Lions roar to share BnFs as Banks-Smith run away winner in the J.A. Grogan Medal

A PAIR of former teammates shared the medal named after their premiership captain, while a Tasmanian stood above all others in the Sunshine State to run away with the J.A. Grogan Medal. Current Brisbane Lions young gun Lily Postlethwaite and past Brisbane player Selina Priest tied in the Emma Zielke Medal on the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) night of nights, while Ryan Banks-Smith took home the men’s league best and fairest.

Postlethwaite is unfortunately out of action at the elite level having suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in the opening round of the season upon her return to the top flight. However it was her return from her first one back to QAFL Women’s level that caught the eye, with the Maroochydore talent tearing it up and racing out to a big lead in the Emma Zielke Medal. As she then had to focus on Brisbane AFLW duties after Round 13, it opened the door for Priest to storm home, and in a fitting finish to the count, the eight-game AFLW player and Southport star, polled 15 votes to share the award.

Southport’s Selena Priest shared the Emma Zielke Medal for 2022 with Maroochydore’s Lily Postlethwaite (absent) | Image credit: AFL Queensland

In the men’s count, Banks-Smith capped off a remarkable season for Aspley, averaging 29 disposals, seven inside 50s, six clearances and three tackles per game, whilst kicking 13 goals on his way to 23 votes in the J.A. Grogan Medal count. It was hard to deny the Tasmanian deserved the top gong, having also scooped up the Syd Guilford Trophy, after being voted the QAFL Coaches Most Valuable Player (MVP). University of Queensland premiership player Steph O’Brien won the QAFL Women’s MVP for season 2022.

Ex-Lion Matt Hammelmann slotted 82 goals in a dominant season for Redland Victoria Point, with Aspley’s Rachael Vetter managing the 25 in an even overall count. Incredibly, Aspley provided plenty of highlights for the season, as they won the QAFL Women’s goal and mark of the year, awarded to Rania Crozier and Angela Lingard respectively. Redland Victoria Point’s Brock Aston, and Palm Beach Currumbin’s Corey Beaman won the respective awards for their sides.

In the Rising Star counts, the Northern Academy pathways provided more winners on the rise, with Gold Coast Suns Academy ruck/forward Will Bella taking home the men’s Rising Star, while Brisbane Lions Academy’s Ava Seton was voted the Women’s Rising Star. Seton was an injury replacement player for the Lions at AFLW level and will hope to crack into an incredible undefeated side throughout Season 7, while Bella will set his sights on November’s AFL Draft to see if he can grab his chance having missed out during his top-age season last year.

The final awards handed out were the Team of the Years for the respective grades, with Southport coach Ryan Davis and Emma Zielke Medalist Priest named as coach and captain in the women’s, while Broadbeach duo Craig O’Brien and Josh Searl earned those honours in the men’s. The full teams are below.

Bond University QAFLW Team of the Year
FB: Caitlin Thorne (Bond University), Jessi Henning (University of Queensland)
HB: Jess Malouf (Southport), Laura Blue (Coorparoo), Poppy Boltz (Southport)
C: Mackenzie Findlay (Wilston Grange), Steph O’Brien (University of Queensland), Annie Muir (Bond University)
HF: Mikayla Martin (Maroochydore), Selina Priest (Southport), Brianna McFarlane (Southport)
FF: Emma Day (Maroochydore), Rachael Vetter (Aspley) 
R: Jacqui Russell (University of Queensland), Courtney Daniec (Aspley), Lily Postlethwaite (Maroochydore)
INT: Ava Seton (University of Queensland), Courtney Sexton (Bond University), Sally Young (Coorparoo), Christine Okense (Yeronga), Madison Crowley-Long (University of Queensland)

QAFL Team of the Year
FB: Josh Searl (Broadbeach), Lachlan Henderson (Labrador), Adrian Williams (Redland Victoria Point)
HB: Liam Dawson (Aspley), Liam Jones (Palm Beach Currumbin), Daniel Bowles (Wilston Grange)
C: Blake Erickson (Broadbeach), Brock Aston (Redland Victoria Point), Bryce Retzlaff (Labrador) 
HF: Tom Baulch (Noosa), Connor Stackelberg (Aspley), Andrew Boston (Labrador)
FF: Sam Jasper (Broadbeach), Matt Hammelmann (Redland Victoria Point), Mitch Scholard (Maroochydore) 
R: Will Wolbers (Aspley), Caleb Franks (Redland Victoria Point) and Ryan Banks-Smith (Aspley)
INT: Matt Payne (Wilston Grange), Tyler Cornish (Palm Beach Currumbin), Will Fletcher (Sherwood), Tom Templeton (Noosa)

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