Syd Barker Medal 2010

Everyone is talking about the draw, the tie, whatever you want to call it. Sure, there’s some uproar about it, but in the end, you just couldn’t split them. Two great competitors having great seasons and it all climaxing in a draw. How fitting.

  1. Brent Harvey (44 votes)

What a season. 2009 was a horror, ruined by a shocking dislocation of the wing, but little Boomer bounced back in a big way in 2010, averaging 24.9 disposals and kicking 25 goals. His career lowlight came in Round 2 against St Kilda, where he, along with the rest of the side barring Brady Rawlings, had terrible nights. Harvey collected just six touches for the night, and was reported for a tripping offence when his anger got the better of him in the last quarter. Thankfully, he wasn’t suspended, as a week later against West Coast; the little champ amassed a career-high 44 possessions and kicked a goal, as well as the point of the century after a dashing run from half-back to the forward line, with the ball colliding into the post at the last second. Harvey is like a fine wine, he just gets better with age, and when the game is on the line, he is the one who has the balls to take it by the scruff of the neck and finish things. Round 12 against Carlton, with the Roos not quite in complete control in the last quarter, it was Boomer who kicked two late goals to seal the breakthrough win. A week later, he combined through the middle of the ground with Ryan Bastinac to bang through the match winner on the run from inside 50. Round 3 against West Coast was perhaps his loudest, strongest game, but his absolute best of the year was in Round 19, where he demolished Fremantle with his pace and attack on the ball, collecting 34 disposals, laying eight tackles and also booted three goals, including a beauty from the boundary line. That’s just how Boomer does it. A few weeks later, celebrating his 301st game in Round 22 against Melbourne, he was the one that tore the game apart when the Roos needed a strong head to bob up. A strong second half, especially a game-saving last quarter, and North had the four points. He collected 30 touches and booted three goals that night, ending the season on an absolute high, and ensuring he won his fifth Syd Barker Medal, a record for any North Melbourne player. You little beauty, Boomer.

  1. Brady Rawlings (44 votes)

When you think unsung hero, a player that doesn’t get the credit he deserves, a champion of the game that just doesn’t get recognised, you think of Brady Rawlings. After taking home the Syd Barker Medal in 2004 and 2006, he returned to the number one spot on the podium after a dominant season in the back half, playing a negating role from the backline while still collecting plenty of the ball himself and distributing it through the midfield. He averaged an amazing 28.3 disposals a game, and was one of the shining lights in the dark night of Round 2 against St Kilda, a night where he collected 34 touches and tried valiantly to stop the flow of goals coming from the red, white and black army. He kicked just one goal for the year, but what a goal it was. Round 5 against Hawthorn, down in Launceston, ANZAC Day. Rawlings was the one who showed the spirit, the grit, the determination. After the Hawks got back in front late in the game, it was Rawlings who ran the full length of the ground, taking a massive risk by leaving his opponent unchecked, trusting his young teammates to win the ball and boot it to the vacant forward line. It was Rawlings who bust his gut, sprinting inside 50 as that ball, after being won by the Roos, was kicked forward in front of him. He marked it, and with a cool head, he slotted the goal to put North Melbourne back in front, and the rest is history. He starred in Round 8 against Adelaide, picking up 37 possessions and laying five tackles as North hung on for dear life as the Crows stormed home from nine goals down at three quarter time. It was Rawlings’ effort in the backline that saved the game from being lost; no one in the AFL public recognised that. Everyone at North Melbourne did though. He impressed against Geelong in Round 14, picking up 36 disposals in the loss, but his best match of his career came in Round 19 against the Dockers. With the Roos needing a win, desperately, to hang onto any sort of chance to make the top eight, and if victory was going to be achieved, three men in purple needed to be stopped. Aaron Sandilands, Matthew Pavlich, and Stephen Hill. Sandilands didn’t make the final 22, out with injury, Nathan Grima superbly blanketed Pavlich, and Hill? Hill was restricted to just seven possessions, while his tagger for the day, Rawlings, collected 39. The slow, wily old man completely destroyed the young, vibrant, quick youngster, and thankfully, some people actually turned their head at this, noticing the great job he did. He finished the season off with perfect style, collecting 37 touches against Melbourne, helping prove that North are just as good, if not better, than their highly-rated counterparts. Well done Brady, keep up with the great, dogged performances. We’ll keep noticing you.

