Abbott wins first Minahan Medal, Dunn claims record-breaking third Margaret Liddle Medal

Darren Abbott and Nicolette Dunn

The prestigious TIO Minahan Medal has gone the way of South Alice Football Club’s Darren Abbott for the first time, while Pioneer E-Girls’ Nicolette Dunn has made CAFL history, becoming the first woman to win three Yeperenye Margaret Liddle Medals

Abbott joins a group of illustrious past-winners in claiming the CAFL’s highest individual honour and is the second winner from South in as many years. 

It adds to what has already been a stellar year for the midfielder, who was also given captaincy honours in the Redtails representative side for the AFL game curtain-raiser against the Top End Storm. 

Playing 11 of a possible 12 games for South, Abbott kicked six goals and was named amongst his side’s best on eight occasions. Following a troubling finger injury, he was able to hold on for a four-vote win after not polling in the final two rounds of the season.

No stranger to success on Central Australian footy’s night of nights, Dunn played all 12 games for Pioneer this season and was named in her team’s best 11 times. 

After claiming her first League best and fairest in 2012 with the Alice Springs Women’s Football Club, Dunn backed it up in 2016 with Pioneer and has only waited three seasons this time to storm home for her third win. 

In the goalkickers awards, Thomas Gorey claimed his second successive TIO Seniors Goalkicking prize, kicking 57 goals in 11 games for South. The 31-year-old was held goalless in the Semi-Final last Saturday but kicked an 11-goal haul in Round 13 against Wests. 

Making it a clean sweep for the women’s also, Janaya Kopp from the E-Girls is an impressive 16-year-old. In her third season with the seniors she kicked goals in nine games out of the 11 she played, including five against Wests in Round 9 to take home the Intersport Women’s Leading Goalkicker prize. 

In exciting news, the CAFL Rising Star Award has been awarded to its first female, with Alkamilya’s Shoneeka Abbott receiving the honour.

The 17-year-old cousin of Minahan Medallist, Darren, Shoneeka played nine games for the season and also represented the NT at the AFLW Under 18 Championships, where she was named as the NT’s most valuable player. She went on to represent the Central Allies and made her NT Thunder VFLW debut in Alice Springs, thus more than justifying her Rising Star status.

The TDC Refrigeration Patrons Medal in the Men’s Reserves competition went to a familiar face, with West Football Club’s Michael Gurney winning by eight votes, despite not polling after Round 11. No stranger to success having picked up the Minahan Medal in 2013, the Division 1 League Medal in 2012 and CAFL Life Membership in 2016, Gurney returned to the Bloods after missing the 2018 season. 

With 28 goals for the season playing for Pioneer in his first year in the ‘town’ divisions, Meshack Dickson took home the Peter Kittle Reserves Leading Goalkicker. In eight games he kicked two bags of seven, an impressive feat. 

The top accolade in the Country League, the CAAC Edwin Pareroultja Medal was almost nabbed by the 2017 Minahan Medallist Henry Impu but with two more votes, Waylen Manson from MacDonnell Districts swooped in with his eight votes. The 25-year-old played all nine games for his team as well as four games with Federal as part of the ‘town’ division. 

Another player to enjoy being on exchange permit with Federal but also have an outstanding season with his Community Cup team was Ainsley Walker from Willowra. The CAAC Gus William Medallist played all 10 games with the Blues and won on 16 votes ahead of three other players from Willowra and Mt Allan, the two new teams to the CAFL in 2019. 

In the Under 18 division, nothing separated Rovers duo Mason Crawford and Jack Sandry for the BIG4 Mac Range Caravan Park Muldoon Medal. The last time the medal was shared also involved a Sandry, Damien in 2013. This time around, both Crawford and Jack Sandry played 10 games during the season; seven of them together. In what was a very even competition for talented youngsters, the duo won by a single vote ahead of a three-way tie for second. 

The Quitline Wenton Rubuntja Medal for the best Under 18 in the Country League was awarded to Shane Inkamala from MacDonnell Districts. The 16-year-old played a total of 17 games across four different divisions in 2019 but played his most (eight) with the Under 18s. 

Kayne Lynch from South kicked an impressive 27 goals in his eight games to claim the TJ Signs Under 18 Leading Goalkicker. Even more astounding was that he kicked at least three goals in seven of those games.

In the CAFL’s youngest division, the Under 15s; the Quitline Best and Fairest went to Tyrell Martin. It was the youngsters first year playing in the CAFL, where he featured in eight of his side’s 12 games and was named as his team’s best on ground on five occasions. A member of the Redtails talent program and with a few senior games under his belt already, the future is bright. 

The AJ Services Under 15 Leading Goalkicker was decided with 11 goals with Anthony Wilyuka claiming the accolade for the second season running. In what is only his second season with Rovers he played 10 out of a potential 11 games and was a highlight for his team who languished at the bottom of the ladder. In two games he kicked four goals.

The other awards on the night included the Thrifty Harrison Trophy that was awarded to Sheralee Taylor, coach of the Pioneer women’s team. A strong advocate of footy in the region, she is a member of the Pioneer committee and a club representative on the CAFL Management Committee. She does plenty of work pre-season to assist with player registrations and just as much on match-day, outside of coaching she also runs water, helps with strapping and sports training. 

The TIO Golden Whistle recipient was Sam DeGraff for his efforts in taking over the role of Head Umpire Coach midway through the seas. 

Winners at the 2019 Minahan Medal Best and Fairest

TIO Seniors
TIO Minahan Medal – Darren Abbott – South Alice Springs Football Club – 16 votes

TIO Seniors Leading Goalkicker – Thomas Gorey – South Alice Springs Football Club – 56 goals

Senior Women
Yeperenye Margaret Liddle Medal – Nicolette Dunn – Pioneer Football Club – 23 votes
Intersport Women’s Leading Goalkicker – Janaya Kopp – Pioneer Football Club – 23 goals

Senior Men Reserves Grade
TDC Refrigeration Patrons Medal – Michael Gurney – West Football Club – 18 votes 

Peter Kittle Reserves Leading Goalkicker – Meshack Dickson – Pioneer Football Club – 28 goals 

Rising Star Award – Shoneeka Abbott – Alkamilya Football Club 

Country League
CAAC Edwin Pareroultja Medal – Waylen Manson – MacDonnell Districts Football Club – 8 votes

Community Cup
CAAC Gus Williams Medal – Ainsley Walker – Willowra Football Club – 16 votes

MacDonnell Regional Council Under 18 Boys
BIG4 Mac Range Caravan Park Muldoon Medal – Mason Crawford and Jack Sandry – Rovers Football Club – 8 votes

TJ Signs Under 18 Leading Goalkicker – Kayne Lynch – 27 goals – South Alice Springs Football Club

Country League Under 18 Boys
Quitline Wenton Rubuntja Medal – Shane Inkamala – MacDonnell Districts Football Club – 11 votes 

Under 15 Boys
Quitline Under 15 Best and Fairest – Tyrell Martin – South Alice Springs Football Club – 17 votes

AJ Services Under 15 Leading Goalkicker – Anthony Wilyuka – Rovers Football Club – 11 goals

Other Awards

Thrithy Harrison Trophy – Sheralee Taylor – Pioneer Football Club

TIO Golden Whistle Award – Sam DeGraff

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