Callinan romps it home as top Devil

IT was a case of Ian Callinan first and daylight second at last night's awards ceremony for the Tasmanian Devils' best player in the VFL. Callinan, 22, won the Alastair Lynch Medal at a gala dinner at Wrest Point Casino by polling 61 votes, a whopping 23 ahead of ruckman Travis Ronaldson (38) with captain Ben Beams (33) third.

His win came as no surprise because early last month he and Sandringham ruckman Paul Johnson shared the J.J. Liston Trophy for the best players in the VFL. The size of Callinan's win in a Devils side which made it through to the second week of the VFL finals will provide more food for thought among the two or three AFL clubs which have shown interest in signing him. Callinan did a pre-season with Essendon and is understood to have had talks with Hawthorn.

It capped off a memorable trifecta for the midfielder who also won $1000 cash and a $4000 television for winning the Bartercard-McDonald's player of the year award. Others to poll well in the Alastair Lynch Medal - named in honour of Tasmania's former Brisbane triple premiership full-forward - were full-back Mathew Jovanovic (32), midfielder Ken Hall (30) and much improved defender Nathan Street (29). The other six who made double figures were Matthew Geappen (26), Justin Plapp (20), Ben Setchell (17), Nathan Grima (15), Ben Atkin (13) and Brett Geappen (10).

The voting was much closer in the under-18 Tassie Mariners award, the Davidson Medal, with forward Sam Lonergan (26) edging out Jason Howard (25) and Sam Iles (24) to win his second successive medal. The medal capped a great season for Lonergan, who also did well when promoted to the Devils and last week was best-afield with five goals in the Allies team's 46-point win over Victoria at Optus Oval in front of nearly all the AFL club recruiting managers. Others to show out were Todd Grima (22), Sam Fielding (21), Mitchell Thorp (19), Heath Neville (18) and Grant Birchall (17). By: DAVID STOCKDALE


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