Willy wins honour in a thriller

A BEST-on-ground performance in the final round of the season lifted Manunda Hawks' Willy Alick to victory in the AFL Cairns best and fairest award, the Crathern Medal, last night.

It was the closest count in years with the entire crowd of the Allen Aylett Room in Cazalys glued to the screen as the votes for the final round were read out.

Going into the last game, Cairns Saints James Coatsworth led by one on 20 points but received no votes in the final round.

After Souths' Matt Sharp polled three votes for his performance against Cobras, the medal looked his as he jumped to 21.

But then Alick managed the three against Norths and leapfrogged both to 22 to the raucous cheers of his Grand Final-bound teammates.

"The last round, I didn't think I had a shot at it," Alick said.

"It was just so close. There were so many good players in there like James Coatsworth who I thought would get votes in the last round forsure."

Alick's win may have seemed slightly left field to some with the Hawks possessing so much of the compeititon's talent and points may have been spread out between teammates more.

But with so many of the Hawks' prime ball movers injured through the season, much of the load was left to the fleet-footed Alick and he polled consistently throughout the season.

His work down the wing or through the centre is as flashy as it is effective and he kicked one of the goals of the year at Holloways Beach this year when collecting the ball from the centre bounce, bouncing twice on the way past several opponents before belting it home from 50m.

Alick, to the shouts of the crowd last night, performed his customary victory backflip (his signature celebration when leaving the field after the Hawks notch a win) on stage.

The Cairns local and North Cairns junior would no doubt swap the league's highest individual honour for a second consecutive premiership with Manunda on Saturday.

But if he can take both, it will cap a fantastic season.

"This medal means a lot to me," Alick said.

"It's huge but I'd swap it for a premiership medal on Saturday."

In other awards, Laurence Angwin took out the mark of the year with his screamer at Port Douglas.

It is doubtful Angwin remembers the mark after he was airlifted to Cairns Base Hospital after falling heavily but still holding the ball.

Anthony Jones won the Goal of the Year for his effort in Round 20 against Souths.

Courtesy of the Cairns Post


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