Fascinating finish names Whitley Medal co-recipients

November 4, 2021 BY

Two-time premiership player at Bell Post Hill and Whitley Medal recipient Dylan Witney. Photos: SPORTS MEDIA IMAGES/MARCEL BERENS

BELL Post Hill Panther Dylan Witney and Bannockburn Tiger Jack Brauman have emerged co-winners of the 2021 Whitley Medal count held virtually early last week.

There were several surprises throughout the count last Monday night, with not one, but two main twists in the fashion that the race ended.

The first twist was for the first time in 24 years the Whitley Medal would be shared amongst two players following the announcement that Bell Post Hill’s Witney and Bannockburn’s Brauman would be sharing the honour after each player secured 12 votes next to their name.

The second twist was that neither player accumulated the most votes throughout the season. That honour fell to Witney’s teammate and seniors rookie Boe Collins, whose 17 votes became a moot point following a one-match ban back in Round Two against Corio (rough conduct).

Despite both winners capping off a well-rounded season, the award of course leaves a sour aftertaste, particularly for Witney.

“It’s pretty hard to take pride in it to be honest,” Witney said.

“Obviously Boe has been our best player all year and for me to win it the way I did, it isn’t really the way you’d want to win it.

“But that’s moreso from my perspective than Jack’s [Brauman], but with Boe being my teammate it makes it a bit harder for me.

“If anything, this honour is one that I can share with the boys given they were my main motivators.”

Witney tallied five votes in Rounds 11 and 12 to chase down Brauman, finishing the season strong in his return season at Bell Post Hill after a year at the Belmont Lions.

Meanwhile, Brauman did not poll in his final four games after a dominant start to the year but remained the highest eligible vote-getter.

Brauman, a concreter by trade, was driving home when he received the news from his partner that he had won the Whitley Medal, and no one was more surprised than the midfielder.

“It was obviously a bit of a shock, I didn’t actually get to watch the medal count,” Brauman said.

“I was driving my car home and my partner rang me and told me I won it.

“I was actually briefly at the Bell Park Dragons with Boe so I know him quite well and he would have been a deserving winner, which is unlucky I guess, but I’m sure he’ll win another one down the track.”

Premiership player at Bannockburn and Whitley Medal recipient Jack Brauman.

 

Brauman’s main inspiration for his season was of course his teammates, as was the case for Witney. Coupled with the fact both individuals have a comprehensive history at their respective clubs, both men were deserving of the honour despite the circumstances.

Witney, a two-time premiership player with the Panthers in 2016 and 2017, and Brauman, a champion with Bannockburn in 2019, who has also been appointed co-coach for the Tigers in 2022 next to club legend Ron Pilgrim, will both look to pick up where they left off in the season to come.

Witney and Brauman were also fittingly selected to the GDFL’s Team of the Year.

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