Winners | 2023 Coates Talent League Boys awards night
THE 2023 Coates Talent League awards night was held tonight, with a range of honours handed out across the boys and girls competitions. In a virtual ceremony, the official Team of the Year was announced, and two more Morrish Medallists wrote their names into the history books.
For the third year running, there was a tie for the Morrish Medal. Midfielders Patrick Hughes (Geelong Falcons) and Colby McKercher (Tasmania Devils) could not be split on 18 votes apiece, while Team of the Year captain George Stevens (GWV Rebels) rounded out the podium on 16 votes.
Hughes became the first Falcon to take out the league best and fairest award since George Cameron in 2013, who was part of a four-way tie. Meanwhile, McKercher backs up the effort of 2022 Devils captain and Carlton draftee Lachlan Cowan, who claimed the medal last year.
The honour caps off a remarkable year for the Tasmanian, who also finished second in the Larke Medal voting. He polled for the Morrish in seven of his eight games, as Hughes notched votes in eight of his 13 home-and-away appearances. Both players helped their respective sides reach the Preliminary Finals.
A host of star names also featured among the top 10 of the final leaderboard. Among them was Rookie Me Central Medallist Zane Duursma (fourth), as well as fellow first round prospects Nate Caddy and Darcy Wilson (equal-ninth). Star bottom-agers Levi Ashcroft and Jagga Smith also tied for seventh.
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2023 MORRISH MEDAL LEADERBOARD
=1st. Patrick Hughes (Geelong Falcons) – 18 votes
=1st. Colby McKercher (Tasmania Devils) – 18
3rd. George Stevens (GWV Rebels) – 16
4th. Zane Duursma (Gippsland Power) – 15
5th. Kristian Ferronato (Northern Knights) – 14
6th. Billy Wilson (Dandenong Stingrays) – 13
=7th. Levi Ashcroft (Sandringham Dragons) – 12
=7th. Jagga Smith (Oakleigh Chargers) – 12
=9th. Nate Caddy (Northern Knights) – 10
=9th. Darcy Wilson (Murray Bushrangers) – 10
The official Team of the Year was also announced on the night, skippered by Stevens. McKercher slots in on the wing, with fellow Morrish Medallist Hughes doing enough to earn a spot on the six-man interchange.
Performances from a range of competitions were considered as part of the Team of the Year criteria; from the Coates Talent League, to the Under 18 National Championships, representative trial games, and even VFL appearances.
This year’s squad features a truly all-star cast, with top prospect Harley Reid lining up in midfield alongside Larke Medallist Ryley Sanders, while fellow top 10 prospects like Duursma, Caddy, and Nick Watson earned selection in the same forward line.
Also among the front six is Western Bulldogs father-son candidate Jordan Croft, who helps bookend the side opposite key defensive pair Connor O’Sullivan and Ollie Murphy. Ashcroft is one of just two bottom-agers to have made the cut alongside Finn O’Sullivan.
2023 COATES TALENT LEAGUE TEAM OF THE YEAR
B: Billy Wilson (Dandenong Stingrays) – Ollie Murphy (Sandringham Dragons) – James Leake (Tasmania Devils)
HB: George Stevens (GWV Rebels) (c) – Connor O’Sullivan (Murray Bushrangers) – Archie Roberts (Sandringham Dragons)
C: Joel Freijah (GWV Rebels) – Levi Ashcroft (Sandringham Dragons) – Colby McKercher (Tasmania Devils)
HF: Darcy Wilson (Murray Bushrangers) – Jordan Croft (Calder Cannons) – Zane Duursma (Gippsland Power)
F: Nick Watson (Eastern Ranges) – Logan Morris (Western Jets) – Nate Caddy (Northern Knights)
FOL: Will Green (Northern Knights) – Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers) – Ryley Sanders (Tasmania Devils)
INT: Kynan Brown (Oakleigh Chargers) – Harry De Mattia (Dandenong Stingrays) – Patrick Hughes (Geelong Falcons) – Luamon Lual (GWV Rebels) – Finn O’Sullivan (Oakleigh Chargers) – Michael Rudd (Geelong Falcons)