Who's a chance to take home the PFNL's 2019 Ross Elliott Medal?

The Peel Football and Netball League will crown its fairest and best player at their annual Ross Elliott Medal count on Monday night, with a string of stellar seasons set to see players vying for top spot.

The league's most prestigious individual award could turn out to be a hot contest this year, with several players putting their hands up for the honour.

Last year's count saw Rockingham's Mitchel Curnow break away from the scrum in the early rounds, mounting a lead that proved unassailable.

Will that be the case again this year? Or will a strong finish be enough to will someone over the line?

Prior to the count we take a glance at some of the players expected to poll votes from each club.


Josh Branchi

The imposing ruckman was absolutely dominant across his first regular season with the Brumbies, giving first-use to the Baldivis midfielders while also welcoming aerial contests around the ground.

Branchi was among his side's best players in a stellar 14 or his 18 games this season, playing a key role in lifting his side to a top-two finish.

While it won't count for Ross Elliott Medal consideration, he was also best-on-ground in the club's extra time win over Pinjarra in the qualifying final.

He may face some stiff competition in garnering votes though, given the success of some of his teammates.

  • Also expected to poll: James Russell, Blaine Johnson, Brendan Tingey, Aden Field, Hayden Lynn, Ben Higgs, Emmanuel Collard.
Josh Branchi has impressed in his first year with Baldivis. Photo: Justin Rake.

Josh Branchi has impressed in his first year with Baldivis. Photo: Justin Rake.


Brett Hill

Another big man who's had another big season, Hill was especially good in the early rounds.

The versatile tall is likely to feature among the votes in Centrals' opening five games, after he was judged his own side's best afield in four of those encounters (he was dubbed third best in the remainder).

However, he did only play 14 games across the course of the regular season, which could hurt his chances.

But at his best Hill easily catches the eyes of the spectators, and likely the umpires too with his dominant presence.

He also kicked 28 goals on the year.

  • Also expected to poll: Jacob Martinez, Bradley McPhail, Callum Marshall.

Halls Head

Mitchell Jones

Jones battled admirably for the Lightning all year, becoming a key cog in their side.

His efforts saw him named among their best players in eight of his 17 games, and he was also recognised with selection to the Peel Cavaliers' Landmark Country Football Championships side.

But the Lightning found themselves on the losing side of the ledger quite a bit in 2019, so he'll need to stand out in losses if he's a chance at a high finish.

  • Also expected to poll: Travis Sexton, Bailey Hall, Liam Lockley, Greg Nelson


Matthew Bennell

I personally don't think anyone from the Mustangs is going to win this award, and they'll probably have their teammates to blame.

Over the course of the season Mandurah has received strong contributions from so many players, that it's hard to pin just one down as their best chance to get votes.

But for the sake of this piece I've gone with Bennell, mainly because of his ability to effect both play up the ground and the scoreboard.

The electric small forward booted 30 goals in his 16 games this season, and his eye-catching play may have also caught the admiration of the umpires.

But honestly, expect Mandurah to have a string of players collect votes in the count.

  • Also expected to poll: Nathan Gray, Hamish Free, Mitch White, Nathan Thomas, Jackson Burkett, Blayne Hull, Alex McLeod, Alex Cohen, Brandon Penny.
Matthew Bennell is one of many Mustangs who could poll votes in the Ross Elliott Medal count. Photo: Justin Rake.

Matthew Bennell is one of many Mustangs who could poll votes in the Ross Elliott Medal count. Photo: Justin Rake.


Robert Bird

The Tigers are another side likely to see several players gathering votes on the night, but Bird's strong finish to the season could make for a very interesting count.

The gutsy midfielder played in 15 regular season games for the Tigers, and staggeringly, was among their best players in 14 of them.

He started strong, but was supreme down the stretch as he was named either their best-on-ground or their second-best in the last eight games of the season.

Bird's big year was a large factor in the Tigers nabbing another top-three finish.

  • Also expected to poll: Brock O'Brien, Brett Milward, Dean Miller, Nic Merritt, Jamie McNamara, Lloyd Beever, Stephen Martin.


Fraser Millar

Given the Rams finished as minor premiers, you could probably make a case for several of their stars collecting votes in the count.

But Millar's consistency could help him out here.

The mid/forward impressed for the Rams last year but has taken his output to new heights in 2019, playing all 18 games and finding himself among their best in 12 of them.

That's no easy feat when most of your side is capable of a best-on-ground effort, and he also still found the time to kick 25 goals.

  • Also expected to poll: Steve Kenny, Brad Walsh, Josh McMahen, Luke Dowling, Mitchell Anderson, Will Zilko.

South Mandurah

Jack Shanahan

Shanahan's outstanding season for the Falcons is personified in the fact that he's a legitimate chance to win the medal despite his team finishing as the wooden spooners.

The pacey midfielder's quality never dipped, as he piled up best afield votes in all but one of the 17 games he played this season.

He was South Mandurah's best player in a whopping 11 of those games, as he continually impressed with an unmatched work ethic and will to get to the next contest.

Whether he can nab votes in games where the Falcons were comprehensively beaten will be the key to Shanahan's success in the count.

  • Also expected to poll: Tom Wood, James Fenton, Troy Lee.
Jack Shanahan. Photo: Justin Rake.

Jack Shanahan. Photo: Justin Rake.


Bailey Taylor

Taylor's first year with the Demons saw him shine in 17 matches for the club, and he stands out as their best chance to score some votes in this season's count.

Consistent hard work around the entire ground saw Taylor provide some of the brighter spots in an otherwise dim campaign for Waroona, as he was among their best players in 11 of his outings.

His efforts could see him net his share of votes, but he also faces the uphill battle of playing in a losing side.

  • Also expected to poll: Eli Smith, Jeremy Caratti, Mat Thomas, Phil Walshaw, Rowan Gardiner, Ryan McKinlay.