3. Andrew Swallow (43 votes)

The winner of the medal last year was going to take some beating as he improved his game in every aspect in 2010, but he was upstaged by just one vote by a couple of old-timers. How sweet it is. The vibrant, silky-smooth 23 year old followed up with his career-best year in ’09 with a stellar campaign this year, averaging 21.2 disposals, kicking 16 goals and, most importantly, laying 8.3 tackles a match on average. He laid a total of 183 tackles for the year, ranked number one in the AFL. He thrived in the trenches. His season, possession-wise, was at its best in Round 3 against West Coast, where he picked up 34 touches and laid five tackles as North broke through for their first win of the year. In the terrible, wet conditions at the MCG in Round 16, it was Swallow who made a major impact on the game, getting dirty in the shocking conditions and still having the class and poise to dispose of the ball 31 times and kick a goal. Combine that with eight tackles and a 50 point win over Richmond, and you can see why Swallow proudly wore the Eureka Medal around his neck after the game. He wasn’t done yet though. Just a week later, against arch-rival Essendon, with everything going against North Melbourne on an injury-front, Swallow showed tremendous leadership as the Roos fought an epic struggle against the Bombers under the roof at Etihad Stadium. 27 disposals, two goals and an amazing 15 tackles and you can see why this young man is being touted as the next leader of the Kangaroos. Swallow loved a goal too, and he managed to get a few of them in Boomer’s 300th match against West Coast in Round 21. 27 disposals, nine tackles and three goals, no doubt you’ll see a little © next to his name in the future.

4. Leigh Adams (26 votes*)

This kid was dead and buried a few years ago. Taken with pick 3 in the Rookie Draft, he endured an unlucky knee reconstruction that threatened to derail his AFL career before it even started. Fans got one look of him in 2007, in Round 5 against Geelong down at Kardinia Park, and that was all we saw from the skinny, red-headed teenager until midway through 2009, where he managed to hold his spot until the end of the season, saving his career. He was named in the Round 1 side, and what emerged was a surprise to all. A young man, short buzz cut, chiseled body with a short stature, but tough as nails. He didn’t impress in his first few games, but in Round 4 against Sydney, his potential was on show for all to see. 22 possessions, six tackles and a goal, and it was clear that the Roos had found someone in the number 13 guernsey. Strong performances followed against Melbourne and Collingwood, before a hamstring injury derailed the middle half of his year. He was sidelined from Round 8, before making his return via the VFL six weeks later. 37 possessions after that, he was back in the senior side. Fairly modest games came against Geelong and Sydney, but he tore everything to pieces in the wet in Round 16 against Richmond at the MCG. 28 high-quality disposals, five tackles and three goals, plus a love to put his head over the ball, and Adams had cemented his position in the team. Another great display of his raw talent came in Round 19 against Fremantle at Docklands, where he collected 33 possessions and kicked a goal in the nine goal win, before his season ended prematurely due to a head injury sustained by a massive bump by Beau Waters in Round 21. Adams left the field in a groggy condition, but returned later on, bandaged up, and put some grit into the game, gathering 13 touches and laying six tackles, before being taken to hospital as a precautionary. This was a true highlight of his never-say-die attitude; he bleeds blue and white, and will have a cabinet full of Syd Barker Medals in the future. Well done Patch.

5. Daniel Wells (26 votes*)

Whether he performed to his absolute best was all up to Wellsy in 2010. Seemingly clear of his niggling groin problems, it was either going to be a breakout year, or his final season in blue and white stripes. Thankfully, it was the former. In his best season yet, he averaged 20.8 touches and kicked 15 goals as he finally started to show some consistency in his game. After a shaky start to the season, and he wasn’t alone in that regard, he bounced back in a big way against West Coast in Round 3, picking up 33 possessions as the Roos collected their first four points of the season. A week later, it was Wells who gave North a good position going into three quarter time against Sydney thanks to two goals in a row just before the final oranges were devoured. Unfortunately, Sydney ran away with the match in the final quarter, but the signs were good. A week later, he again kicked consecutive goals against the Hawks, collecting 20 disposals and booting three majors as the Roos held on for victory. 24 touches and two goals later against Melbourne in Round 6, and people were starting to notice that Wells was back at top form. His decision to penetrate the lines with his deep kicking was a highlight of his game, and it was on show in Round 8 against Adelaide, where he kicked the ball 19 times, with a total of 25 possessions and also scored a goal in the win. He missed Round 10, but was straight back into the side and impressed against Geelong and Richmond, gathering 26 touches and kicking a goal in both games. Like many of his teammates, he had a season-best game in Round 19 against Fremantle, where he amassed 31 disposals and kicked a goal in the big win. Another boost to his confidence would’ve been the ferocious attack he showed on the man in Round 20 against St Kilda, laying six tackles as he picked up 23 possessions, before finishing the season on a high note, sealing Melbourne’s fate with 26 silky disposals, and if 2010 is anything to go by, Wellsy is ready for a breakout year, and everyone in the AFL should be cautious of that.

