By David Nagel
A team picked purely on stats and totally devoid of opinion…that was the master plan when selecting the best of the best after the opening nine rounds of the West Gippsland Football Netball Competition (WGFNC).
And when we say stats we’re talking very base level sort of stuff, with goal-kicking statistics – and the best-players list provided weekly by each club – the only stats we have to go by.
But still, even with those restrictions…this is a quality team that would do the WGFNC proud.
We’ve given six votes to the best player listed by each club each week, then five votes to second and so on…
The first thing worth noticing is how each individual club distributes its votes so differently.
Phillip Island has a ‘what you see is what you get philosophy’; with star ruckman Cam Pedersen thoroughly deserving the votes he has polled in all nine games this season.
But, down at Tooradin-Dalmore, gun midfielder Brent Macaffer has polled just 17 votes (23 behind Pedersen) despite averaging mid-30 possessions this season.
If a tally of umpires’ votes were taken right now there’s a fair chance that Pedersen and Macaffer would be one-two in the race for this year’s league medal.
But sorry ‘Caf’, based on this team being picked purely by two categories – best-players lists and goal-kickers – you have to sit this one out!
So, here’s how the team was selected…based purely on facts remember.
Only two players, Pedersen and Kooweerup’s Matt Voss have polled votes in all of the first nine rounds…they’re in!
Cora Lynn’s Chris Johnson, Dalyston’s Curtis Murfett and Inverloch-Kongwak’s Dylan Clark have shown staggering consistency to poll in eight games out of nine…so they’re in also.
And five players, Nathan Foote (Kilcunda-Bass), Mitch Cammarano and Cosi Anagnostou (Kooweerup), Dillan Bass (Cora Lynn) and Mick Marotta (Dalyston) have all polled in seven games…well the numbers don’t lie so they’re in also.
The top-10 vote-getters in the league are in, as are the only two players to have kicked goals in all nine games this season – Mason McGarrity (Warragul Industrials) and Jordy Patullo (Phillip Island).
When it comes to defenders, all the leading vote-getters in that category are in, while the four-leading goal-kickers…Dermott Yawney (Nar Nar Goon), Jason Wells (Kooweerup), McGarrity and Stewart Scanlon (Tooradin-Dalmore) …well they’re all in as well.
And Dale Gawley, well he’s polled the most votes of any ruckman besides Pedersen…so he earns a spot as the second ruck
Just stats, no opinions…this selection stuff is easy.
Well, not quite because besides the obvious over-looking of Macaffer there were a few others desperately unlucky not to earn a gig.
Will Papley (Bunyip), Oscar Toussaint (Inverloch-Kongwak) and Zak Vernon (Phillip Island) were edged out by Ethan Park (Inverloch-Kongwak), while Korumburra-Bena’s Darcy Hargrave and Phillip Island defender Mark Griffin were also on the precipice of selection.
So here it is…our 2022 WGFNC Team of the Year for the first nine rounds of the season…based purely on stats.
Nathan Muratore (Kooweerup)
Can, and has, played in just about every position for the Demons this year and has been named in the best on six occasions. The return of Muratore has been one of the driving forces behind Kooweerup’s improvement this season. The Demons were looking for added consistency and in Muratore they’ve found it. Selected in the back pocket…but it could have been almost anywhere!
Aaron Paxton (Bunyip)
Polling in five of the first nine rounds shows just how important Paxton has been to the Bulldogs’ defence this year. His 16 votes for the season – third behind Bass (25) and Hawking (23) for defenders in the league – have all been hard earned, with the star full-back quite often given the job of quelling the opposition’s most dangerous forwards.
Dillon Bass (Cora Lynn)
Based on club votes (25) Bass is the most valuable defender in the WGFNC this season. The former Cranbourne star is one of 10 players to have polled in at least seven of the first nine rounds…and all 10 of those get a gig in this team.
Shem Hawking (Inverloch-Kongwak)
Mr Versatile can play mid and even slip forward, but is more often seen across half back playing a key role in the Sea Eagles’ defence. If we regard him as a defender, then his 23 votes – polled from six of the first nine rounds – sit him second behind Dillan Bass as the most influential back-half player in the competition.
Cooper Shipp (Tooradin-Dalmore)
With 16 votes polled from five of the first nine rounds, Shipp sits only behind Jimmy Trezise, Piva Wright and Brent Macaffer on the Seagulls’ vote-getting list. A great spoiler of the footy, Shipp is one of the top-five defenders in the WGFNC according to votes given this season.
Mitch Cammarano (Kooweerup)
There’s always a midfielder that floats into an unusual position in these teams, and it’s Cammarano’s turn this time around…but – based on numbers – we simply couldn’t leave him out. Top 10 in the league for votes (29) and one of the select 10 to have polled votes in seven games! Mitch has to be in.
