It’s not just the race for the John Davis Motors Superleague titles that’s heating up, the excitement surrounding the competition’s individual awards is reaching fever pitch too.
The contenders for the men's and women’s respective best and fairest, top scorer, best goalkeeper and best junior awards were released last weekend, which Superleague coordinator Scott Baker says has started a frenzy of anticipation leading into the final round.
“They’re all close, very close,” Baker enthused.
“We released the lists in no particular order to try and keep some mystery in it and create a bit more buzz and excitement, which it’s done.”
Despite his Suzuki Strikers side sitting second last, Adam Skelton is among the men's best and fairest top three. He’s joined by Mitch Watts and Henry Jones, from the third-placed Volvo Vikings and competition-leading JDM Jokers, respectively.
“Mitch Watts is a bit of a surprise packet for that award, while Henry (and Adam) are just consistent, all-round players so there’s no surprises there,” Baker said.
Skelton’s best and fairest standing goes hand-in-hand with his goal-scoring prowess. He’s in the top three there too, along with Mazda Maulers gun Connor Morris and Jokers skipper Nic Milne.
“Adam and Connor have been trash talking each other since we released the top three,” Baker laughed.
“So they’ll be going hard in the last round to try and take out that award.
The Maulers’ goalkeeper, David Wynne, is locked in a battle with Renault Royals shot-stopper Jackson White and Jokers custodian Jake Skelton while Liam Wilson, Jack Wilson, Sam Giumelli, Brad Pengilly and Connor Davis will fight it out for best junior.
“The best junior award is anyone’s, they’re very tightly-placed,” Baker said.
In terms of the women, Shian Duboc, Georgie Watson and Pip Mannix – form the Royals, Maulers and Jokers respectively – head the best and fairest contenders.
“They’re not talking like the men, looks like they’ll let their hockey do the talking,” Baker said.
Watson is in the top three goal-scorers too, alongside Royals skipper Leanne Kennewell and Maulers star Millah Allcorn.
“Millah didn’t even play the first round, so she’s done well to get into the top three but there’s about 10 players who could win this. The last round will be interesting for this one,” Baker said.
Mother-daughter duo Erin and Karin Horan will be fighting for the best goalkeeper award, along with 15-year-old shot-stopper Kimberley Kiel.
“It’s young-versus-old here,” Baker laughed.
“Wily old masters star Karin against Erin and Kimbo. Erin actually trash-talked her mum too, saying she’s the best keeper in the family so bragging rights in the Horan family are on the line.”
Baker said you could throw a blanket over the women’s best junior gong as well, with Emily Gould , Chloe baker, Amy Hampton and Pip Culverson all deadlocked on even points.
“They’re all good friends too, this group, so we’re excited to see who steps up and wins,” Baker said.
All the title winners, along with the premiership-winning sides, will be crowned after the final round of the Superleague on Sunday, August 6.