details of the Gwynne Medal count can be read here.
Following Round 14 and the washed out Men’s Premier League game between Southern Districts and Nightcliff, Ilett trailed Shillabeer by two votes and had a nervous wait ahead.
Neither player polled in Round 15 but come Round 16, Ilett was judged best afield in the Tigers convincing win over St Mary’s and picked up three votes, while Shillabeer’s two goals against Waratah weren’t enough to garner him a vote. In fact, it was last season’s Nichols Medal winner and Tahs defender, Timothy Mosquito who got the three in that game and Buffs speedster Timothy Eldridge that picked up two votes.
Eldridge, who polled eight votes between Rounds 15 and 17 would finish the night in fourth place, and a total of 12 votes.
Going into Round 17, Ilett led Shillabeer by one vote, 17 to 16 and with the Buffs forward sitting out that round’s game against Wanderers, it left the door open for Ilett, who enjoyed two goals and a strong performance when Nightcliff defeated Palmerston.
He picked up two votes, giving him a three-vote buffer going into Round 18, the final round of polling, meaning the best Shillabeer could hope for was to collect the three votes and force a tie.
Ironically the two teams played each other in soggy, heavy conditions, not suited to either forward and with the Nichols Medal already in one-hand, a single vote going Ilett’s way was icing on the cake.
It’s an early birthday present for the 2014/15 Nichols Medal winner, who turns 33-years-old tomorrow.
Somewhat fittingly, Ilett also rose to Nichols Medal glory off the back of 20 votes three years ago when he was a St Mary’s on-baller.
This season’s top honour is Nightcliff’s second in three seasons after Brodie Filo collected the 2015/16 Nichols Medal.
With the exception of the Round 14 washed out game, Ilett played every game this season and was best on ground on three occasions. He also polled at least one vote in 12 of the 17 games he played in.
Meanwhile, Shillabeer who played 10 games picked up the maximum three votes on five occasions and polled in one other round to accumulate his total of 16.
A stalwart in the Crocs defence all season, Smith had a nice spread of solid performances and polled in seven of the 16 games he played.
As was the case the last time Ilett won the Nichols, Eldridge once again collected 12 votes which yet again saw him finish towards the top of the leaderboard.
Mosquito played two fewer games than last season’s medal-winning performance (11 games in 2017/18) finished equal fifth with Tiwi Bomber Joshua Finch (five games) on 10 votes.
Interestingly, Wanderers player Daniel Weetra was equal-leader with Shillabber on seven votes at the conclusion of Round 7 but did not play again for the remainder of the season.
For winning the Nichols Medal, Ilett receives return airfares for two to Melbourne and two tickets to the 2018 Toyota AFL Grand Final thanks to Virgin Australia and the AFL.
In the other awards handed out on the night, Southern Districts forward, Will Farrer won the Dennis Dunn Leading Goal Kicker for his 50-goal season. It was his fourth-in-a-row.
While in the Women’s Premier League, St Mary’s Laelia Dunn picked up the leading goal kicker award for her 40-goal effort. Her feat included a 14 goal-haul in the Saints Round 10 win over Nightcliff.
It was the first Gwynne Medal for both Adam and Roberts, who are considered generals in their respective teams' defence. Full details of the Gwynne Medal count can be read here.
Brother-sister duo and Palmerston young guns, Rodney and Janet Baird took home the NT News Rising Star and Women’s Premier League Rising Star, respectively.
The coaches award, the MVP went to Ilett in the men’s league and Darwin Buffettes midfielder Kylie Duggan in the women’s.
The Mitch Lee Medal for the best and fairest player in the Men’s Division 1 competition went to David Oates of the Banks Bulldogs who finished the night on 20 votes.
At the end of Round 14, Oates trailed Nightcliff’s Nick Eades and PINT’s Matthew Gill by one vote, though Gill was ineligible to win due to serving a one-match suspension.
A best on ground performance against St Mary’s in Round 14 handed Oates three votes and the lead in the medal race. A further three votes in Round 16 and he reached his end tally of 20 votes, five clear of Eades.
But with two rounds to go nothing was certain until his five-vote lead remained strong going into the final round and there was no possibility of being caught.