6. Michael Firrito (26 votes*)

A return to defence was the tonic for Spud as he produced a career-best season in his first year under Brad Scott. With the Roos needing a ferocious bull in the backline, Firrito was all too happy to stand up and be that person. He didn’t inherit the number 11 guernsey for no reason. He averaged 19.3 touches a game, and on occasions let his anger come to the fore, but you take the good and the bad. One occasion was at three quarter time of the Round 6 encounter against Melbourne at Docklands, Firrito fired several shots at Melbourne players as both sides went to their respective huddles, and this ended in Spud brawling with numerous Demons while his teammates were all too content to go to the huddle and rest their aching bodies. It was a true act of courage by Spud, and maybe a bit of stupidity, but like I said, you take the good with the bad. The bad side came in Round 22, also against Melbourne, after Lynden Dunn had kicked a freak goal out of mid-air from 40m out, Dunn let Firrito know about it. Not a good idea. Spud shoved him over, handing Melbourne another free shot at goal, which luckily they missed. After the game, Firrito said he was just giving Dunn his opinion on his little moustache. Fair point. His season started well, with reasonable games in the first two matches, before 27 possessions against the West Coast Eagles in Round 3. He quietly marshaled the young backline, and at times when he needed to stand up, he was all too ready. He picked up a career high 29 touches against Adelaide in Round 8, before 21 disposals, six tackles and a goal in the pitiful performance against Fremantle in Round 10. He managed to kick two goals throughout the year; the other came in Round 16, an absolute beauty from 50m out next to the boundary line in the pouring rain. He finished the season off well, collecting 24 touches against Melbourne while having his own little battles with Dunn in defence. Will play his 150th game in Round 1 2011, it will be a highly celebrated game, and I have no doubt the boys will win it for Spud.

7. Nathan Grima (23 votes*)

The only settled member of the North Melbourne side still yet to kick a goal in his career, Narni’s pre-season was interrupted when he broke a finger leading up to the home and away season. He missed Round 1, but returned for the second game, where Nick Riewoldt ran amok, kicking seven goals. He quickly settled in though, picking up 22 possessions and taking seven marks in Round 3 against West Coast. The perfectly timed spoils, the outmarking ability, the run through the midfield he can offer is just priceless, and with 25 touches against Adelaide in Round 8, things were looking up for both Grima and North Melbourne. He missed Round 14-15 with a quad injury, before returning for the Round 16 match against Richmond to lock horns with the rampant Jack Riewoldt. Grima won the battle, keeping the Coleman Medalist to just three goals while collecting 24 touches and taking 10 marks of his own. He missed the next two games after that though, again because of a quad injury, before returning on his birthday against Fremantle in Round 19, where his assignment was to quell Matthew Pavlich. Grima collected a career-high 27 disposals while keeping Pavlich goalless, another huge scalp for the maturing backman. Another 26 touches and 10 marks against St Kilda, yet another seven goals from Riewoldt, showed he still has plenty of work to do to compete with the absolute best, but the signs are good for Narni. A telling stat: All five games that Grima missed for the year, North Melbourne lost. That’s just how important he is.

8. Levi Greenwood (23 votes*)

“Has not kicked a goal this season. Not bad, it’s a wobbler. In your dreams!” Those are the words, spoken by Dwayne Russell, that captured the emotion of Levi Greenwood’s matchwinning goal from the boundary line against the Brisbane Lions in Round 11. It wasn’t a bad goal, just his second of his career. The second-round draft pick from 2007 only made his debut in 2009, showing ability to tag stars such as Chris Judd and Nick Dal Santo, and was set to have a breakout year in 2010 before an unfortunate fall down the stairs in his apartment caused him to break his toe and miss the first four rounds of the season. He returned for the game against Hawthorn in Round 5, where he had an immediate impact, amassing just the 11 touches but laying eight tackles, including a bone-jarring tackle on Luke Hodge. He missed the game in Round 7 against Collingwood, but returned straight after that, and the highlight of his career came in Round 11 against the Lions when he ran forward in the dying minutes to mark a ball from fellow tough-nut Ben Cunnington. Cramped up on the boundary line, 40m out, he went with a drop punt on the wrong side for a left-footer, and the ball floated through the air horribly, but accurately. It just went through the middle of the big sticks, as simple as that. He excelled in the wet conditions against Richmond in Round 16, picking up 13 touches while laying nine tackles in the 50 point win. A week later, Greenwood played a ripper against Essendon. 22 disposals, five tackles and two goals in a dominant display, but unfortunately not enough to come away with the four points. For the final round of the season, Brad Scott gave Greenwood the license to run and collect his own ball. What a revelation that turned out to be. As the likes of Tom Scully, Jack Trengove, Liam Jurrah, Jack Watts, Ben Cunnington and Ryan Bastinac went toe-to-toe at the MCG, it was Greenwood who blew everyone away with 39 possessions, six tackles and a goal. He deserved the three Brownlow votes he got. Expect many more to come in the future.

