By Ken Moore
WARRAGUL ruckrover Desi Barr has won the 2006 Trood AwardRodda Medal as the best and fairest player in the WGLFL.
He was presented with the award at the PakenhamBerwick Gazette medals night on Monday at the Warragul Harness Club.
Barr, 25, was a prolific ball winner this season, often in a defensive sweeping role for the Gulls.
He played his junior football at Neerim Neerim South before two seasons in the VFL with Springvale and a season at Noble Park.
Since coming to Warragul in 2002, Barr has played more than 60 senior games and was a key member of the Gulls 2003 premiership team.
The award capped off an excellent night for the Warragul midfielder who was earlier named rover and captain of the 2006 Gazette Team of the Year.
Barr led by one vote at the halfway mark, momentarily lost the lead to both Sale’s Shane Fyfe and Maffra’s Ben Batalha, before storming home with eight votes in the last three rounds to win by six votes from Fyfe.
Batalha finished nine behind Barr on 17 votes.
Morwell’s Adam Bailey and Warragul’s Ryan Davey shared equal fourth with 11 votes.
The disappointment of the count was star Sale recruit and 2006 Gazette League Champion Jason Schuback who only managed to poll five votes.
Barr became only the third Warragul player to win the Trood AwardRodda Medal, the others, being John Gallus (in 1975) and Andrew Pratt (1994).
The Rex Hartley Medal for the reserves best and fairest was won by Traralgon’s Matt Jones by one vote from Morwell rover Nick Vesty.
Jones’ win brought and end to David Tripp’s streak of four consecutive victories.
However, Tripp was again well in contention, finishing equal third on 14 votes with Warragul’s Ben Egan.
Herb and Mark Smith presented the Access for All Abilities Award that was gleefully accepted by Warragul’s Patrick Maurice, who finished four votes clear of former winner Ronnie Layton of Wonthaggi and Warragul’s Russell Leach, who both tied for second with five votes apiece.
Andrew Redstone from Access for All Abilities announced that the program was now in its sixth year and had organised 34 matches for the disabled.
Redstone presented a PowerPoint slide pack of highlights, backed by traditional football anthem, ‘Up There Cazaly’ that showed the joy those that take part derive from the experience of playing a competitive sport.
The leading goalkickers in the seniors, Sale’s Chris Aurisch and the reserves, Sale’s Luke Henderson were both presented with awards to recognise their achievement.
Moe won the prize for the bestconducted club in the seniors, while Leongatha picked up the honour in the reserves and Sale was awarded the status as the bestconducted club over all four grades.
As usual, the announcement of the Gazette 2006 Team of the Year drew plenty of attention and comment among those present.
Sale’s coach Darren Hall was named as the coach of the year.
By Ken Moore