Local Footy: The Bernie Gottke Medal

Local leagues are starting to wind down for the season, and this also means that the best of the best are lauded at the major functions throughout the nation. For every Brownlow, Magarey and Sandover count there are the medals for the best and fairest player for the many leagues for the weekend warriors, with many of the same rules applying (I somehow don’t think the bloke who got 20 years was a league B&F chance, but that’s another rant for another time). In Central Queensland, the medals for the best players were handed out on Wednesday Night with the senior award named in honor of Bernie Gottke, a founding father of the Glenmore (or Wandal as they were known) club as well as the league. Medals for Reserve Grade (the Graham Orr, long time Wandal/Glenmore administrator) and the Women’s competition (the Maree Lambert, not entirely sure whom she was affiliated with) were also handed out on the night.

It took 17 years to land a seat at our club table, but a combination of work shifts falling favourably and my position as Reserve Grade coach meant that I was able to attend this night, but not our club presentation on the Saturday Night (I’m running Perth’s City to Surf Half Marathon on the Sunday, then heading to the last hurrah at Subiaco). To that end I kind of ignored the club memo where the other 9 members of the club party turned up in club shirts, stating that this was the only chance I had to put the shirt and tie on this year. It seemed rather low key with no more than 60 in attendance, although a midweek commute from Gladstone and Tannum Sands isn’t an enticing prospect even if picking up a trophy may have been on the agenda. Indeed Gladstone’s contingent arrived shortly after the entree was served (didn’t touch the Bruschetta, not a fan of the tomato) but just before the women’s count began.

Given they had once again topped the table Glenmore players were expected to poll well, but also took many votes off each other given how even their side is. Indeed the medal went to Panthers player Amy Slatter, whose major competition for votes from within her club was her sister. Like the other women’s award winners, she spoke very humbly and well. The runner up for the medal, BITS player Uma Brennan was a surprise package given this was her first year (to my knowledge) of playing in the open age competition and having commuted from Agnes Water to play (Agnes is located to the South of Boyne Island). There was a murmur or two about how the Brothers (or Sisters) players went, but again they tended to take votes off each other during games that they won, and more importantly they have a preliminary final to prepare for in a fortnight.

After mains were served (I don’t eat fish and only ate the vegetables on my plate handing the salmon to a teammate who is about to join the army, but the Scotch Fillet was apparently underwhelming so I probably didn’t miss much) and a guest speaker on a program called “Outside the Locker Room” spoke to the attendees (probably better if this was a pre-season club workshop talk rather than something that belonged at a night of celebration, but his story was engaging if not sad) it was onto the reserves count. The plan was to recognise the minor premiers with a perpetual shield much like the premier team gets (and if past celebrations are any guide, the players like to drink “Off The Wood”, but again that’s another story). Unfortunately Gladstone forgot to bring the reserve grade shield they claimed last year so Yeppoon’s representative, who in turn couldn’t find the key to get access to the seniors shield that they retained, was handed an engraved plate to put on the shield when they eventually gain it.

I wasn’t expecting any of my players to figure in the finish and sure enough Gladstone forward Zach Jahn parlayed his 81 goal season into a dominant win in the medal count, sealing the win as early as Round 13. Given he kicked double figures twice against us I have mixed emotions as to how we contributed to his win handing Zach 6 votes on a platter, yet the only match up for him was possibly myself and I didn’t play once against the Mudcrabs this season. Zach wasn’t among the traveling party to collect his medal but the spokesperson did mention that he preferred to do his talking on the field. Usually he’d be a senior standard player but personal and family reasons were why he mainly played the early game of a Saturday through the season. As for my boys I had a few players poll the odd vote here or there, but a bit of mirth came the way of the night’s MC, none other than Wayne Roger Clifford (who’ll probably bail me up on Grand Final Day if I mentioned his career stat line so I won’t) who somehow managed to get 1 vote in a couple of games leading to calls of rigged (and a call from me saying they you’re only 13 votes off the pace after he got his first vote). A few forfeits didn’t help the cause of a few players from Yeppoon or BITS but I’m sure they’re more hell bent on capturing the flag.

Desert was a Chocolate Spring Roll served with cream but with no mention of the nuts inside the filling, before the major count of the night commenced. Like all the ups and downs of the count it was anyone’s to capture with 3 rounds remaining, and hopes at our table soared when our co-skipper Brent Wood drew within 3 of a tie with just a single round to count. Getting no votes in the last round saw some playful teasing headed the way of our teammate to  claim the triple Woody needed. In the end there was a three way tie for the award, with Yeppoon ruckman Jamie Garner (known at the Swans as the D9), busy BITS centreman Steven Pugh (who early in the count split votes with youngster Kane Haua, pronounced Higher) and star Glenmore on baller Tim Higgins (who polled in a number of games despite only 3 Bull victories this season). It brings an interesting dynamic to the second semi this Saturday with the Swans hosting the Saints at Yeppoon and neither gave a lot away in their acceptance speech (Higgins wasn’t present to collect what was a back to back win of sorts for him, most of the Glenmore table were filled with their ladies players) or when they talked to Channel 7 who were present for the entire count.

On the whole, the night was decent enough but did tend to drag on a little with delays in guests arriving, microphone issues and the guest speaker taking up more time than anticipated. In past years the night tended to finish closer to 9:30, but I didn’t leave the proceedings until closer to 10:30 and didn’t make it to bed until after 11PM, far from ideal for a 4:30AM start at work. I’m sure the league and the traveling clubs would love to hold the event on a weekend after a semi final, but perhaps a combination of venue availability (Centrepoint Motel is a league sponsor and generally gets their function room booked out on a weekend) and the tight turnaround from the conclusion of the women’s game to the start of the night prevented them from doing so. Still I cannot complain that the award winners didn’t deserve the accolades and this was going to be a decent lead in for the remainder of the semi finals over the next 3 Saturdays.

About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.


  1. Rod Gillett says

    Surprised that John Broad is not honoured.

    After all it was his efforts as an Alderman on the Rocky City Council that secured most clubs their grounds.

    It was great to catch up with Mayor Margaret Strellor in Singapore.

    She spoke affectionately of “Broady”


  2. Rocket Singers says

    Don’t worry about replying Mick, not that you ever do…

    John Broad has been honoured by the award of best player in the Capricornia AFL.

    Would have thought someone so intimately involved and knowledgeable about the local comp would have known that….

  3. Rocket Singers says

    Capricornia AFL Grand Final, to be sure

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