9. Todd Goldstein (22 votes*)

Big Todd had a year to remember, going from a tall, uncoordinated Ruckman to a big, athletic, running hit-out specialist. At 201cm, not many would expect to see this kid running through the midfield with the ball in hand, leaving midfielders in his wake, but that’s exactly what he did in the NAB Cup against Geelong, where he managed to kick a goal on the run from a tight angle, 50m out, to seal the contest. North Melbourne fans knew we had something special when he had a day out against Melbourne last year, kicking five goals, but after missing just one game in 2010, he is primed to make a big impact in the coming seasons. Averaging 17.5 hitouts a game, he won the battle in the ruck 367 times throughout the year, ranked 15th in the AFL. He started the season well against Port Adelaide, gathering 14 touches and winning 24 hitouts, but his moment came in Round 8 against the Adelaide Crows. With Hamish McIntosh ruled out hours before the ball was bounced, Goldstein went into the game without any great support, going up against Ivan Maric and Kurt Tippett, both well-equipped Ruckman. Goldstein came away from the contest with 14 disposals, six tackles, a goal and an amazing 41 hitouts, truly a best on ground performance. He just kept running, all night. He followed it up a week later with 27 hitouts, but a lean patch of form followed. He returned to some of his best work with 22 disposals, a goal and 10 hitouts against Geelong in Round 14, before 19 hitouts and 2 goals against the Swans a week later saw him back on track. He and McIntosh toyed with Angus Graham and Tyrone Vickery in Round 16, with Goldstein collecting eight disposals, kicking a goal and winning 26 hitouts in the big win. He had a lean finish to the year, with 17 disposals, a goal and 19 hitouts the only real highlight from the last six weeks of footy, but when time comes to an end on Aaron Sandilands’ career, it’ll be Goldstein who will be ready to fill the void left by the best Ruckman in the business.

10. Ryan Bastinac (22 votes*)

When North Melbourne selected Ryan Bastinac with pick 21 in the 2009 Draft, his first goal in AFL was to play every game of the season in the seniors. Bit rich, coming from an 18 year old? Yeah, a little. He impressed in the pre-season though, blitzing his teammates in the time-trails and showing he has the fitness of a seasoned AFL player. He was picked for his debut in Round 1 against Port Adelaide, so the hardest part of his goal was completed. Now he just needed to hold his place for the next 21 weeks. He gathered 23 touches in his first game, so he was back for Round 2. A quiet game against St Kilda, but who can blame him? Round 3 came along, and when Daniel Kerr started having an impact for West Coast, Bastinac was given the blanketing role. Stop Kerr, that was the objective. Kerr was stopped, Bastinac gathered 24 possessions, North Melbourne won. He earnt a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination for this amazing performance, and a further 20 touches and five tackles against the Sydney Swans enhanced his position in the side. Supporters were starting to love Basti, especially after starring for the side with 25 gutsy possessions in the shocking loss to Fremantle in Round 10. He kicked his first ever goal in AFL in Round 12 against Carlton, before starring a week later against the Power with 19 touches and a major. Another 20 possessions and a goal against Sydney at the SCG, and his ambition of playing all 22 games for the year was becoming a reality. He could see the finish line. But after a modest few weeks, Bastinac was dropped on the eve of the Round 19 game against Fremantle. He was shattered. His dream was over. Luckily, the footy Gods were shining over him, and he got a last minute reprieve, getting back in the side and blitzing the opposition in the first quarter with three goals, finishing on 20 disposals and raring to go for the rest of the season. The final three games netted 21, 22 and 18 touches each, and it the goal was complete. Bastinac played every game for 2010, how many other first year players have done that? Especially a first year player from the second round of the Draft. He wasn’t a number one pick or anything, but he sure showed his value, and Basti has become a fan favourite at just 19. I can’t even begin to think what it’s going to be like when he’s approaching the twilight of his career.

*Denotes win on countback

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.

Comments

  1. Oops, bit of a mistake in there. Harvey and Rawlings ranked number 1, Swallow 3, the rest continued from 4-10, despite all of them having a 1. next to their names.

  2. John Butler says:

    All corrected Josh

    Sorry I didn’t pick it up.

  3. Josh,
    I really thought Andrew Swallow would go back-to-back. His hardness will be a key over the next
    few years. With all due respect to the veteran winners who, in this week of ties, managed to
    concoct their own draw, it probably would have been a more fitting result had Swallow managed
    to get one more vote.
    DD.

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