The Lancaster Medal in the Men’s Division 2 league looked like it was a one-man race with University Rats player-coach Rohan Davies steamrolling his way to an impressive lead.
At the end of Round 14, he sat on 21 votes with his closest chasers on 14 and by Round 15 he had moved to his season-winning 24 votes.
Enter Jaise Coleman, the easily recognisable Nightcliff Spartans ruckman and winner of the previous two Lancaster Medals.
Coleman had three back-to-back best on ground performances between Round 14 and 16, narrowing Davies’s lead to just four votes with two rounds to go.
And in Round 17 when Davies did not poll and Coleman picked up two votes in the Spartans big win over Palmerston to close the gap to only two votes, a Coleman three-peat was thwarted by Nightcliff’s washed out Round 18 game and Davies’s unassailable lead.
A full list of awards and winners is as follows:
Cameron Ilett – Nightcliff – 20 votes
Lucy Adam – Darwin Buffaloes – 21 votes
Lisa Robers – Waratah – 21 votes
Men’s Division 1 Mitch Lee Medallist thanks to Cross Solutions
David Oates – Bank Bulldogs – 20 votes
Men’s Division 2 Lancaster Medallist thanks to Energy Electrical NT
Rohan Davies – University Rats – 24 votes
Kennards Hire Volunteer of the Year
Peter Mullins – Southern Districts
ABC Player of the Year
Dion Munkara – Tiwi Bombers
ABC Umpire of the Year
NT News Player of the Year
Cameron Ilett – Nightcliff
NT News Rising Star
Rodney Baird – Palmerston
Women’s Rising Star
Janet Baird – Palmerston
Men’s MVP thanks to A & K Maintenance and Mechanical
Cameron Ilett – Nightcliff
Women’s MVP thanks to A & K Maintenance and Mechanical
Kylie Duggan – Darwin Buffaloes
Dennis Dunn Leading Goal kicker
William Farrer – Southern Districts – 50 goals
Women’s Leading Goal kicker
Laelia Dunn – St Mary’s – 40 goals
Men’s Division 1 Leading Goal kicker
Travis Carroll – Southern Districts – 75 goals
Men’s Division 2 Leading Goal kicker
Raymond Scarlett – Banks Bulldogs – 53 goals
Nichols Medal leading vote-getters:
1st – Cameron Ilett – Nightcliff – 20 votes
2nd – Darren Shillabeer – Darwin Buffaloes – 16 votes
3rd – Samuel Smith – Southern Districts – 13 votes
4th – Timothy Eldridge – Darwin Buffaloes – 12 votes
5th – Joshua Finch – Tiwi Bombers – 10 votes
5th – Timothy Mosquito – Waratah – 10 votes
Darwin Buffaloes top 3
61 total votes
1st – Darren Shillabeer – 16 votes
2nd – Timothy Eldridge – 12 votes
3rd – Cameron Stokes – 5 votes
Nightcliff top 3
58 total votes
1st – Cameron Ilett – 20 votes
2nd – Patrick White – 6 votes
3rd – Troy Coates – 5 votes
Palmerston top 2
18 total votes
1st – Samuel Autio – 3 votes
1st – Samuel Talbot – 3 votes
Southern Districts top 3
84 total votes
1st – Samuel Smith – 13 votes
2nd – Ed Barlow – 9 votes
3rd – Lionel Ogden – 8 votes
St Mary’s top 4
53 total votes
1st – Jackson geary – 9 votes
2nd – Shaun Edwards – 8 votes
3rd – Raphael Clarke – 6 votes
3rd – Nicholas Mende – 6 votes
Tiwi Bombers top 3
60 total votes
1st – Joshua Finch – 10 votes
2nd – Austin Wonaeamirri – 9 votes
3rd – Patrick Heenan – 8 votes
Wanderers top 4
41 total votes
1st – Neil Vea Vea – 7 votes
1st – Daniel Weetra – 7 votes
2nd – Simon Bates – 5 votes
2nd – Braedon McLean – 5 votes
Waratah top 5
51 total votes
1st – Timothy Mosquito – 10 votes
2nd – James Wray – 8 votes
3rd – Errol McConnell – 7 votes
3rd – Brock Orval – 7 votes
3rd – Sam Weddell – 7 votes