AFL Quebec 2014 Awards Night Summary
Phil Manassa & Elaine Gilmore named Quebec’s best & fairest for 2014
AFL Quebec’s night of nights saw Phil Manassa awarded the league’s top honour after a tightly contested points race which went down to the final round of voting. Going into the final regular season round Manassa held a one vote lead over Daniel Robinson, who had led the voting through the majority of the season, and Morgan Whyte, who had climbed the leader board late.
Despite Manassa’s West Island Wooders winning the final game of the season he polled only 3 votes leaving the door ajar for Whyte. However, Whyte’s Montreal Demons fell to the Laval Bombers courtesy of a 9 goal exhibition from Todd Rogers leaving Whyte in the runner-up position ahead of Robinson who missed the Wooders game through injury. Last year’s winner Bogdan Rotaru finished fourth while Rogers’ dominant final round display saw him pick up 5 votes to round out the top five despite missing the opening 3 rounds.
It could be argued that ill-discipline cost the chasing players the title with Whyte, Robinson and Rotaru all missing out on votes due to yellow cards through the season. However, Manassa was a worthy winner on the night where he was presented a premiership jacket, the Southern Cross medal for best on ground Australian in the grand final, and named Team of the Year at Centre in his first year in the league.
The Wooders fittingly dominated the evening after conquering the league in their premier season. In addition to Manassa’s triumph, Wilfred Houvion, best on ground International in the grand final, Fabio Petosa, season’s record breaking leading goal kicker, Pierre-Olivier Chemin, rookie of the year, and Thomas Core, coaches award, were recognized with individual honours.
The Wooders also occupied 5 of the 13 places in the 2014 AFL Quebec Team of the Year with Manassa, Robinson, Petosa and Chemin joined by West Island veteran and former Team Canada representative, Matt Payne. The Demons and Bombers both took 3 places with Whyte joined by bolter Nicolas Pouessel and another former Team Canada member, Kyle Graham while Rogers and Rotaru were joined by 2013 rookie of the year David Boulerice. The Old Montreal Dockers, having struggled through the year, fielded the remaining 2 places. Crowd favourite Judd Kozikowski took the last Australian place, with the team having been limited to 5, and hall of famer Ronan Shaughnessy rounded out the line-up despite missing much of the season due to International Cup representative commitments.
Hosted by the charismatic Steve McCammon, the night capped off a remarkable season for the AFL Quebec family. In a year that included a number of momentous achievements, none were more significant than the introduction of an independent women’s competition. Elaine Gilmore was deservingly crowned the inaugural women’s best & fairest beating world cup winning captain Aimee Legault who was absent from the final rounds of voting.
Legault and the NDG Devils were presented with their premiership medals but individual awards were shared between the two clubs. Plateau Eagles were represented by Kate Sargeant who was awarded best on ground in the grand final and joined teammate Gilmore and the Devil’s Legault as the first league All-stars. Legault, who has been described as the best women outside of Australia, won leading goal kicker despite missing nearly half the season courtesy of an 11 goal outing in round 6. Legault’s teammate and sister, Margo was also recognized with the coaches award as well as all her effort in pioneering the league and supporting the association. In addition to Gilmore and Sargeant, the Eagles were also able to boast the success of rugby convert Leah Bender in being named rookie of the year.
There was a strong message throughout the evening of gratitude and appreciation noting that the continued growth and success of AFL Quebec is attributable to the dedication and commitment of all its members. Specifically recognized for their readiness to volunteer were Mark Koser and Margo & Emily Legault. The night also acknowledged the Committee as well as all those who lend their time to this thriving community.
The AFL Quebec 2015 season is already set to exceed the lofty heights of 2014. The association wishes its members a safe and enjoyable winter break and promises much to look forward to.
To view all photos from the AFL Quebec 2014 Awards Night Gala then click on the link below to got to the AFL Quebec Facebook page and the the 2014 Awards Night album. Be sure to like AFL Quebec too! Photos courtesy of Seb Di Milo, thanks Seb!