Dylan Clark (Inverloch-Kongwak)
Clark is one of only five players – alongside Cam Pedersen, Matt Voss, Chris Johnson and Curtis Murfett – to have polled votes in eight games this season. Tall, versatile and smart…he’s a real key to the way the Sea Eagles play their footy.
Chris Johnson (Cora Lynn)
Johnson is the third player picked in the team based on his 37 votes, third in the league, and polling in eight of the first nine rounds. Only five players have polled in eight or more games this season. Johnson helped keep spirits alive at the Cobradome through a very difficult start to the season.
Cosi Anagnostou (Kooweerup)
The strong Demons mid has been one of the pick-ups of the season, rivalling Nathan Foote, Curtis Murfett and Ethan Park as early contenders for recruit of the year. Cosi gets a game based on consistency…being one of the top-10 to have polled in eight of the first nine rounds.
Ethan Park (Inverloch-Kongwak)
The Sea Eagles mid-field recruit has well and truly earned selection with his 28 votes, polled from six games, placing him equal-seventh on best-players lists this year. Doesn’t hit the scoreboard as heavily as teammate and similar type Oscar Toussaint, but has polled in six games where Toussaint has polled in five. In a team made up from stats…that gives Park the edge!
Jason Wells (Kooweerup)
Yawney’s heroics push Wells out to centre-half-forward, but the versatile type could handle this role with ease. Wells has kicked goals in eight of nine games, with four bags of six showing his potential to cause damage. A deserved selection as the second key forward.
Jordy Patullo (Phillip Island)
An interesting one because Patullo has only polled votes in one game in the first nine rounds of the season. But this is a team based on numbers, and being one of only two players to have kicked goals in all nine rounds – a forward’s job at the end of the day – gets him a guernsey in the team.
Mason McGarrity (Warragul Industrials)
One of only four players to kick 30 goals or more in the first nine rounds, the Dusties’ livewire is also one of only two players to have kicked goals in every round…Phillip Island’s Jordy Patullo being the other. Those numbers make him one of the first picked in the forward line.
Dermott Yawney (Nar Nar Goon)
A team based on stats…well the leading goal-kicker after nine rounds just has to be selected. The strong-marking and long-kicking full-forward ended round nine on 39 goals, with a bag of nine, an eight, and two sixes to his name. And he missed round one due to his clearance not coming through!
Stewart Scanlon (Tooradin-Dalmore)
McGarrity kicks 10…he’s in, Yawney bags nine…he’s in, so it’s only fair that the forward with the third biggest haul of the season makes his way into the team. But Scanlon’s two eight-goal specials in rounds six and nine form only part of his selection…he’s also kicked goals in eight of the first nine rounds.
Cam Pedersen (Phillip Island)
The back-to-back league medallist has polled more votes (40) than any other player in the league apart from Matt Voss and is one of only two players to poll votes in all nine games…an absolute lock. A third consecutive league medal might be on the way! The first player inked into the team.
Matthew Voss (Kooweerup)
Maybe a surprise to many but 41 votes make the Demons’ midfielder the most valuable player in the league to this point of the season. One of only two players, alongside Pedersen, to poll in all nine games means Voss…of the Matthew variety…was the second player selected in this team. Has had a great year through the midfield.
Nathan Foote (Kilcunda-Bass)
Starting rover based on two simple facts…Foote is one of only five players to have polled 30 or more votes in the first nine rounds of the season. Plus, he’s one of only 10 players to have polled in seven games or more. The Panthers’ star goes in!
Dale Gawley (Kilcunda-Bass)
We need a second ruckman and based on numbers Dale Gawley is our man. Has polled more votes (28) apart from Pedersen than any other ruckman and has polled in six of the first nine games…no other ruck apart from Pedersen has done that either.
Curtis Murfett (Dalyston)
Equal fourth on votes (32) with Nathan Foote, the midfield gun gets a game in this side based on polling in eight of the nine games for the Magpies this season. Only four others can match that level of consistency…so Magpie Murfett goes in!
Michael Marotta (Dalyston)
The Magpies may not have won many games this season…but don’t look in this direction for blame. Marotta has polled in seven of nine games – one of only 10 in the league to do it – and has been a stabilising force through the Magpies’ midfield. Just edges out a stellar cast of contenders.
Lachie Gillespie (Tooradin-Dalmore)
Coaching is predominantly a win-loss business and sitting on top of the ladder – undefeated – gives Gillespie the nod at this stage of the season. He has talent at his disposal but has moulded into a connected and driven unit. Special shout outs go to Harmit Singh (Warragul Industrials) and Rhys Nisbet (Kooweerup) for the improvement shown at their clubs this year.