Medal shared

By Tyler Maher

For the first time in a decade, the Goulburn Valley League’s Morrison Medal count has finished in a tie.

Benalla’s Sam Martyn and Shepparton’s Nik Rokahr joined the illustrious club of players to snare the GVL’s best-and-fairest award on 22 votes apiece after a thrilling finish to Monday night’s count at the Shepparton RSL.

After bursting out of the blocks with 18 votes in the first nine rounds of the season, all Martyn could do was watch as first Seymour’s Jason Cole, then Rokahr and finally Mansfield’s James Herridge went past him on the leaderboard.

With red-hot favourite Cole’s run finishing at 21 votes before injury struck him down, the mark was set for the chasing trio to aim for.

A single vote in round 15 had brought Martyn within striking distance, and he did just that in the final round with a best afield performance against the Shepparton Swans.

Rokahr’s night was not finished just yet though, and with a two-vote performance against Euroa, Shepparton’s premier midfielder also joined Martyn on the top step of the Morrison Medal dais.

The last time two players shared the Morrison spoils was in 2008, when Benalla’s Rowan Priest and Kyabram’s Lincoln Withers finished on 20 votes.

Martyn’s success continued a rich vein of Morrison Medal form for his Saints, with his accolade the club’s third in the past six seasons — and fourth in the past 11.

‘‘I think we’ve been pretty lucky, but it helps when you’ve got a lot of good teammates around you, it helps you to play well,’’ Martyn said.

‘‘I think (fellow Saint) Nick (Warnock) was pretty stiff in the end, he didn’t poll a vote after kicking 11 goals in the last game, so I’d have to thank him for that.’’

After only starting in 13 regular-season games for the Saints, Martyn polled identically to Rokahr — with five best afield showings and three two-vote matches.

‘‘I was a bit nervous there, obviously seeing Rokes poll a lot of votes late he had a fantastic season, so I’m honoured to win the award along with Nik,’’ Martyn said.

‘‘I’d like to thank the board at Benalla and my coaches.’’

Rokahr became the first Bears star to claim the Morrison since Matt Byers in 2005, and despite the excitement of the accolade will quickly turn his attention to Sunday’s grand final against Kyabram.

Saints playing coach Luke Morgan also made it into the top ten securing 14 votes.