Mitch Grigg celebrates his second Magarey Medal win with girlfriend Nicole Cocks. (Supplied: SANFL)
Despite a tough year off the field due to family illness, Norwood midfielder Mitch Grigg has won back-to-back Magarey Medals in the SANFL during a glamour-filled evening at Adelaide Oval.
Grigg won the count with 26 votes, three more than he achieved in 2017, despite believing he’d had “an average end to the year”.
“I certainly wasn’t coming here expecting to do it again, so I’m very happy,” he said.
The 25-year-old finished two votes ahead of Central District’s Travis Schiller, while Nick Liddle from South Adelaide finished third with 22 votes.
Liddle was also awarded the R O Shearman Medal for the SANFL coaches’ choice as best player in the 2018 competition.
Grigg’s father, Chris, was a Norwood footballer before he left to play at Athelstone FC where he played 200 games.
He reached the benchmark in the same game that Mitch debuted for his first senior match as a 14-year-old after Chris was lured out of retirement to play with his friends in the C-grade.
“It’s obviously been a really tough [year] finding out about dad getting diagnosed with MND [motor neurone disease] and it’s been really tough on my family,” Mitch Grigg said.
“But to see the amount of respect and support we’ve had and especially towards him, it falls back to how good a man he is and good a dad he is.
“I was lucky enough to play as a 14-year-old in a C-grade game when he played his 200, so that’s one of the best memories I’ll never forget.”
The William Magarey Room was packed with past and new legends of the game. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)
Grigg is concentrating on the finals after Norwood finished minor premier.
The team’s first finals appearance will be against Woodville-West Torrens in the second semi-final at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
“This time last year I was about six beers deep, but I’m a bit more nervous tonight and am really looking forward to the finals campaign,” Grigg said.
SA Football Commissioner John Olsen said Grigg’s Magarey win was well deserved after having a “tough year personally”.
“For him to perform as he has on the footy field in the course of this year is an absolute credit to him, his stamina, his discipline,” he said.
“He’s focussed and to have back-to-back medals is something really special.”
The Ken Farmer medal for the most goals kicked in the home and away season was awarded to Sturt FC’s Mark Evans with 40 goals.
Earlier in the night, Central’s Jacob Templeton was awarded the Reserves Magarey Medal, while Kai Pudney was handed the McCallum-Tompkins Medal for the fairest and most brilliant player in the under-18s league.
Kai Pudney of Woodville-West Torrens presents his McCallum-Tomkins Medal in the William Magarey Room at Adelaide Oval. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)
Past legends inducted into Hall of Fame
Three legends of the game inducted into the SA Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday night.
This includes Central District wingman Peter Vivian, Glenelg ruckman and general manager the late Harry Kernahan, and Port Adelaide Magpies seven-time premiership player and former Adelaide Crow Darren Smith.
2018 West End SA Football Hall of Fame inductee – @GlenelgFC Harry Kernahan //sanfl.com.au/halloffame/harry-kernahan/ …
Both Vivian and Smith played more than 300 games for their SANFL clubs — 308 and 343 respectively — while Kernahan played 176 before filling the role as general manager for more than 10 years at Glenelg before taking the same role at South Adelaide for four years.
SANFL commentator Doug Oakley said all three deserved their places in the Hall of Fame.
“Vivian was a wonderful player for Central who played so many matches,” he said.
“Darren Smith was just one of those players I think Dermott Brereton thought could have been one of the great centre-half forwards.
“And Harry’s left a wonderful legacy but he was also a great footballer. He could certainly play the game and then of course with his skills in administration, he was outstanding.”
The SANFL semi-finals begin on Sunday with Sturt playing North Adelaide at Adelaide Oval from 12:15pm, followed by Norwood and Woodville-West Torrens at 3:15pm.
Peter Vivian played 308 games for Central District Football Club. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)