Western Jets rebounding defender Lucas Rocci claimed his club’s first-ever Morrish Medal for the NAB League Boys competition’s best and fairest player on Sunday night.
The 175cm top-ager averaged 17 disposals, four marks and five rebound-50s per game across 13 home-and-away matches, with the Western co-captain’s run and damaging kick coming out of the back half helping lead his team to a seventh-placed finish on the ladder prior to this weekend’s Wildcard Round.
Rocci polled 17 votes to finish clear of Sandringham Dragons skipper Ryan Byrnes on 14 votes, with fellow top-agers Ned Gentile (Calder Cannons), Mitch Mellis (Eastern Ranges) and Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels) rounding out the top five on the leaderboard on 13 votes apiece.
An Aberfeldie (Essendon District FL) junior, Rocci polled the maximum three votes in five games and two votes on one occasion, with all his votes earned in a purple patch of eight Jets outings from Round 5 to 13 of the 17-round home-and-away season.
Rocci first hit the front in the count following Round 10, moving one vote clear of early leader Hewago Paul Oea (Gold Coast Suns Academy) with his third of four straight best-on-ground performances from Round 8 to 11. He later moved four votes clear of Byrnes after his final polling match in Round 14, with the Dragons on-baller unable to bridge the gap and notching only one further vote.
Western was the only remaining club among the NAB League’s 12 Victorian teams not to have produced a Morrish Medal winner prior to this year.
Rocci’s success therefore breaks a drought at the Jets that extended back to the competition’s inaugural year of 1992 and puts him in the same company as recent Morrish Medal winners Liam Stocker (Sandringham Dragons, 2018), Jack Higgins (Oakleigh Chargers, 2017), Hugh McCluggage (GWV Rebels, 2016) and Clayton Oliver (Murray Bushrangers, 2015).
Other awards winners on the night included:
NAB League leading goalkicker: Archi Manton (Western Jets) – 28 goals
OUA Personal Growth Award: Darcy McEldrew (GWV Rebels)
NAB League Team of the Year: CLICK HERE for full team
2019 MORRISH MEDAL LEADERBOARD
CLICK HERE for the full votes
|NAME||NAB LEAGUE CLUB||VOTES|
|Lucas Rocci||Western Jets||17|
|Ryan Byrnes||Sandringham Dragons||14|
|Ned Gentile||Calder Cannons||13|
|Mitch Mellis||Eastern Ranges||13|
|Jay Rantall||GWV Rebels||13|
|Matthew Rowell||Oakleigh Chargers||12|
|Hewago Paul Oea||Gold Coast Academy||11|
|Jye Chalcraft||Murray Bushrangers||10|
|Riley Baldi||Gippsland Power||9|
|James Boyer||Murray Bushrangers||9|
|Josh D’Intinosante||Northern Knights||9|
|Salele Feagaimalii||Eastern Ranges||9|
|Sam Ramsay||Calder Cannons||9|
|Oliver Davis||Tasmania Devils||8|
|Jake Sutton||Calder Cannons||8|
|Cameron Wild||Murray Bushrangers||8|